Book Review: Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Here's the problem that I have with every one of the Ellen Hopkins books I've read: I take on the feelings of the main character. I'm sure that this is considered a wonderful thing, right? An author who can make you identify with the main character so much that you forget that you are not, in fact, a meth addict? I picked up this book before bed one night last week and finished it the next day. Kinda like the main character of this book whenever she scored a large quantity of crank.

Glass is the second book in the Crank series. If you're not familiar with Ellen Hopkins's books or writing, then you probably don't know that she writes entirely in verse, that her books are pretty thick, and that she takes on serious social issues and does not hold back in her narrative.

In Glass, Kristina is back in Reno and living with her mother, stepfather, and her infant son, Hunter.  She has been off of drugs for the duration of her pregnancy, but is feeling a sort of postpartum depression. Of course, her alter ego and cravings for what she calls "the monster" kick in and it's not long before Kristina is letting her alter ego Bree and the monster control her life once again.

With drugs come bad boys. And it isn't long before Kristina in entangled with some of the baddest boys in Nevada. With her baby son at home and her mother and stepfather getting more and more worried and angry at her lack of responsibility, the pressure for Kristina to leave the monster grows, but so does her reliance on it. The question is, as I'm sure it is with every drug user: How far does Kristina need to fall before she hits bottom? And, will this fall serve as a wake up or will it kill her?

In each of the Crank books, Ms. Hopkins has offered a little blurb about the fact that her daughter's drug use and the influence that has on her writing. And, though I've never used methamphetamine, I'm sure that Hopkins is accurate in her description of the wonderful highs and the horrific lows it brings. I could not help but feel Kristina's pain and sadness and confusion and her want to be a good mother and a responsible daughter. I'll not say how this book ends, but there is a third book in this series, so the story is not completely over with.

I try to keep a stock of Hokpins's books on my free reading shelves for students. Always, they are checked out within minutes and are devoured by students. I know that they books are gritty and real, but some students need to hear about the all-too-real reality of what can happen when you lose yourself to drugs or a relationship.

This binge reading event will take a while to leave my system, but I hope to be clean and sober enough to pick up Fallout, the third book in the series, when it comes out in September.