Study Guide

Crank Family

By Ellen Hopkins


Take one aspiring novelist with a selfish streak, toss in an ultra-stern stepfather, mix in a lesbian daughter, a rebellious middle child, an oblivious stepson, and throw them all together in the 1990s, and you definitely don't get the Brady Bunch.

In Crank, Kristina's family is packed with drama—and that's even before her drug use arrives on the scene. These people have severe problems just talking to each other, and as a result, emotions and problems get pushed below the surface rather than dealt with directly. Perhaps if there's anything good that comes from Kristina's problems, it's that it forces her family to talk about her problems a bit, as well as the ones they've gone to great lengths to cover up.

Questions About Family

  1. Clearly, Kristina's dad is a creep. So why does she defend him against her mom? Why does she even want to go stay with him to begin with? Use the text for evidence.
  2. Describe Kristina's relationship with her mom. What repels her against wanting to tell her the truth about her drug use? What makes her want to tell her the truth?
  3. Is Marie a good mom? What are her strong points? What are her weak points? Turn to the text for support.
  4. How do you think Kristina's addiction will affect the way the family communicates in the future? Why? How will Hunter's presence change the dynamic in their household?

Chew on This

Kristina goes to Albuquerque not out of love for her dad, but as a passive aggressive action against her mom.

Marie doesn't directly address Kristina's apparent problems because it would mean acknowledging her failures as a wife and mother.

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