Study Guide

Crank Lies and Deceit

By Ellen Hopkins

Lies and Deceit

Bree? Who was she? And where did that name come from? I'd probably heard it once in my life!

Pretty name, Bree. Okay, good call. Confidence flooded our brain like hormones. (Bree? Who Was She?.1-2)

Since her relationship with the monster pretty much transforms Kristina into a new person, it's fitting that the first big lie she tells is calling herself Bree. The scary thing is that she doesn't even know where her urge to rename herself comes from. Perhaps meeting Adam is what sparks her desire to rebel against her parents and become someone different.

The monster stomped up and down my spine. Kristina? Buddy? You here? Adam looked at me and whispered, "Who's Kristina?" (I Didn't Want to Stop Either.4-5)

Oh, busted—and at the worst time possible, too. Nothing like having your identity lie come out just as you're about to make whoopee in the back room of the bowling alley.

The monster loves to talk. He jumps into your head and opens your mouth, making it spout your deepest, darkest deceptions. Making you say all the things you'd rather not say, at least in mixed company. (The monster Loves to Talk.1)

You know how most people pretty much go through life with a filter that lets us keep our negative and inappropriate comments to ourselves for the purpose of being socially acceptable? Forget about keeping up appearances and deceiving others when you're with the monster—all your deep, dark secrets just might be on display for everyone to see.

He did, huh? Your hard-bodied, dark-haired, dream boy did this? So then I had to tell her everything. Except I left out the part about the monster. (The Door Opened.4-5)

Kristina isn't exactly expecting Leigh to walk in on her and discover the secret of her tattoo from Adam, but it happens. Since you can't really lie your way around a homemade tattoo, she instead comes up with a more acceptable half-truth that leaves out the part about drugs.

Some guy named Adam called. At least I think his name was Adam. He also said Buddy? First he asked for Bree, then changed it to Kristina. Who's Bree? (On the Nightstand.4)

What's interesting about Adam and Kristina is that both of them have aliases that they're trying to keep people from discovering. Since he left both their names on the answering machine message, we can assume that Adam either doesn't take this stuff very seriously or that he was high when he called.

What could I tell her? How much did I dare? That is, if she ever gave me a chance to talk. How much did she really want to know? (The Phone, Still in My Hand, Rang.7-8)

When she gets home from her dad's, Kristina has the incredibly awkward experience of having her chatty, innocent best friend call and want to hear all about the trip. There's no easy way to say, "Oh, the trip was awesome, I did drugs and made out with this hot guy and almost had sex" to her goody good pal, so Kristina chooses to not say anything.

"Are you blind, Marie? You don't sleep like that unless you're crashing."

She's running a fever, Scott […] We had a long talk today. She swears the only thing she has ever tried is pot.

"Like your sweet little Kristina is above lying to you?" (Jerked Awake.2-4)

Kristina's mom's not blind; she just doesn't want to acknowledge that her daughter has a problem. We as readers know that Kristina's definitely not above lying to her parents—and Scott seems hip to this fact, too—but apparently it's also pretty easy for her mom to lie to herself about her daughter's behavior.

Do you realize it's after curfew?

I wanted to say something smart. What I said was, "Is it?"

Do your parents know you're out?

Parents? Couldn't involve them! "Th… they're out of town." (He Got Out of His Car.4-7)

Put in the awkward position of getting caught by the police when she sneaks out to see Chase, Kristina does what many a busted teen has done: She panics and starts crafting an imaginary scenario. She may not exactly be innocent anymore, but she's still innocent enough to think she can explain away her situation to the police.

If I told him my real name, they might call home anyway. "Uhhh…."

Tough question?

It never crossed my mind I couldn't get out without it.

You have to answer it sooner or later.

"Bree," I said. "Bree… Wagner." ("He Got Out of His Car" 10-14)

Congratulations, Kristina—you've graduated from lying about your name to hot guys at your dad's shady apartment complex to lying about your name to the cops. And when you're on your way to juvenile hall for breaking curfew, that's never a good thing.

I did slip once or twice. One tiny snort was all it took to satisfy desire so deep it snatched my breath away. But don't worry. I swear it was only a time or two. You won't tell, will you? (More Choices.7)

This has got to be one of the most chilling lines in the entire book. We really want to believe that after everything Kristina's been through, she wouldn't be stupid enough to continue snorting crank while she's pregnant. But there's something deceptive in her tone here. If Kristina lies to cops, we're pretty sure she isn't above lying to us as readers.

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