Hopkins's hard-hitting free-verse novel, a sequel, picks up where Crankleft off. Kristina now lives in her mother's Reno home with her baby, but constantly dreams of "getting/ high. Strung. Getting/ out of this deep well/ of monotony I'm/ slowly drowning in." When her former connection turns her on to "glass": "Mexican meth, as/ good as it comes. maybe 90 percent pure," Kristina quickly loses control again. She gets kicked out of her house after her baby gets hurt on her watch, starts dealing for the Mexican Mafia ("No problem. I'll play straight/ with them. Cash and carry") and eventually even robs her mother's house with her equally addicted boyfriend. The author expertly relays both plot points and drug facts through verse, painting Kristina's self-narrated self-destruction through clean verses ("My face is hollow-/cheeked, spiced with sores"). She again experiments with form, sometimes writing two parallel poems that can be read together or separately (sometimes these experiments seem a bit cloying, as in "Santa Is Coming," a concrete poem in the shape of a Christmas tree). But in the end, readers will be amazed at how quickly they work their way through this thick book-and by how much they learn about crystal meth and the toll it takes, both on addicts and their families. Ages 14-up. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Jamie S. Hansen
Whether it is called crank, glass, ice, or crystal, crystal methamphetamine is a highly addictive and readily available drug. Kristina Georgia Snow calls it the monster and has a perilous love-hate relationship with the substance. Readers first met Kristina in Crank (Simon & Schuster, 2004/VOYA February 2005), which told the story of her introduction to the drug by her addict father, her adoption of her wild and sexy alter-ego Bree, her descent into the monster's clutches, and the brutal date-rape that resulted in pregnancy. At seventeen, with baby Hunter to care for and a convenience-store job, Kristina at last considers herself strong and in charge of her life. She will decide when she indulges, using only enough to help her get through each day. Now with a tiny, helpless person who can give her the unconditional love that she craves, she can control the monster that has held her in its grip-or can she? Visiting her estranged father reintroduces her to the drug, and meeting Trey, seemingly the boy of her dreams, ensnares her still more deeply in the monster's clutches. Abandoning Hunter, her family, and her efforts to straighten out her life, Kristina becomes Bree again, falling into a destructive cycle of drugs, sex, and crime. Told in spare and intense free verse, incorporating dialogues, concrete poems, and monologues, Kristina's compelling and devastating story is a more honest and better-written Go Ask Alice (Prentice-Hall, 1971) for the millennium. Older teens will be enthralled by this highly-recommended cautionary tale.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
Kristina Snow was a 17-year-old with high grades and a loving family. In Crank (S & S, 2004), one summer in California with a meth-addicted boyfriend destroys her life. Addicted, she's raped, and goes back home to Reno pregnant. Glass picks up a year later. She lives with her mother and works at a 7-11. Depressed about her post-baby figure, she goes back on speed to lose weight. Her mother kicks her out and gains custody of the baby. She continues to spiral to the last page, which sets readers up for a third novel. Glass is even more terrifying than Crank in its utter hopelessness; meth's power is permanent and Kristina is an addict whether she uses or not. Though her recount of events in the first book is dry and self-indulgent, the pace snowballs as soon as she takes her first toke of rock meth, and one desperate, horrifying measure or decision follows another. Like Crank , this title is written in verse, but certainly not poetry. Hopkins's writing is smooth and incisive, but her fondness for seemingly random forms is distracting and adds little to the power of the narrative. Minor characters are flat, and Kristina's overblown self-pity elicits little empathy. The author tries but fails to present meth itself as a character; her descriptions of "the monster" are precious and overwritten. Kristina's story is terrible, and even when she's high, the narrative voice and mood are sobering. Teens, including reluctant readers, may appreciate the spare style and realism of Kristina's unhappy second chapter.
Johanna LewisCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kristina continues to dance with the monster of crystal methamphetamine, her fragmented emotions and cloudy denial displayed keenly by Hopkins's shards of free verse. Despite feeling warmth for her newborn baby and having been off meth for months, 17-year-old Kristina can't bear "the mindless / tedium that is my life" and seeks relief in "Mexican meth . . . 90 percent pure." This ice is far stronger than the "street-lab crank" she started on. Her mother kicks her out, keeping baby Hunter. Kristina moves in with Brad, a cousin of her boyfriend Trey, and the three smoke together. As Kristina spirals ever-downward, the monster claims her car, her minimum-wage job and any residual awareness of her infant son. Her teeth chip and she needs glass regularly just for "maintenance. . . . I'm scared // to shut all the way / down. Scared I might dream. / Scared I might not // wake back up." Hopkins's minimalist verse perfectly demonstrates Kristina's dissociation and muddled despair. Hypnotically sad, with a realistic lack of closure. (Fiction. YA)
“Flanagan is flawless in her performance.”
From the Publisher
“Listening to this cautionary tale is as addictive as its topic.”
AudioFile (Earphones Award winner)
Read an Excerpt
Walking with the Monster Life was radical right after I met the monster. Later, life became harder, complicated. Ultimately, a living hell, like swimming against a riptide, walking the wrong direction in the fast lane of the freeway, waking from sweetest dreams to find yourself in the middle of a nightmare. You Know My Story Don't you? All about my dive into the lair of the monster drug some people call crank. Crystal. Tina. Ice. How a summer visit to my dad sent me into the arms of a boy -- a hot-bodied hunk, my very first love, who led me down the path to insanity. How I came home no longer Kristina Georgia Snow, gifted high school junior, total dweeb, and perfect daughter, but instead a stranger who called herself Bree. How, no matter how hard Kristina fought her, Bree was stronger, brighter, better equipped to deal with a world where everything moved at light speed, everyone mired in ego. Where "everyday" became another word for making love with the monster. It Wasn't a Long Process I went to my dad's in June, met Adam the very first day. It took some time to pry him from his girlfriend's grasp. But within two weeks, he introduced me to the monster. One time was all it took to want more. It's a roller- coaster ride. Catch the downhill thrill, you want to ride again, enough to endure the long, hard climb back up again. In days, I was hooked on Adam, tobacco, and meth, in no particular order. But all summer vacations must end. I had to come home to Reno. And all my new bad habits came with me. It was a hella speed bump, oh yeah. Until I hurt for it, I believed I could leave the crystal behind. But the crash-and-burn was more than I could take. When the jet landed, I was still buzzed from a good-bye binge. My family crowded round me at the airport, discussing summer plans and celebration dinners, and all I wanted to do was skip off for another snort. Mom kept trying to feed me. My stepfa- ther, Scott, kept trying to ask questions about my visit with Dad. My big sister, Leigh, wanted to talk about her new girlfriend, and my little brother, Jake, kept going on about soccer. It didn't take long to figure out I was in serious trouble. Not the Kind of Trouble You might think I'm talking about. I was pretty sure I could get away with B.S.ing Mom and Scott. I'd always been such a good girl, they wouldn't make the jump to "bad" too quickly. Especially not if I stayed cool. I wasn't worried about getting busted at school or on the street. I'd only just begun my walk with the monster. I still had meat on my bones, the teeth still looked good. I didn't stutter yet. My mouth could still keep up with my brain. No, the main thing I worried about was how I could score there, at home. I'd never even experimented with pot, let alone meth. Where could I go? Who could I trust with my money, my secrets? I couldn't ask Leigh. She was the prettiest lesbian you've ever seen. But to my knowledge she had never used anything stronger than a hearty glass of wine. Not Sarah, my best friend since fourth grade, or any of my old crowd, all of whom lived by the code of the D.A.R.E. pledge. I really didn't need to worry, of course. All I had to do was leave things up to Bree, the goddess of persuasion. Before I Continue I just want to remind you that turning into Bree was a conscious decision on my part. I never really liked Kristina that much. Oh, some things about her were pretty cool -- how she was loyal to her family and friends. How she loved easily. How she was good at any and all things artistic. But she was such a brain, with no sense of fashion or any idea how to have fun. So when fun presented itself, I decided someone new would have to take charge. That someone was Bree. I chose her name (not sure where I got it), chose when to become her. What I didn't expect was discovering she had always been there, inside of me. How could Kristina and Bree live inside of one person? How could two such different halves make up the whole of me? How could Bree have possibly survived, stuck in Kristina's daily existence? The Funny Thing Was Bree solved the meth dilemma on a family trip to Wild Waters, Scott's annual company picnic. Sarah came The first was along to spend time with a truly gorgeous Kristina. But Bree lifeguard. Turned out had other things Brendan wasn't so pretty in mind. on the inside, but even Bree, who thrived on intuition, was clueless. Hard on the make, Brendan shared booze, cigarettes. But one guy wasn't quite enough. I also ran into Chase Wagner that day. His outside wasn't as I found out attractive, but inside he soon enough that was fine. Of course, both Chase and Brendan I didn't know knew the score -- and both that yet. were interested in me. Brendan only wanted sex; Chase offered love. Either way, I had my path to the monster. My Mom and Stepfather Later, I discovered that Robyn, my old friend Trent's sister (not to mention an "in" cheerleader), It didn't take tweaked to stay thin long to immerse and "pep up." She myself in the lifestyle. taught me how Didn't take long for school to smoke it. to go to shit; for friend -ships and dedication to family to falter. Didn't take long to become a slave to the monster. Tried to stop me before it all went completely wrong. Kristina spent almost a whole year GUFN -- grounded until further notice. But Bree was really good at prying open windows at night, lying with a straight face, denying she had slipped so far downhill. Nothing slowed me down. Not losing my virginity to Brendan's rape. Not spending a few days in juvenile hall. The only thing that kept me sane was Chase's love, despite all I put him through. He even swore to love me when I told him I was pregnant. Pregnant. And Brendan was the father. Bree considered abortion. Exorcism. Kristina understood the baby was not the demon. His father was. But you know this part of the story. You followed me on my journey through the monster's territory. We wound up here. Who am I now, three months after I left you, standing on the deck with me, listening to my new baby, crying inside? I told you then, the monster is a way of life, one it's difficult to leave behind, no matter how hard you try. I have tried, really I have. Maybe if Chase had stayed with me, instead of running off to California, in search of his dreams. Then again, I told him to go. Maybe if I had dreams of my own to run off in search of. I did once. But now I have no plans for a perfect tomorrow. All I have is today. T for Today I'd really like to tell you I have a nice little place with a white picket fence, flowers in the garden, and Winnie- the-Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger, too, on baby blue nursery walls. I'd like to inform you that I am on a fast track to a college degree and a career in computer animation -- something I've aimed for, ever since I found out I could draw. I'd love to let you know I left the monster screaming in my dust, shut my ears, scrambled back to my family, back to my baby, my heart. I could tell you those things, but they'd be lies -- nothing new for me, true. But if all I wrote was lies, you wouldn't really know my story. I want you to know. Not a day passes when I don't think about getting high. Strung. Getting out of this deep well of monotony I'm slowly drowning in. Copyright © 2007 by Ellen Hopkins