“I used to think a drug addict was someone who lived on the far edges of society. Wild-eyed, shaven-headed, and living in a filthy squat. That was, until I became one…”
Have you ever had an absolute obsession over something? Something that you felt connected to on a spiritual level, that you truly believed you couldn’t live without. Perhaps it was a catchy song that you couldn’t stop listening to, or a type of food that you absolutely craved. Either way, you knew for sure that you would be emotionally broken into pieces if you and that obsession were separated.
(Yeah, I’m currently hooked on Pringles. I can go through three containers at a time, but that really isn’t the point... Moving on!)
The book, Crank, doesn’t deal with the typical obsession that everyone has from time to time. Enter Kristina, your average “plain Jane” high school student. Kristina had always lead a quiet, mundane life as an overachiever at school. That is, before she meets The Monster - a vicious, psychological beast that threatens to destroy her family, future, and her own chances of survival. As Kristina is pulled deeper into the Monster’s game, she starts to fade away, and from her destruction emerges a newly formed identity named Bree.
Loosely based on the author’s own daughter, the novel unravels the darker layers of addiction and parts that have been glamorized and censored by media and society. We learn quickly of the temporary escape to a virtual paradise that The Monster takes us to, along with the lasting scars it draws on you. Filled with dirty relationships, heartbreak, and drama, Crank reveals how one decision can lead to a lifetime of consequences.
I found this book horrifying and startlingly powerful through every page. Ellen Hopkins doesn’t sugar coat a single word, giving an extreme emphasis on how drug abuse is no laughing matter. The unique formatting of the story - which is put together through a series of poems - was also easy to read and allows you to focus more on the intensity of the plot itself.
Though the novel interacts with a lot of mature content, it is still a great way to learn more about the dangers of addiction. I urge everyone to try to give it a read; you may learn a thing or two you never knew about the “other side” of the world that we live in.
Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Bloggers in Residence are fantastic teen volunteer writers from across the city. They blog about their favourite teen reads and authors, and get writing assignments to cover special teen events happening at the library. Their residency rotates throughout the year. Call-outs for upcoming terms are made through the Teen Blog in May/June, September/October and January/February.