My Catchphrases

Friday, 24 June 2011

Review: Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Glass
Series: Crank
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 7 April 2009

Synopsis: From GoodReads

Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go.

Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.

Once again the monster takes over Kristina's life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves -- her baby.

The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts.

 REVIEW: May contain spoilers as it is Book 2 in the series

This is a very sensitive subject for me as I relate the drug addiction along the same lines as alcohol addiction and the devastation it has on the other people. The person who has the addiction doesn't care; the source of the addiction is the only thing that matters to them. At the cost of everything else in their lives, but it is never the fault of the addiction, any excuse would be preferable to actually admitting that drugs/alcohol is to blame. As you can see I may start to rant - apologies in advance.

There is a powerful recap of the events from the first book Crank (review here) it hits you like a punch in the face.

It always amazes me with verse novels how dramatic the use of white space is, adding to the impact of the story line even to the point of creating pictures with the words on the page. I found that even more so with this book as the structure of the words on the page could be read in two different ways. I shall explain further as it delights me to do so. You can read the right side on its own, which gives a summarised version of the storyline, re-enforcing and clarifying main events.

I did and still do find it hard to understand that Kristina knew what she was doing when she made the decision to start taking drugs again even though she is fully aware of the consequences. The scientific explanation of the affect that drugs of this kind have on the chemical balance of the brain was profoundly insightful. It left me wondering if alcohol has the same effect on brain chemistry - I really must investigate that point further.

The repetition of phrase re-enforces and highlights that particular part of the verse. The chapter headings are included in the verse and should not be over-looked.

I actually think Glass is far scarier than Crank as it shows that once an addiction takes hold it is something that has to be battled forever - it doesn't just stop or go away. Making me think that this book should be forced into the hands of anyone contemplating drug use as a deterrent. The picture the verse paints is brutally honest and realistic. Painfully realistic.

Another thing that really stood out for me ( and unfortunately again I can relate to) is that once an addiction takes hold it is a slippery (and fast) slope and any means necessary is used to pay for that habit even at the detriment of family and friends.

A truly terrifying and unfortunately all too real account of addiction. The stuff parents nightmares are made of. I applaud Ellen Hopkins for writing it and wish I could force all the teens in school to read it.

Everyone should read these books.


  1. Thanks so much for this. I, too, believe these books should be required reading for young people once they reach a certain age. Mistakes can be forgiven, but some choices steal your life away.

  2. This does sound interesting, great review.

  3. I hadn't even thought to read Crank. I didn't read all of your review because I don't want to spoil the first book for me but I am definitely going to pick this series up. Thank you!


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