Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Review: Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Paperback
Released: August 21st, 2007
Grade rating: A

Amazon summary:

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.


Glass is the fantastic sequel to Crank, and continues to chronicle a girl's downward spiral into the world of drugs and addiction. Surprisingly, I preferred it to Crank, and I think that's largely due to Hopkins evolving as a writer. It resonated with me more as a reader, and I loved getting an opportunity to spend more time with Kristina and her family.

As was the case with Crank, Glass is not an easy or pleasant story to get through. It can, at times, be very difficult to read, especially as Kristina finds herself once again addicted to the monster. No amount of family advice or help can put her back on the right path, and this becomes apparent when she all but ceases to care for her own child.

I did find myself liking new boy Trey, and whether that's a good thing or bad, I don't know. He's an incredibly flawed character, and is in no way the person Kristina needs at that point in her life. There's never any doubt that he's a bad influence, though he does seem to be a strangely good fit for her. He at least tries to be supportive, and I believe his heart is in the right place. It's just a shame he can't kick crank and, in doing so, show Kristina that it is possible.

This series, along with Hopkins' verse writing, absolutely fascinates me. For me, it's a voyeuristic look into the lives of teenagers who desperately need help, but who can't stay away from drugs long enough to get it. Their stories are hard-hitting and important, and they should be a permanent fixture on school library shelves everywhere. If ever there was an author or a series of books with the power to educate teens on the ramifications of substance abuse, it would be Ellen Hopkins and the Crank series. I just hope these books continue to get the respect they deserve, as they really do have the ability to help and change lives.


Melissa said...

Ooooh I've heard these books are good! Great review! :)

Becky said...

I can uunderstand why these books to hard to read at times and that is as it should be. Any story about drugs should be hard hitting but I just cannot brave such confronting themes. I should change my blog to Diary of a Wimpy Reader LOL. Great review.

Clover said...

I haven't read Crank yet, but it's on my wish list! I didn't realise there was a sequel as well..

Luisa at Chicklish said...

It sounds so powerful - thanks for the amazing review. I love verse novels and I should definitely read this some time. (Becky, I'm with you on this a lot of the time - and I love "Diary of a Wimpy Reader"!)

Ellen Hopkins said...

Thanks so much! I think I'm growing as a writer myself and am happy you think so, too!

Shweta said...

I haven't read these book but will definitely look out for them.I agree it is really difficult to read books on these subjects , they drain the reader emotionally. But that has never stopped me from picking such books . Great review

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

This sounds so fantastic but there's something that just stops me from wanting to read Ellen Hopkins' books. I don't know why!

Lauren said...

I keep telling myself I need to read some Ellen Hopkins, but then the seriousness of her material stops me in my tracks. Then I read a review like this and I realise I need to bite the bullet while it's fresh in my mind! Thanks Jenny.

Anonymous said...

i love this book!!!! i think its amazing i am in middle school and i read her books in 3 days or less if you havent read her books read burned!!!

Anonymous said...

Ellen Hopkins is a truly gifted writer. This book speaks to me in a way no other book ever has. I've grown to love and care about the characters...cant wait to read fallout

Anonymous said...

Great Review!!

Beri said...

Glass by Ellen Hopkins is a sequel to Crank by Ellen Hopkins, both focusing on the struggles as an addict and how important it is to know who you are. A huge theme of the book is the importance of surrounding yourself with people that are of good influence in order to stay the person you want to be.
The plot and the dialogue of this book have the most effect of the quality of the book. The plot is riveting, and somewhat shocking. It is surprising to read the disturbing details of this story as Kristina fights the monster, Crank, once again. Not a lot of people know what it is like to live as an addict, which is why it is of most interest. It is of human nature to be curious about world’s that are not understood. As for the dialogue, a unique characteristic of this book is that it is written completely in poem. So, majority of the book is dialogue, if you count Kristina’s thoughts. This helps keep the book as deep as possible. As a reader, you get direct contact and insight on the exact feelings of the main character. Every thought that comes to Kristina’s mind is at hand for the reader to help get a better understanding of her feelings. This helps clarify the book especially when it’s written on such a complicated and intense topic.
The review I read, written by Jenny on 8-21-07 from, really hits every important part of the book. However, I disagree with one thing. In the book, Kristina finds a new boy that she falls in love with. His name is Trey and he takes on the role as supporter, lover, and want-to-be father. In the review, Jenny talks about Trey as a good fit for Kristina, because he is supportive nice to her. However, I disagree. When I think of a good-fit for people, there are more factors. I would think of that significant other as a good influence as well, while Trey was not. He encouraged Kristina to do the same bad things he did and I do not think that is a good person for Kristina. She needed someone clean that would encourage her to be sober.
The writing style Ellen Hopkins has, which I have mentioned before, is definitely interesting. She writes in poem, for example, “Puke. Puke. Puke. / Smile that girl-/ on-girl smile for your/ cheerleader. But don’t/ don’t ask her permission to leave/ leave the frigging room!” (Hopkins 173). I enjoy this because it keeps the book interesting. At first, it may be hard to get used to. You have to learn to read poems and follow a story as fluently as a regular book. Once you get used to it though, it is very interesting and fun to read. I like the way the words flowed in my head as I read, it gives the story a completely new dimension, and the book it’s own personality.
I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone. Not only does the combination of a unique writing style and unique story keep things interesting, but also the story in itself is a great lesson. More people need to read stories as horrifyingly real and truthful as this one. It opens your mind into a completely new world you would never imagine. You learn to grow some empathy for people in Kristina’s position.

Anonymous said...

THE MOST AMAZING SERIES I HAVE EVER READ!!!! I absolutely loved this book and I'm only in 7th grade!!!!!!!!!