Review of Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Review of Crank by Ellen HopkinsCrank by Ellen Hopkins
Also by this author: Glass, Fallout, Rumble
Series: Crank #1
Also in this series: Glass, Fallout
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 1st 2012
Genres: Young Adult, General
Pages: 544
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781471103438

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: a gifted student, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is a total opposite to Kristina - she's fearless.
Through a boy she meets, Bree is introduced to the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul and, ultimately, her life.

How many of you read Go Ask Alice when you were younger? Well, Crank by Ellen Hopkins is sort of like Go Ask Alice, only 1000x better. Upon finishing Crank, I did not think drugs were cool, whereas when I finished Go Ask Alice I was able to see the appeal of whatever that girl was on. In Crank, the drugs are legit scary and the results more tangible and immediate.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins opens with Kristina Snow going to visit her ne’er do well father in Arizona. Her dad is the deadbeat of all deadbeats, I mean he does drugs at the bowling alley he works at. Of course, there is this boy that Kristina meets who walks on the wild side. Kristina unleashes her inner bad girl, Bree, because she so desperately wants to attract Adam. Enter the monster, aka, CRANK! For Kristina, crank is awesome at first. She gets all this energy. She gets cleaning done. She finds courage to flirt. Then she crashes AND burns. With the rest of the book, we see her basically implode from the effects of drugs on her life.

I won’t lie, I am not very huge on issue books. I’m not a person who deals with issues outside of my job. Like, my parents are still married, I don’t have friends who do drugs, I’ve never been preggo. So it is hard for me to relate to these types of books. Ellen Hopkins was an author who came highly recommended. My sister read Crank and enjoyed it. Shanyn said she was good. Plus she gets banned a whole lot. I had figured perhaps she would be worth looking into. I am glad I suspended my aversion to novels in verse to read Crank by Ellen Hopkins.

I am not sure this story could have been told in any other way and have been as effective. There is a lot of blank space on the pages. I actually liked the way Hopkins played with spacing and structuring the poems. Granted, I never really thought all that deeply on the poems, i.e. what is the deeper meaning of the structure of these lines in this place. However, I could see a teacher using this book in the classroom. Crank reads very, very quickly — if I had to estimate — in about 3 hours. However, you absolutely should not underestimate Crank because it’s a quick read. The emotional punch stays with you. I mean, it is so easy to relate to Kristina, even though I have none of her problems.

“I swear, ever guy you kiss is/ so different. Each has a unique/ essence, each a significant style.” pg. 306

The slashes denote line breaks FYI. I could totally relate to the above quote, since it is true. I’ve kissed like, 12 guys, and yes, yes that rings true.

Then there is the language and imagery of the lines within Crank, which I thought was well done, stylistically:

“The way it’s okay to gift/ their heart one day, a/ backhand the next, to/ move on to the apricot/ when the peach/ blushes and/ bruises.” pg. 170

Wow. Just wow.


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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I read this book a while ago, but I totally agree with your Go Ask Alice comparison – Go Ask Alice made drugs seem kind of fun, lol. Crank definitely didn't though. I like Ellen Hopkins books a lot because they're quick and completely captivating. I'd totally recommend Burned by here – it's my favorite one.

  2. Ellen Hopkins says

    Very happy you gave it a try. Thanks so much for the review!

  3. I know what you mean about not being big on 'issues' books. I tend to feel a little put off of reading a book if the main thing I keep hearing about it is its message. However, a book that addresses an important issue for teens *and* gets banned is definitely a book that would interest me too – because it suggests there's an honesty there that some have found almost dangerous and that I will probably find awesome. And I *love* the sound of the emotional punch that you describe this as packing. Excellent review, April – it's really piqued my interest!

  4. I definitely agree about Crank, I was surprised how much I loved it and how well the format worked.

    I reviewed it here:

  5. I definitely agree about Crank, I was surprised how much I loved it and how well the format worked.

    I reviewed it here:

  6. I haven't read this one, although I've got it sitting by my bed waiting, but Hopkins is definitely a powerful writer. I read Identical and couldn't get it to leave me alone for days.

    Her books haunt you.

  7. I really can't wait to read this book when it arrives. I've been hearing so many great things about these books.


  1. […] like glass, when we break, I wish no one in my place.”  You see, Glass is the sequel to Crank. It is just as powerful as it’s predecessor.  As for spoilers, you should probably stop […]

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  3. […] Ward Kehoe is awesome, plus it’s nice to read a free verse book that’s not about the dangerous world of drugs. AuditionSo, I think those of you who know me already know I find dance boring IRL, but love […]

  4. […] standards, My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel falls short. It’s not as good as say, Ellen Hopkins, but I see it’s value. I think it’s an interesting look at teens of the late 1960s/early […]

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