83 pages 2 hours read

Ellen Hopkins


Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | YA | Published in 2004

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Literary Devices

Novel in Verse

Content Warning: This section of the guide discusses drug use and substance use disorder, which feature in the source text.

Crank is written in broken or jagged free verse, with a single sentence enjambed over many lines. Each individual chapter is arranged as a separate poem, and line arrangements vary. The typeface is laid out in schematic diagrams that often mirror the theme of the chapter or present contrasting points of view. Sometimes lines in the same poem are aligned or justified differently to show the viewpoints of various characters or the internal struggles of a single character. By doing away with traditional prose structure, Hopkins zeroes in on the minute details of life with addiction and the ups and downs of Kristina’s emotions. The verse novel form is also more accessible to its young adult audience, being easy and compulsive to read. The syncopated structure and rhythm of the poems is also emblematic of the psyche of someone dealing with addiction.

Diction and Slang

The poem’s language encompasses evocative descriptions, cuss words, and terms specific to drug addiction. Kristina refers to meth as “crank” or “the monster,” but the terms “speed” and “ice” are also used.

Related Titles

By Ellen Hopkins