A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book is about a girl's drug addiction: Not only does Kristina use meth constantly, but eventually she also deals it for the Mexican Mafia. There are some fairly graphic depictions of sex, including a first orgasm and having sex with more than one partner. Kristina's drug use gets her kicked out of the house; eventually she loses custody of her young son and begins committing crimes to support her habit (even robbing her mother). By the end of the book, Kristina is pregnant again.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
This is a sequel to Hopkins' popular Crank, a book she based on her daughter's battle with the drug. This installment is also told through spare verse, and it also centers on Kristina. At the beginning of the book, Kristina gets back into methamphetamine -- smoking a higher grade called Glass -- and quickly loses control, starting a new dangerous downward spiral. This time around things are much darker for Kristina. She is kicked out of her home, loses custody of her infant son, and eventually begins committing crimes with her addict boyfriend in order to support their habits.
Is it any good?
While young readers may be drawn in by the titillating material, Hopkins just has a remarkable gift for conveying lots of story, character, and emotion through her simple lines. Readers will find themselves caring for Kristina and her family, even though they know she is doomed.
Hopkins' daughter is a recovering meth addict and this book is based on her experiences -- another fact that may draw teen fans. Of course, careful readers will understand that Hopkins is making a point about addictions: It doesn't end when the book does.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of the series. If your kids read her first book, Crank, they can compare and contrast the two -- did they learn anything new about Kristina, her family, or drug abuse?
Hopkins' books are controversial -- and often challenged. Should teens be allowed to read whatever they want? If not, who should decide what's appropriate?
For kids who love mature stories
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