‘Crank’ by Ellen Hopkins
Ellen Hopkins is young adult author who bleeds onto the page, as evident in her 2004 bestseller, ‘Crank.’
The book is an honest, sometimes brutual look at addiction, inspired by the author’s own daughter and the crystal meth addiction that unraveled their family. Though not a non-fiction retelling of her daughter’s descent into addiction, Hopkins says the title is “60% fact.”
‘Crank’ follows Kristina the summer before and during her junior year of high school who, after visiting her mostly absent father, develops an addiction to meth. The plot develops as Kristina’s addiction worsens and she is raped, sent to a juvenile detention center, and eventually begins selling drugs to fuel her habit.
Hopkins’ writing, in “hypnotic and jagged free verse”, is gritty and heartfelt leaving readers with a sense of loss and grief, while still hopeful that Kristina can find her way out of addiction’s hold, (Source).
Why It’s Banned: ‘Crank’ has become required reading in high schools and rehab programs but has been cited by some parents and more conservative groups as being too “adult” a read for its targeted audience with its depiction of drugs, offensive language, and being sexually explicit.
Why You Should Read It: The reality of addiction and its impact on families, particularly the already teneous relationships between mothers and daughters, is honestly and vividly portaryed in the novel. It is a piece that has impacted families struggling with the same issues and is a device that both educates and informs.