Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Drugs

Mini Review Monday: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

MiniReviewMonday

Crank

Summary From GoodreadsCrank

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father.

While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I know that I’m not breaking any new ground by talking about Crank, one of the more “popular” books that I have read during my time blogging, so I won’t be doing a traditional review so to speak. I’m just going to share a few thoughts I had on the book, okie? ^.^

Crank is far more than the meager description it is given. It is a warning to the entire spectrum of potential readers, from people who would never touch drugs to hardcore users, about the dangers of using heavily and with the strongest methods. However, the book is written entirely in verse, speaking a bit to the deranged mindset of a crank addict, but also softening some of the harder blows with freestyle. It leaves some of the detail out, though not much, and lets the reader imagine the rest. Sometimes you might wish it hadn’t.

Much of the book (the parts not trying to depress the crap out of you) sound like a ton of fun if I am to be honest. No, I’m not going to go out and do any of these drugs, but the dance party of ecstasy, the NASCAR type speed of crank, and the mellow groove of pot sound intriguing in their own ways. My guess is that is likely the point, Hopkins knows that people do this for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones is that it generally feels really great while you are on your drug of choice.

The characters in the book were the weakest point for me. Most of them were cliche-ridden, one boyfriend an “I’ll love you forever” type despite them having only been together a few weeks (then turning on her in a blink), another with a more violent side (you know or can guess), and the knight in shining armor.

The main character is more of the same, and while she was likely very realistic in the mind of Hopkins for obvious reasons and cliches exist for reasons as well, watching the same old “girl with low self-esteem, bouncing from boy to boy, experimenting until she loses control” type of MC was a tad disappointing. Outside of the dual personality of sorts there wasn’t much that made her unique, and that was unfortunate.

Overall, though, I did enjoy Crank quite a bit. If there is someone reading this that somehow hasn’t read the book I would say that it does take a while to get used to reading in the verse style Hopkins employs, but that once you grow accustomed to it you will enjoy the book quite a bit. I don’t know that I’ll read the other books in the series, but we shall see. Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

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Nobody Special by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Nobody Special

Summary From GoodreadsNobodySpecial

Scott Wagner is used to coasting through life as a nobody. His adoptive parents don’t expect anything from him, but they spend more time inebriated than they do being a family. He is invisible at school, and no one talks to him besides his pothead wingman Aaron Marshall. His only other friend Emily Barnes makes up the better half of his gaming club, and he’s not proud of the fact that a girl in junior high can beat him up digitally.

It’s a safe but dull life, a holding pattern of smoking joints and playing video games until a series of chance encounters strips Scott of his invisibility. Forming a band with Emily and some new friends, Scott gains much needed approval from his parents while at the same time coming under scrutiny from Emily’s father, a hard-nosed cop who thinks Scott is a bad influence on his daughter.

Scott’s stumbling path to adulthood is a journey of self-discovery, offering him new friendships, a closer connection to his family, and a taste of young love. But it also brings painful lessons about dealing with prejudices, making sacrifices, and dealing with tragic losses. Between the emotional highs and lows, Scott learns how even a nobody can be special to somebody.

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Nobody Special is an interesting read, especially for those that have read Whitten’s work before. Normally there is some sort of taboo involved, regardless of the book is contemporary or supernatural, and that is what sets it apart and makes it unique. However, Nobody Special is far more of what I dare to call a “mainstream” book, but that does not mean it suffers because of it.

Issues are tackled, from homophobia to racism, age gaps in relationships to control and even suicide. The difference is that Nobody Special does it in such a natural way that you can hardly tell you are dealing with some of the issues until either the characters make it obvious, or you reach the end of the book and realize, “Hey, that sure covered a lot of interesting points.” All of these concerns that are so prevalent in society today are looked at and examined, but while often there isn’t an incredible amount of detail so as not to take the focus away from the story, the book as a whole gets you thinking. I imagine that was Whitten’s goal, and if so she succeeded with flying colors.

As far as the main story goes, there are a few minor issues I had, mostly to do with some info dumps in the beginning, and a few sections that felt repetitive. Despite those small problems, the music aspects were great, the romances sweet as can be, and the entire thing had a feel of innocence and wonder about it. The main character, Scott, learns what it takes to step out of his comfort zone and anxieties and how to find self-worth and confidence. He learns that even minor achievements can be fulfilling and hard work really can get you very far, no matter what you end up pursuing as your goal.

Emily, the best friend (or at least one of them) in this story, is a fabulous character. She’s funny, a bit of a goof at times, and brilliant without being in your face about it. Emily was one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read about in some time, and incredibly easy to fall in love with. She’s a sweetheart with a backbone of steel, and what better combination is there than that?

Much of Nobody Special is introspective and serious, and certainly there are very grim moments in the story, but they are well balanced with witty dialogue and budding young friendships and romances. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good contemporary read. I think it would be categorized as YA based on the character’s ages, but adults will enjoy this title as well, I know I did. Thanks as always for reading.

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