Bibliographic information: Crank. Ellen Hopkins. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004. $11.99. 537p. ISBN-13: 9780689865190.
Summary: Katrina is a normal kid who never does anything. She is practically the model child. Her parents didn’t stay together very long and she doesn’t know her father at all, other than what her mom has told her: that he is a ne’er-do-well father. Katrina is finally able to convince her mom that she is old enough to visit her father and get to know him. So during spring break she goes, and that is when she is introduced to the Monster.
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 8 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: This shockingly realistic book is uniquely written in verse the entire way through. If you didn’t like poetry before reading this book, you just might be hooked on it after reading this book. Hopkins writes real-life situations and doesn’t hold back, using all the nitty-gritty details and none of the fluff. She tells it like it is. Her characters are real and easy to relate to. They speak to young readers who are struggling with the same situations. Highly recommended to all. Parents and teachers should be reading her books as well as teens.
Readers’ annotation: Her life was fine, if a bit boring, until she met the Monster. The Monster changed her life.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: The drug use and struggle that Katrina goes through will speak to teens who are going through the same situation or has a friend who is going through the same situation. This book will show these teens that they are not the only ones going through a difficult situation and there are ways to get past it and move on with life. Reading this book might encourage others to seek help with their problems.
Issues present: They book lays heavy emphasis on drug use and some people might be against the impressions this could potentially make on teens. Although, generally when a teens goes to read a book like this, they are not trying to get ideas on how to live their lives, they are trying to get idea’s on how to cope with the issues in their lives. This book could potentially save a teens life.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Katrina’s character.
P. 1 – defines the plot, simply.
Talk about drug addictions.
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction: drug addiction
Readalikes: Other Hopkins books, Go Ask Alice, Cut, Smack
Author’s website: http://ellenhopkins.com/
Awards: Abraham Lincoln Award (2009)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Crank-Ellen-Hopkins/pid=232295; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-20174758442494.xml; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-689-86519-0; Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ellen-hopkins/crank/
Why I chose it: I have always been a bit curious about Hopkins work and find her writing style intriguing so thought I would give it a try.
Bibliographic information: Hope in Patience. Beth Fehlbaum. West Side Books, 2010. $16.95. 312p. ISBN-13: 978-1934813416.
Summary: Ashley used to live with her mother and her stepfather. For years now, since she was nine years old, her stepfather has been sexually abusing Ashley to the point were she is frighten to go home or go to bed at night. Things have gone too far one day when Charlie raped Ashley and a teacher from school found out. Child Protective Services stepped in and now she is living with her father and trying to start a new life. Except that is a very hard thing to do. Especially when her mother and stepfather show up and try to get her to come back home with them, resulting in Charlie breaking Ashley’s arm. But she starts to make new friends at school who are nice and understanding of her situation. She is going to a therapist who is helping her understand that it’s not her fault for the way her stepfather acted. And she is starting to understand what it is like to have a real family that loves her. Things are starting to turn around, but there is still the kids at school who know what happened to her and look at her funny in the halls.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 14 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: This is beautifully written novel about the psychological stress and trauma of being sexually abused. This is the follow-up sequel to the compelling Courage in Patience. Fehlbaum writes with experience and heart that makes the reader feel for the character. This is a tough topic to discuss let alone write a whole trilogy about, but Fehlbaum did a fabulous job of making the reader understand the magnitude of sexual abuse and the amount of psychological damage it could wreck on someone. It is important to have friends and family there to support you during recovery from such an event. She also touches on gay relationships a little, putting a positive light on the subject. It could be met with hostility, but as long as you have a friend who supports you, life will be a bit better.
Readers’ annotation: What do you do when you are trapped in a mental cage of terror so frightening it leaves you paralyzed? Ashley is trying will all of her might to find a way out of that cage.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: Child abuse is a heavy topic, but Beth does a great job writing about Ashley’s struggles to forget what happened to her and get past her pain. This book has some great methods for children who have to live with being an abuse child so that if there are children out there struggling they can read this book and be able to gain some relief from their pain and seek help from supportive friends.
Issues present: This book covers some heavy issue with child abuse and sexual abuse. It has curse words and briefly covers GLBTQ material in a positive light. However, this book shows that with the right kind of people in your life you can get past your pain and move on in life.
Booktalk ideas: Pg 1. when Ashley is dreaming – shows her struggle to forget.
Introduce Ashley’s character
Talk about psychological abuse of being molested
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction: child abuse
Readalikes: Living Dead Girl, Boy Toy, Teach Me, Courage in Patience, Truth in Patience, Speak
Author’s website: http://www.bethfehlbaumbooks.com/
Awards: YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers (2011)
Reviews: School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-79859266369316.xml ; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Hope-in-Patience-Beth-Fehlbaum/pid=4457792
Why I chose it: I liked how Beth took truths from her life and put them into a fictional story. She writes with heart and experience.