Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
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
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.
Be sure to read
Perfect is the story of four high school seniors, all of whom have friends, siblings, and a drive to attain “perfection.” They each have very different goals, and very different ways of achieving them. Meet Cara, whose parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother spiraling toward suicide; Kendra, a pageant girl who stops at nothing in her pursuit of runway modeling; Sean, who uses whatever means necessary to win a baseball scholarship; and Andre, whose real talent seems destined to languish. Just how far does someone have to go to be perfect?
Cara Sierra Sykes
do you define a word without
concrete meaning? To each
his own, the saying goes, so
push to attain an ideal
state of being that no two
random people will agree is
you want to be? Faultless.
Finished. Incomparable. People
can never be these, and anyway
did creating a flawless facade
become a more vital goal
than learning to love the person
lives inside your skin?
The outside belongs to others.
Only you should decide for you—
I’ve lived with the pretense
of perfection for seventeen
years. Give my room a cursory
inspection, you’d think I have OCD.
But it’s only habit and not
obsession that keeps it all orderly.
Of course, I don’t want to give
the impression that it’s all up to me.
Most of the heavy labor is done by
our housekeeper, Gwen. She’s an
imposing woman, not at all the type
that most men would find attractive.
Not even Conner, which is the point.
My twin has a taste for older
women. Before he got himself
locked away, he chased after more
than one. I should have told sooner
about the one he caught, the one
I happened to overhear him with,
having a little afternoon fun.
Okay, I know a psychologist
would say, strictly speaking,
he was prey, not predator.
And, in a way, I can’t really
blame him. Emily is simply
stunning. Conner wasn’t the only
one who used to watch her go
running by our house every
morning. But, hello, she was
his teacher. That fact alone
should have been enough warning
that things would not turn out well.
I never would have expected
Conner to attempt the coward’s way
out, though. Some consider suicide
an act of honor. I seriously don’t agree.
But even if it were, you’d have to
get it right. All Conner did was
stain Mom’s new white Berber
carpet. They’re replacing it now.
Kendra Melody Mathieson
That’s what I am, I guess.
I mean, people have been telling
me that’s what I am since
I was two. Maybe younger.
as a picture. (Who wants
to be a cliché?) Pretty as
an angel. (Can you see them?)
Pretty as a butterfly. (But
that really just a glam bug?)
Cliché, invisible, or insectlike,
I grew up knowing I was
pretty and believing everything
about me had to do with how
I looked. The mirror was my best
friend. Until it started telling
me I wasn’t really pretty
That’s what my mom calls the gift
she gave me, through genetics.
We are Scandinavian willows,
with vanilla hair and glacier blue
eyes and bone china skin. Two
hours in the sun turns me the color
of ripe watermelon. When I lead
cheers at football games, it is wearing
SPF 60 sunblock. Gross. Basketball
season is better, but I’ll be glad
when it’s over. Between dance lessons
and vocal training and helping out
at the food bank (all grooming for Miss
Teen Nevada), I barely have time for
homework, let alone fun. At least
staying busy mostly keeps my mind
off Conner. I wish I could forget
about him, but that’s not possible.
I tumbled hard for that guy. Gave him
all of me. I thought we had something
special. He even let me see the scared
little boy inside him, the one not many
other people ever catch a glimpse of.
I wonder if he showed that boy to
the ambulance drivers who took him to
the hospital, or to the doctors and nurses
who dug the bullet out of his chest. Sewed
him up. Saved his life. I want to see him, but
Cara says he can’t have visitors. Bet he doesn’t
want them—scared he might look helpless.
Sean Terrence O’Connell
Don’t like that word.
Not tough enough to describe
a weight-sculpted body.
is better. Like a builder
frames a house,
constructing its skeleton
two-by-four, a real
muscle group by muscle
group, ignoring the
Focused completely on
the gain. It can’t happen
overnight. It takes hours
every single day
no one can force you to
do it. Becoming the best
takes a shitload of inborn
That’s what it takes to reach
the top, and that is where
I’ve set my sights. Second
best means you lose. Period.
I will be the best damn first
baseman ever in the league.
My dad was a total baseball
freak (weird, considering
he coached football), and
when I was a kid, he went
on and on about McGwire
being the first base king.
I grew up wanting to be
first base royalty. T-ball,
then years of Little League,
gave me the skills I need.
But earning that crown
demands more than skill.
What it requires are arms
like Mark McGwire’s.
I Play Football, Too
Kind of a tribute to Dad.
But, while I’m an okay
safety, my real talent
is at the bat. I’ll use
it to get into Stanford.
The school’s got a great
program. But even if
it didn’t, it would be
at the top of my university
wish list because Cara will
go there, I’m sure. She says
it isn’t a lock, but that’s bull.
Her parents are both alumni,
and her father has plenty of
pull. Money. And connections.
Uncle Jeff has connections, too,
and there will be Stanford
scouts at some random (or
maybe not so) game. I have
to play brilliantly every time.
Andre Marcus Kane III
Give most girls a way
to describe me, that’s what
they’d say—that Andre
Marcus Kane the third is
I struggle daily to maintain
the pretense. Why must it be
to surpass my ancestors’
can’t I just be a regular
seventeen-year-old, trying to
sense of life? But my path
has been preordained,
without anyone even asking
what I want. Nobody seems
to care that with every push
to live up to their expectations,
my own dreams
Don’t Get Me Wrong
I do understand my parents wanting only
the best for me.
Am one hundred percent tuned to the concept
that life is a hell of a lot more enjoyable
fun with a fast-
flowing stream of money carrying you
along. I like driving a pricey car, wearing
clothes that feel
like they want to be next to my skin.
I love not having to be a living, breathing
of my color. Anytime I happen to think
about it, I am grateful to my grandparents
for their vision.
Grateful to my mom for her smarts,
to my father for his bald ambition,
and, yes, greed.
Not to mention unreal intuition.
Andre Marcus Kane Sr. embraced
the color of his skin,
refused to let it straitjacket
him. He grew up in the urban
called Oakland, with its rutted
asphalt and crumbling cement
and frozen dreams,
all within sight of hillside mansions.
I’d look up at those houses, he told
me more than once,
and think to myself, no reason why
that can’t be me, living up there.
No reason at all,
except getting sucked down into
the swamp. Meaning welfare or the drug
trade or even the cliché
idea that sports were the only way out.
Ellen Hopkins, Crank
(Series: Crank # 1)
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Crank by Ellen Hopkins / Young Adult / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes