cover artBibliographic Information
Title: Crank
Author: Ellen Hopkins
ISBN: 978-1442471818
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Copyright: 2004

Book Details
Jacket Design: Sammy Yuen, Jr.
Jacket Art & Illustrator:
Formats: hardcover, paperback, kindle
Page Count: 576

New York Times Bestselling Novel

Quills Award nominee

Book Sense Top 10

NYPL Recommended for Teens

PSLA Top Ten for Teens

Charlotte Award

IRA Young Adult Choices Award.

Gateway Readers Awards winner.


Plot Summary

Kristina, a well-behaved seventeen-year-old, is introduced to crank (methedrine) by her ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree:

“There is no perfect daughter
No gifted high school junior.
No Kristina Georgia Snow.
There is only Bree.”

Bree does all the things that good girl Kristina can’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys; boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank. Her grades drop, and relationships with family and friends deteriorate. She needs more and more of the monster just to get through the day. Finally, she is raped by one of her drug dealers and becomes pregnant as a result.

Her decision to keep the baby slows her drug use, but doesn’t stop it. We are left with the distinct impression that Bree may never be free from her addiction.

Critical Evaluation
A powerfully-moving tale of crank’s enormous addictive power and the permanent damage it can do. In the author’s note, Hopkins warns “nothing in this story is impossible,” but when Kristina’s controlling mother allows her daughter to visit her biological father (a known drug user), the story feels less believable.
The story is written in a semi-verse form, with the text laid out in various patterns on the page. In many ways this enhances the mood of the story, but some readers may find it annoying. The relatively small number of words per page means this story is shorter than its page count suggests.  It was in the top 10 of challenged books in 2010.
Reader’s Annotation
Life was good before I met the monster.

After, life was great,
At least for a little while.
Information about the Author

Ellen Hopkins began her writing career in 1990. She started with nonfiction books for children, including “Air Devils” and “Orcas: High Seas Supermen”. She then wrote “Crank”, her first YA novel, in 2004. Its success led to two sequels, “Glass” and “Fallout”, and other YA novels exploring drug addiction, mental illness,and prostitution.

She has also written for adults; “Collateral” came out in the fall of 2012. “Collateral” is about military deployment and how the families that are left behind are affected. Hopkins wants us to remember that as our men and women return from the Middle East, they come home profoundly changed. Coping with that transformation can be challenging for the soldiers and for their loved ones. This book may help readers open their minds and hearts to the new lifestyles they will be living.

She has had a challenging personal life with a child addicted to meth. She recently sought out her grandchildren and took them in under her own care.

She is a profoundly popular author. Her Facebook page has over 87,000 likes.


Fiction, semi-biographical

Curriculum Ties

Drug addiction, bad language and explicit sex

Booktalking ideas

What causes addiction? Bad parents? Societal pressures? Something else?

Reading Level/Interest Age
Interest Level: Grade 9 and up

Challenge Issues

Drug addiction





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: