Hopkins, Ellen. Crank.
From the KLIATT review of the book, September 2004: "This devastating story, told in poetry, is even more frightening because it is based on the author's own experiences with her addicted daughter. As the author says in a note at the beginning of the book, 'It is hard to watch someone you love fall so deeply under the spell of a substance that turns him or her into a stranger. Someone you don't even want to know.' That is what happens to the narrator, a teenager whose life deteriorates after she gets involved with friends who use drugs--she cannot resist crank even though she understands it is destroying her. She will do anything for more crank. She has casual sex, she gets drunk, and eventually she gets pregnant. She thinks she should get an abortion, but at the last minute she decides to have the baby. Her family helps her through the pregnancy and she tries to keep sober, but in the end, after the baby is safely born, she returns to what she calls "the monster." This horrific story is told in many pages, but actually not so many words. Hopkins uses various experiments with word placement on the page to extend the emotional power of the poetry. The last poem is called "Happy Endings," and the narrator says she would like to give us one--but the drugs are calling her away from her baby, out the door. We know there will probably be no happy ending, ever. And we aren't used to YA novels that end in such despair, but we have to face the truth that many addicts do not recover. I hope the author gets some comfort from sharing this story with others."
Fans of Ellen Hopkins, at least in my area, have long been asking for audio editions of her books. Reader Flanagan does not let these fans down. With pitch perfect tones, inflections, and emotions, Flanagan is as poetic in her narration of Kristina's story as Hopkins is in telling it. The power and rawness of Kristina's dance with the monster is uncomfortable to hear as Flanagan intimately connects listeners with her story. Pulled in immediately and tightly held by the narration, listeners will feel changed by the experience. This audio experience would be flawless were it not for several instances where the volume changes, and it sounds like portions were edited so poorly that the narrator's voice actually sounds different. This is disappointing and distracting, but Flanagan's narration is so strong that the pull back into the moment is immediate. Stephanie Squicciarini, Teen Svcs Libn, Fairport PL, Fairport, NY