Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dancing With The Monster

This week's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday Topic:

What was the best book you read in July?

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina--she's fearless.

Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul--her life.

Not only is Kristina a good girl, she is a good girl with a desperation for love, so when she meets an attractive, suave boy by the name Adam (a.k.a Buddy) and he takes an interest in her, an alter ego of Kristina comes out. You can call her Bree. She is nothing like Kristina--she is quick with the innuendos, attractive to guys, a party animal, and, ultimately, stronger than Kristina. When Adam introduces Kristina to the monster called "crank" Bree jumps at the chance, thirsting for a good time.

"Crank" is 544 pages of an anticipating, beautifully written story of a good girl's fall from grace. It took me only two days to read--calculating it farther, it probably only took me hours. I didn't want to put it down, and when I had the chance to pick it back up again--in between stirring breakfast included--I took advantage of it.

Sad to say, it was painful but enticing to watch Kristina fall into the grasps of addiction--it was explained so well. The objective and significance of the book is well addressed, slowly leading to the consequences of "dancing with the monster" crank. After leaving her father and Adam, Kristina goes home to Reno, Nevada, high and looking for a dealer. Easy enough she finds one, but not without consequences on her behalf.

"Crank" is a story loosely based off the author, Ellen Hopkin's, daughter and her addiction to crank. The idea of the book came from Hopkin's curiosity of why her daughter made the decisions she did, and what part Ellen played in her daughter's life. In the process of writing the book from her daughter's perspective, Ellen not only learned more about her daughter, she learned about herself.

The most interesting aspect of the book is that it is written in verse. Though some of the writing is short, it is perfectly balanced with description, phrasing, and beauty of the writing. Not only is it written in verse, some of the paragraphs take shapes such as arrows, V's, houses, and crosses.

For an excerpt, here is page one:

"Flirtin’ with the Monster

Life was good
before I
              the monster
               was great,

            for a little while."

For those who don't know what crank is, it the most addicting and consequential drug:  methamphetamine.

Here are some websites if you would like to learn more about the book and the author:
"Crank" at Amazon--You can peek into the book for more excerpts

And here are some websites if you would like to learn more about the mental and physical consequences of using crank:

What are some great books you've read this month?


  1. Those before and after meth ads are some of the most effective I've seen.

    I feel like it's some kind of sin to write YA and not have read Ellen Hopkins yet. I really need to get on that.

  2. Crank was one of my picks last month. Tough subject matter but awesomely written.

  3. Excellent, excellent choice. I love Ellen Hopkins.

  4. omg - I LOVE Ellen Hopkins. You must read Identical - that's her best one.

  5. I was a little skeptical about this book because it was written in verse, but now I'm definitely going to have to check it out.

    Also--I awarded you! ^_^ It's over at my blog!

  6. My favorite book for the month of July is "Pearl" by Jo Knowles. I am almost finished and I hate to see it end.

    P.S. - I really like your blog! I am already intrigued by the title of the book you are working on "Angel Wings". Good luck and happy writing.

  7. I haven't read this one yet, but I have read some of Ellen Hopkins' books and I am always blown away by how well she does the verse. And the tough subjects.