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Literature / Crank Trilogy

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Crank, Glass, and Fallout are a trilogy of verse novels by Ellen Hopkins. The first two novels, Crank and Glass, center on teenager Kristina Snow, who develops an addiction to methamphetamine that quickly takes control of her life. The third novel, Fallout, focuses on Kristina's three oldest children, all of whom have grown up without their biological mother and struggle with their own issues as a result of their mother's addiction and abandonment of them.

The series is loosely based on the experiences of Hopkins' own daughter, Cristal, and her own struggle with methamphetamine addiction.

Not related to the film Crank.


These books provide examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: A companion book to Crank and Glass called Flirtin’ with the Monster features a collection of essays on the series, as well as a series of essays from Hopkins and her family discussing the real-life events that inspired the series.
    • Fallout contains a family tree that reveals a few details not otherwise revealed in the story, like the name of Summer's father and the surname of Ron, Donald, and David.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Jake to Kristina in Crank and Glass. Donald and David are this to Hunter occasionally in Fallout.
  • Attempted Rape: Happens to Autumn at her Aunt Cora’s wedding. It gets interrupted by Trey.
  • Author Avatar: Kristina’s mother, Marie, is one for Hopkins. Especially so in Fallout, when Marie has become a successful novelist who has written a series of popular verse novels based on Kristina’s meth addiction.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Autumn.
  • The Baby Trap: Autumn deliberately does not mention birth control to Bryce, believing that he will never leave her if she ends up pregnant. To be fair, Bryce never brings it up either.
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  • Based on a True Story: The trilogy is based on Hopkins’ real-life daughter, Cristal, and her addiction to methamphetamine.
  • Blood Oath: At her birthday party in Crank, Kristina gets high on ecstasy and ends up making some kind of blood pact with some other people there.
  • Broken Bird: Summer.
  • Bungled Suicide: Lince in Crank. She lives, but ends up having to relearn to walk and talk and such.
  • Bus Crash: One of Trey's nieces is murdered between Glass and Fallout.
  • Child by Rape: Hunter is the product of Brendan raping Kristina.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Kristina smokes tobacco throughout Crank. She gives up the habit during her pregnancy with Hunter, but picks it up again a few months after his birth. At one point it's that Kristina smoked the whole time she was pregnant with Summer.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Summer gets shuffled through several foster homes after her grandparents die, and is molested in one of them.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kristina’s parents divorced when she was young; her father lives in New Mexico. Trey is this to Autumn in Fallout; he has been in prison since she was nine and is about to be released when the novel begins.
  • Domestic Abuse: Ron, the father of Kristina's two youngest children.
  • Downer Ending: Glass ends with Kristina and Trey in jail, facing the opportunity to reduce their sentences by turning in their dealer, which would likely put their lives in danger. Plus Kristina is pregnant and has been using meth regularly the entire time. We find out in Fallout that Autumn, the baby from that pregnancy, turned out physically healthy if a bit bogged down with OCD, and Kristina and Trey took the deal to reduce their sentences, but while Trey was more than happy to eventually get clean, Kristina never managed to completely shake her addiction.
  • Driven to Suicide: It's implied that the "accident" that killed Kyle's mother was actually this.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Subverted in Crank and Glass, played straight in Fallout.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Autumn has a hard time making friends.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Summer and Kyle at first, not that it stops them. Summer later compares herself to Kristina on this basis, after learning that she herself was conceived when her mother slept with one of Trey's friends, which later broke up the friendship.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: In the six months between Crank and Glass, Chase manages to meet a new girlfriend, elope with her, and get her pregnant, and enough time has apparently passed for the pregnancy to be visible. They finally divorce in Fallout, nearly twenty years later.
  • Functional Addict: Kristina really wants to be this, but it never happens. Brad might be a closer example, given his insistence on keeping his dealing a secret from his daughters.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: At the end of Crank, Kristina is all set to abort her child and even blackmails Brendan into coughing up the money for the procedure, but ends up unable to go through with it.
  • Happily Adopted: Hunter. At the end of Fallout it’s said that all five of Kristina’s children now live with Marie.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Jake is married to his high school girlfriend.
  • Idiot Ball: In Fallout, Autumn and Bryce jump into a sexual relationship without even considering the possibility of using birth control. Small wonder that by the end of the novel, Autumn is heavily implied to be pregnant—but even worse, she’s actually happy about it because she thinks it will keep Bryce from leaving her, despite having no prior evidence that Bryce was even thinking about breaking up with her.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Leigh.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: By Fallout, Kristina has five children. The ending states that they have all been adopted by Marie.
  • Missing Mom: Kristina is this to her three oldest children, and occasionally to her two youngest as well.
  • One-Word Title: All three books.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kristina's father was hardly around at all after divorcing her mother and doesn't see his children very much; on the occasions when he does come back into Kristina's life, things go very wrong very quickly. He doesn't seem to have gotten back in touch with Leigh at all; when he visits in Glass, he actually gets her name wrong, and in Fallout she admits to Hunter that she doesn't really feel the need to mourn him when he has a heart attack that he's unlikely to recover from.
  • Rape as Backstory: Summer was molested by one of her father’s girlfriends when she was 3, and later raped by one of her foster parents.
  • Rape as Drama: Kristina loses her virginity to Brendan’s rape in Crank, and she ends up giving birth to Hunter as a result.
  • Really Gets Around: Kristina starts developing this in Glass and shows it more in Fallout.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Well, it does exist, but it certainly doesn't do poor Summer any good.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Kristina in Crank. Later implied with Autumn in Fallout.
  • Theme Naming: Autumn and Summer.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Kristina.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Inverted in Crank; the plot kicks off when Kristina pays a court-ordered visit to her father. Played straight in Glass when he comes to visit Kristina and Hunter with his girlfriend Linda Sue in tow. A tragic inversion occurs in Fallout, when Leigh and Kristina go to visit their father on what is expected to be his deathbed.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Fallout occasionally breaks up the action with newspaper articles that serve as epilogues for characters from the previous two books, like Trey's nieces and Robyn. Almost none of the side characters really get a happy ending.
  • Your Cheating Heart: By Fallout, this has become a habit for Kristina. It’s shared by her son Hunter and her daughter Summer.
    • This is also why Chase and his wife Amanda eventually divorce in Fallout.


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