Series: Crank #1
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: August 6th 2013 (Paperback)
by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Life was good
before I met the monster.
After, life was great,
At least for a little while.
Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble.
Then, Kristina meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul, and her life.
An immensely powerful book, Crank brings us a heartbreaking downfall into drug addiction. Knowing Ellen personally experienced much of this story gives it even more of an emotional pull, as we learn that this is based on Ellen’s own daughter’s story.
I’m still quite new to verse novels so it did take me a good 100 pages (which took like 20 mins to read, really – you can fly through verse books in no time) to get comfortable with the writing style. Before that I kept concentrating on how I was supposed to read it: vertical first or not? For instance. I soon realized it didn’t matter. Plus, by then, I was so into it I wasn’t even paying attention to that at all, it had me completely engrossed. Deciding to write such a story in verse was brilliant, however. It turns it into an even more tragic tale, seeing as it leaves no room for sugar coating or frivolous sidetracking. It gives us a blunt, ugly, and completely raw foray into addiction. If you’re hesitant to read verse novels, you should force yourself to give one a try. No one is less of a poetry fan as I am – when we studied it briefly in high school, everyone seemed to find such complexity in the meaning of a single verse when I was staring at it wide-eyed thinking for sure they had not read the same thing I just had. With that said, I’m glad that I went outside my comfort zone to try a verse novel. Crank being only my second. They offer something entirely potent from the candid nature of their storytelling. Furthermore, some of the poems in Crank are stylized in such a mesmerizing way, it makes reading it an experience like no other.
Crank is not a pretty story; it’s very much the opposite. No addiction of any kind is ever pretty. This novel portrays the decent into a drug infested haze in the most realistic of ways. We have a protagonist, here, who becomes captive of what she refers to as the monster. She even develops an alter-ego, kind of as a way to separate herself and stay in denial. We see her delude herself into believing that she is still in control, that she is not imprisoned by her addiction. She will piss you off to no end, yet you will likely still feel sympathy towards her. We see the downward spiral she is running towards, while helpless to stop it. It’s heartbreaking, really. She’s blind to its impact on her own mind and body, not to mention her family. Addiction affects much more than just the person affected, and this book also portrays how, more often than not, friends and family are just as much in denial as the addict herself. Thinking up excuses for them, not wanting to admit that something is seriously wrong.
Poignant and completely unforgettable, Crank is an eye-opening story that anyone touched by addiction should read. It shows us the monstrous, but entirely realistic, road to drug addiction.