Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
would envy his vocabulary, he was up on
current events, could quote Keats:
Give me women, wine, and snuff
Until I cry out hold, enough!
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection; for
Bless my beard they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.
No mirrors, no blades, Chase reached
deep inside a pocket, withdrew an
amber bottle with a tiny spoon attached
to the lid. He set it on his knee.
Hey, you’re shaking. You’re not
scared, are you? We don’t have
to do this, do anything at all. We
can just sit and talk if you want.
“I’m not afraid, Chase.” Not of him.
Not with him. In fact, I felt quite safe.
It was monster desire that made me
tremble. Chase noticed.
Take it easy with this stuff, Bree.
It brings even good people to their
knees. Don’t get me wrong. I
like it, too. Just keep cool.
I was cool.
Two, I was too
my mouth hit
Chase could barely
keep up. We talked
Annoying little brothers
Brothers with very big footsteps
Boring summers at home
I Had to Explain
by then, he had
already asked to
me, and I let him
because I really
wanted him to,
and it wasn’t my
that one, in fact,
maybe it wasn’t
but it was pretty
fine, and the fact
that he had asked
will forever make
stand out in my
mind, touch my
heart, make me
kiss so tender
it made me cry.
He held me then,
smoothed my hair
and I asked him to
kiss me again
and he did, over
and over, until
I thought we might
fused by kisses.
In That Quite Hot Moment
a park ranger cruised by,
took a good, long look.
Maybe we’d better go.
“I should get back anyway.
My mom will wonder if I don’t
spend enough of her money.”
Ha, ha. I can always help.
As we drove away, he pulled me
close, rested his hand on my knee,
shifted between my legs.
Can I see you again?
“Any time, Chase.” Any time.
How weird was that? A few months
back I would have said no way.
As soon as I could break away from
Mom’s watchful eye. Chase sure
wasn’t her type. Was he really mine?
I like you, Kristina.
“I like you, too.” I did. He
was nothing like I had imagined.
He was bright, intuitive.
Or do I like Bree?
Even if he did ask hard questions.
Jetting on the monster in spectacular
fashion, I didn’t know how to answer.
Doesn’t matter. What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any
other word would smell as sweet.
Chase Wagner and Bill Shakespeare.
Talk about your strange bedfellows.
I was in line for that ménage à trois.
Chase Wanted to Walk Around the Mall
with me, but I knew I wouldn’t get much
shopping done if I went on a kissing
spree. A word of advice:
Never shop on crank.
Your brain moves beyond the
speed of light as you wander through
a familiar store. First, you can’t find Juniors.
Once you finally do, you need the restroom first,
then you get all turned around again.
Then, you can barely take it
all in. Sizes. Styles.
Everything looks great on
those goofy mannequins, so it’s got to look
better on you, right? You grab an armful, stumble to a
dressing room, try on all those darling clothes
and nothing you like fits. So you leave silk
and velour and suede behind, settle
for two identical pairs of jeans.
Then you hustle off to the
next store and repeat the process,
only this time you leave with a couple of
tees exactly like a couple you bought last year.
And when you realize that, you laugh your
butt off, but really don’t want to hassle
with returns or exchanges so you
decide to accessorize instead.
A Second Word of Advice
If shopping for clothes on crank
is dumb, trolling for jewelry,
belts, and shoes is something
just this side of insane.
Don’t think so.
Nikes. Vans. Doc Martins.
One of each?
Maybe next time.
Scrunchies. Barrettes. Berets.
Ebb the sable flow?
I was stressing
over earrings when
another hand touched
I thought you were going to call.
Two Guys in One Day?
Almost too much to consider,
although Bree found the prospect
quite intriguing. So then I had
to explain GUFN again.
“Today is the first day
she cut me loose.”
Sounds like a reason to party.
That was funny. But it was time
to catch my ride home. Since Brendan
was my mom’s type—tall, handsome,
and gainfully employed—I let him walk
me out. Mom was parked right in front.
Is she always so punctual?
I laughed like he was the wittiest
man alive, and promised to call,
wondering what was up. With me.
Had I lost one boyfriend, to gain
two? And how could I possibly
want these two, opposite
Damn, your mom is fine.
That wasn’t funny at all. I had to
live with my mom, obey her rules,
accept her punishments. But I would
never accept her as competition.
Not as fine as you, of course.
Mom Wanted to Hear All About Brendan
I told her what I knew,
hoping I didn’t talk too
much. Or too fast.
He’s really cute.
Oh, great. Mutual attraction.
I almost opened my mouth,
thought better of it.
Did he ask you out?
In a manner of speaking,
I supposed. Out. In. I
doubted he was picky.
Do we need to have the talk?
At that, I really had to
stifle Bree. Let me tell
you, it wasn’t easy.
He did seem like a nice boy.
Seeming and being are
two different things. You
seem nice, too, Mommy dearest.
Anyway, did you find some clothes?
I showed her what I
bought, and she grinned
a killer smile.
At least you’re consistent.
I had to laugh, speeding
along with the monster.
could barely look at dinner.
I told Mom I ate at the mall.
What exactly did you get?
Quick, Kristina, think.
“Stir-fry. You know,
fast food Chinese.”
Did you eat all your veggies?
OMG! Here I was, busting
my brain on first-class speed,
and all she cared about was if
I’d consumed my greens?
’Cause you can’t stay smart
eating only junk food.
Stay smart? First I had
to get smart, and it
wasn’t about to happen
holding hands with
Besides, vegetables give a girl
a healthy glow.
Damn. Wasn’t I glowing?
Then again, even if I was,
it could hardly qualify
as healthy. Still, Mom
didn’t insist I share the
It’s only leftovers, anyway.
By the way, a letter came
for you today.
Hope everything’s okay. Hope you’re okay.
Things are okay here.
My mom got a new job and she’s dating her boss.
He already thinks he’s my stepdad or something.
Says I’d better think about what I want to do with my life.
Besides party, that is.
I hate him already. You know?
Lince is home and I guess she’s better.
She has to go to PT—physical therapy—every day.
She’s learning to walk and talk, just like a baby.
It’s weird, really weird.
I try to spend time with her, but it’s hard. You know?
I’m sorry about that phone call.
I didn’t mean to upset you.
I was at the end of a three-day binge.
Too long without food and sleep.
Your brain starts to play tricks. You know?
I do love you, Kristina.
You were a summer gift, one I’ll always treasure.
You were a dream I never wanted to wake up from.
You opened my eyes to things I’ll never really see.
You’re the best thing that will ever happen to me.
Be safe. Be smart. Stay you.
Why Was Everyone
about my IQ?
I sank into my
reread every word
twenty times, right
to his signature.
Adam had a poet’s soul.
I put the letter
and considered crying,
wondering how loving
him could bring me
so far down,
wondering how to stop
loving him, wondering
if the monster would soon
let me come down.
I Did Cry Then
Climb-and-dive on the crank coaster,
I unlocked my heart, let the hurt out.
And then, like he was listening
at the keyhole, Chase called.
(He even asked for Kristina.)
Hey, sweetheart. Just checkin’
up on ya. You okay?
Let’s see. Speedin’. Wantin’ tobacco.
Cryin’ over a guy I thought I was over.
Probably going to start my period—just
in time to encourage a few new zits right
before school started. “Fine.”
Really? You don’t sound fine.
Can I make you feel better?
I told you he was intuitive. Even
if he wasn’t the type I could
bring home to Mother. Yes,
I liked Chase Wagner.
I’d sing to you but I’m pretty
sure that wouldn’t help.
I jumped into his well of ever-present
cheerfulness, gulped deeply,
laughed out loud. We talked until
Scott needed to use the phone.
You probably won’t sleep
much tonight. Think of me
once or twice?
At least. I hung up, feeling much less
alone. Pulled out my journal and
started to write. Wrote all night.
The monster and I had a lot to say.
Chase Was Right
I didn’t sleep much that
and not for the next
or three afterward,
Sarah invited me
I told her I felt
to escape inevitable
and to consider my
someone altogether new.
I Had to Pick Up
my student I.D. card so I bummed a ride
from Chase, told Mom I was going with Sarah.
It was the first time in a long time I’d out and out
lied and it bothered me. For about five minutes.
I walked down to the 7-Eleven to wait for Chase,
anticipation rumbling in my empty gullet.
The sight of his red Toyota pickup brought
a smile to my lips—and more, inside.
We shared a seat, we shared a smoke,
we shared a kiss or several.
At school, Chase waited with me in some long
lines. Yearbook. Class schedule. Student body card.
I even smiled for the camera. I had to, with Chase
checking out my student body, grinning like a toad.
Back in the truck, more kisses and a cigarette of my
own (pilfered from his pack, pilfered from his mom).
He dropped me off around the corner from my house,
gave me a stick of gum and a big, wet good-bye kiss.
It might have been the perfect day except just
as I closed the door, Scott happened
I learned a valuable lesson about lie construction
and Mom gave me plenty of time to consider
how to do it better.
sat on my bed, absentmindedly
tracing the lopsided
read, didn’t write. All I did
was think about my personal
evolution. Where did I
with my relative innocence
gone? Where did I fit?
I felt like I had fallen in
a critical state of limbo.
With my old friends mired
in status quo, how could I explain
summer enlightenment? My new
crowd—if three guys and Guinivere
qualified—was not what my
(or I) expected. I wondered if I should
confess that her sweet, intelligent
little Kristina did not exist
Leigh Headed Back to School
Mom drove her to the airport.
I waited until they hustled off, late,
then asked to stay home, claiming, “Cramps.”
Mom gave me a look, but I could prove
the cramps were real. Leigh gave me a big,
tense hug, made me promise to behave myself.
The minute the car turned the corner,
I was on the telephone, completely
misbehaving. “Come over, Chase.” Now?
“Right now.” Where’s your mom?
Need arose like an angry red dawn.
I paced until the dogs warned
a stranger had just arrived.
How much time
do we have?
“Not enough.” What do you
“Everything.” Will I get you in
I didn’t care. I needed to feel
good. We snorted, we smoked.
I asked for, “More.” Don’t think you
“Please!” Take it easy,
“Can’t.” Your mom will be
That’s why I
Crank by Ellen Hopkins / Young Adult / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes