Thursday, April 26, 2012

Module 14: Crank

Citation: Hopkins, E. (2004). Crank. New York, NY: Simon Pulse.

Summary: This verse novel tells the story of Kristina, a perfect daughter who is smart and always does the right thing.  But the problem arises when this high school junior takes a wrong turn in her path in life. On a trip to spend time with her father, she gets introduced to crank through a boy she likes. This wild story is told through Kristina's verses and at times through her alter-ego "Bree".  “Bree” is not afraid to try new things, flirt with disaster and dance with the monster: crank. Now, the monster puts her is difficult situations and leaves her constantly wanting to get high but there are consequences that come along and Kristina is left having to fight her battle of being addicted.

Impression: No Peace, Love & A Teenage Must Read! 
Unfortunately, there was no peaceful feeling while reading this book.  I must admit I do love this book because of the potential it has to inform and sway a teenage mind to stay away from drug and alcohol abuse.  Teenagers are the targeted age group that could get intertwined within the poetic verses and use this as a lesson to take to heart whenever they may be faced with difficult decisions.

Reviews: Gr. 8–12. Like the teenage crack user in the film Traffic, the young addict in this wrenching, cautionary debut lives in a comfortable, advantaged home with caring parents. Sixteen-year-old Kristina first tries crank, or crystal meth, while visiting her long estranged father, a crank junkie. Bree is Kristina’s imagined, bolder self, who flirts outrageously and gets high without remorse, and when Kristina returns to her mother and family in Reno, it’s Bree who makes connections with edgy guys and other crank users that escalate into full blown addiction and heartrending consequences. Hopkins tells Kristina’s story in experimental verse. A few overreaching lines seem out of step with character voices: a boyfriend, for example, tells Kristina that he’d like to wait for sex until she is “free from dreams of yesterday.” But Hopkins uses the spare, fragmented style to powerful effect, heightening the emotional impact of dialogues, inner monologues, and devastating scenes, including a brutal date rape. Readers won’t soon forget smart, sardonic Kristina; her chilling descent into addiction; or the author’s note, which references her own daughter’s struggle with “the monster.”

Engberg, G. (2004). Crank (Book). Booklist, 101(6), 595. 

Gr 8 Up-- Seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow is introduced to crank on a trip to visit her wayward father. Caught up in a fast-paced, frightening, and unfamiliar world, she morphs into "Bree" after she "shakes hands with the monster." Her fearless, risk-taking alter ego grows stronger, "convincing me to be someone I never dreamed I'd want to be." When Kristina goes home, things don't return to normal. Although she tries to reconnect with her mother and her former life as a good student, her drug use soon takes over, leaving her "starving for speed" and for boys who will soon leave her scarred and pregnant. Hopkins writes in free-verse poems that paint painfully sharp images of Kristina/Bree and those around her, detailing how powerful the "monster" can be. The poems are masterpieces of word, shape, and pacing, compelling readers on to the next chapter in Kristina's spiraling world. This is a topical page-turner and a stunning portrayal of a teen's loss of direction and realistically uncertain future.

Jones, T. E., Toth, L., Charnizon, M., Grabarek, D., Larkins, J., & Korbeck, S. (2004). Crank (Book). School Library Journal, 50(11), 145. 

Use in Library: -This book is perfect to recommend to high school students as an individual read.  Of course you should warn the content because it includes some sexual content.  It could also be used with high school students who are walking a thin line between choosing a wrong or right path.  To do so, it is best to offer it to the counselor and possibly collaborate to provide resources that are similar in content. The counselor would have knowledge of which students are in need to such a book.  It could also be used while teaching poetry units to high schoolers.

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