Study Guide

Brendan in Crank

By Ellen Hopkins

Brendan

The hunky lifeguard Kristina/Bree hits on at her dad's company picnic might look like a pretty nice guy, but then again, there's always that old saying about not judging people by their appearances. While he might look like the kind of guy a good girl like Kristina can bring home to Mom and Dad, there's a serious layer of darkness lurking under the surface. Unfortunately for Kristina, Brendan is her first lesson that a relationship with crank has serious costs, and we don't just mean financially.

There's no question that Brendan spends most of his time in the book totally playing Kristina, but we also think he can sense that underneath Bree's tough exterior, Kristina's really just a naïve little girl he can take advantage of. Kristina even seems to sense this when they sneak out for her final fling before school starts. "I suspected he might desert me, take off on a flirting binge" (Saturday Night.7), Kristina speculates. She knows in her gut, in other words, that he's doing what he wants—not the other way around.

The problems really start, though, when Brendan finds out that Kristina's a virgin. This gives him the leverage he needs to really take control of the situation. He even makes Kristina come off as a tease who has deliberately manipulated him rather than it being the other way around:

Brendan softened immediately, offered to forgive me if only I promised to let him be first. I wasn't sure what I needed forgiveness for but I said okay. (Paydirt!.1)

Brendan senses an opportunity in Kristina to use her for not only money and a good time partying, but for sex as well. It's like he can smell her desperation for to switch into the fast lane, and knows she doesn't have the experience or wherewithal to make good decisions. We can even see this in the drug deal between them that leads to Kristina losing her virginity (and getting pregnant)—Kristina quickly suspects in the aftermath that "Brendan had pilfered a bit" (Close to Empty.1) of the eighth of an ounce she bought.

Basically, Brendan is a thief in the most extreme terms possible. He steals Kristina's drugs, her virginity, and most significantly, changes her life forever by getting her pregnant. It's pretty satisfying when she calls him a rapist in public and later blackmails him into paying for her abortion.

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