Glass (Book #2 – Crank Trilogy)
By Ellen Hopkins
Margaret K. McElderry Books 2007
as Kristina’s story moves ahead following the first book, Crank, we find her several months after giving birth to her son, Hunter, as she is drawn back to “the monster.” She thinks a little snort could help her lose some weight and get her through the late-night feedings and day-to-day drudgery of constant new-baby needs. Surprised at how easy it is to get and how good it is, it doesn’t take long for Kristina to remember how great the stuff makes her feel – and forget how bad it makes her behave.
For awhile the teen mom is able to take care of her baby, hold down a lousy part-time job, and keep herself cranked just enough to pretend her life isn’t all that bad. Despite what Kristina may think, her mother and stepfather, Scott, are not really fooled into thinking all is well. They give her just enough space to eventually crash and burn. After falling asleep and putting the baby in danger, Kristina’s mother throws her out of the house. She says she’ll take care of Hunter, and Kristina should take care of herself.
Like most addicts, Kristina fools herself into believing she can have it all. She manages to keep her job and find a place to live with the cousin of her latest love interest. Once again her life is filled with drugs, sex, and whatever she has to do to survive. At times there is hope of reconnecting with her family, but each time Kristina can’t cope and ends up with less and less of what truly matters.
For readers who followed Kristina’s painful journey in Crank, this next book will illustrate the power of meth to completely change and destroy a life and the lives of anyone connected with the addict. Hopkins speaks from personal experience, which creates a powerful, heart-wrenching, and all too real quality to her verse. As they say, it’s a life you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
When the struggle Kristina faces brings her to a place where the best she can hope for is to “… move on without the monster breathing against my neck, begging me to do one more little whiff. That’s it, okay. One more all-nighter, then I’ll quit cold [lukewarm] turkey.” readers will not be able to put down this breathless book.
Information about the Author
Ellen Hopkins was born in 1955 in Long Beach, CA, and was adopted at birth by an older couple. From the time I knew how to put words on paper. Ellen has been writing something, especially poetry, ever since then and started writing for money in 1992. She and her husband currently live in Nevada.
The real story behind her first book Crank took place between the years 1995 and 2001. “Hunter,” aka Orion, was born in 1996. She and her husband took guardianship of him when he was just a baby and later adopted him.
Genre: Verse Novel; Realistic Fiction; Diseases/Disorders-Drug Abuse/Addiction; People-Teenagers; Poetry/Rhymes-Novels in Verse
Awards: Award Winners-YALSA Top Ten; ; Recommended Reading-YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant YA
Content Area: Feelings and Emotions; Families; Parents; Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking
On pg. 222, readers go on a fast-paced ride with Kristina as she turns a dark corner in her recovery and runs to make a purchase of crystal meth from a dealer using the money her father (also a user) has given her under the guise of her birthday. In the span of just a few pages, readers will cringe as she makes up an excuse for herself, lies to her mother (again) sets up a meeting to buy the drugs and when she gets there, is faced with Brendan – the father of her child, who is at home with her mom, and who is responsible for bringing the monster into her life in the first place. “… I want to puke.”
The verse on pgs. 226-227 are brilliant – a great example of concrete poetry as you read the lines left to right, you see Kristina’s fear and emotion; but if you read the words along the left side vertically, you get a verse within the verse: “I can’t I can’t I can’t deal with him. I won’t I won’t I won’t ever, confess that my son is his son.” A powerful stand taken by a girl with a very poor track record of standing up for anything.
Text Measures/Reading Level:
Quantitative: Lexile Measure®:HL600
Interest Level: Grades 9 – 12
Grade level Equivalent: 4.3
This book deals openly with drugs, sex, breaking-and-entering, and contains profanity and difficult family situations including divorce and LGBT topics. The book also deals briefly with prostitution, rape, murder and other mature topics. It is a book about teens using drugs and dealing with addictions – their own and those of their family and friends.
Always check the American Library Association website for strategies and tips in handling challenges to library materials at http://www.ala.org/bbooks/challengedmaterials/support/strategies
GLBTRT Book Challenge resources and evaluation guidlines for LGBT materials for teens, go to the ALA website at http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/ and the GLBTRT website at http://isd.usc.edu/~trimmer/glbtrt/bibthemeslit.htm
Author Website: http://ellenhopkins.com/YoungAdult/glass/
Why This Book?
This is a very different piece of writing than most other YA materials and because I work with juvenile detention wards of the court, there are many things in Hopkins’ books that appeal to them and reflect their lives. And because they are in verse and written at a lower level (as Hi-Lo books at a Lexile of 600), the teens I work with are comfortable with the vocabulary. I wanted to see what they see.