Study Guide

Crank Exploration

By Ellen Hopkins

Exploration

That guy was really something—a rebel and worse. In a day when it was supposed to be okay to experiment that way. No condoms, just good, gay fun. We know better now. (Light-Headed.4)

Kristina's reflection on Freddie Mercury's sexual behavior might clue her in about the dangers that come with sexual experimentation and exploration, but that part doesn't seem to register for her. She may say that we "know better," but clearly isn't applying this observation to her own rebellion.

Have you ever tried smoking it? She was the first to even suggest it. Robyn the Reno High cheerleader proceeded to show me a whole new way to get down with the monster. (Timing is Everything.6)

As if being introduced to snorting crank isn't bad enough, Kristina's connection with shady characters like Robyn only further her exploration of drugs by providing her with new ways to use them. Moral of the story? Cheerleaders aren't always good girls.

I meant to analyze Chase's limits that very weekend, to learn just how far I could stretch him at the edges, to judge how wide I might warp his self-imposed morality. Don't ask me why I felt the incredible need to test this person that meant so very much to me. (I Meant.1-5)

Kristina's experimentation with drugs actually extends to manipulating and testing Chase. We're not totally clear on her motivations behind this. Is she trying to get him to violate his "limits" so he can get as far gone as she likes to be? Is she trying to break him? Either way, there's something really dysfunctional about wanting to "test" him this way.

Wanna give 'em a show? Have you ever kissed a girl?

The only girls I'd kissed were relatives and only lip-to-cheek. Lip locking another female? Never! And in public? No way.

Come on. It's just for fun. Promise not to slip you the tongue. (Robyn Was Game.4-6)

Sexual exploration and drug use combine to form a truly awkward moment when Kristina agrees to kiss Robyn in front of spectators at the air show. Clearly Kristina's looking for more ways to explore outside the boundaries of her good girl persona.

He did things to me—terrible things, I've still got the scars—things no sane person would ever do. Of course, he wasn't exactly sane. Afterward, neither was I. (Robyn Wanted the Whole Story.8)

Robyn's terrible experience with the drug dealer she tracks down at the casino is a cautionary tale of drug experimentation gone bad. While she may have gotten in the car with the intention of scoring crank, she left with much more than she bargained for.

The most incredible place I'd ever been was right inside of me. If I left, I might never find it again, and so I refused to sink down, to close the door, to rebuild the wall. When someone offered a second dose of birthday E, I said, "Absolutely." (I Was Aglow.3-5)

At Kristina's seventeenth birthday celebration, our girl truly goes overboard with her exploration of drugs by taking ecstasy in addition to her usual dose of the monster. This is all kinds of dangerous and could have turned out extremely badly for her. Fortunately, the story doesn't end the way it could have—a.k.a. with Kristina overdosing.

They say people who die from ecstasy die from overheating.

Adding speed to the mix accelerates the process because it makes you want to dance until the sun comes up. (Elevation.1-2)

Just in case you were curious about the science that often causes drug exploration to go bad, Kristina gives us a little background information that really just ends up making us even more afraid for her.

A sudden wave of exhaustion swallowed me. I'd walked through the last few days in a total haze. My system had finally purged itself of "go fast." It was time to shut down. (Back in My Room.5)

The problem with playing it fast and loose with drugs is that eventually your body has enough and decides to quit. With that, the party's over. Evidently, Kristina's reached the point here where even if she wants to keep going, her system is just kind of done. It's time for some rest.

Lucinda had given me all I needed to know—her name, her brother's name, and these very scary words: La Eme, "Eme" meaning M, for Mexican Mafia. (By Wednesday.1)

Pro tip: When hitting up the Mafia is next on your to-do list, it's probably time to quit exploring the terrain and turn your attention elsewhere.

My ultrasound—seeing a heart beating strong inside me. Having my doctor inform me that my baby was all in one piece, then suggest I shop "blue." (Highs.3)

While being pregnant at seventeen is likely to have lots of challenges that come with it, it provides the wakeup call Kristina needs to abandon her life of dangerous experimentation. Now it's time to explore getting her act together for her kid.

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