Life was good before I met the monster.
After, life was great,
At least for a little while.
Kristina is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. Then she meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild ride turns into a struggle for her mind, her soul – her life.
WARNING: This book contains sexual situations, drug abuse, and profanity.
This is a really fast read for a couple reasons: 1) it’s written in verse and 2) it’s pretty much impossible to put it down. In the author’s note at the beginning of the book, Ellen Hopkins says "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 exactly what happens. The narrator is 15-year-old Kristina who tells her story of going from a straight A student to a crank addict. Kristina tries crank for the first time while she’s visiting her father in Albuquerque; she meets handsome, young Adam who first introduces her to the “monster” and soon finds herself in the backroom of a bowling alley doing crank with her deadbeat father. It’s at this time she unleashes Bree, her new personality fueled by her drug use.
She heads back home to Reno, and finds herself craving the monster. Her addiction leads to her becoming a drug dealer, dating multiple men, getting raped, and eventually finding out she’s pregnant. Throughout the book, Ellen Hopkins details the unbelievable highs and lows of drug addiction, and it’s incredibly devastating. Kristina’s whole life is turned upside down by the monster; she sleeps for days at a time, she never eats, she goes through unbelievable mood changes…she’s at the mercy of this drug. When she finds out she’s pregnant, she intends to get an abortion but changes her mind at the last minute and decides to keep the child.
Books on drug addiction seem to fascinate and devastate me at the same time. I have never fallen victim to drug abuse, so it’s a foreign topic to me. I don’t know what it feels like to depend so heavily on a substance, and I am so thankful for that. Kristina’s story broke my heart, but when she got pregnant, I had so much hope that the baby would be exactly what she needed to turn her life around. However, as she states in the last chapter: “Crank is more than a drug. It’s a way of life. You can turn your back. But you can never really walk away.”
This is a compelling and tragic story of how drugs can completely destroy your life, and turn you into a person you never in a million years knew you could be. As I stated earlier, it’s a quick read and a hypnotic story.