Books by Leah Wilson

Released: May 1, 2009

This uneven collection of essays about Ellen Hopkins's Crank (2004) and Glass (2007) combines outside analysis with firsthand perspectives from the people behind the characters. The free-verse novels describe "Kristina's" (the novelized name of Hopkins' real daughter) spiral downwards into methamphetamine addiction. Here, a treatment expert and a judge with experience sentencing meth addicts provide frank, disquieting chapters about the brain damage that makes meth such a "monster." Several authors, conversely, contribute slapdash social analysis and weak literary criticism plagued by unfounded conclusions, straw men and an odd ignorance of young-adult literature (lauding Hopkins as unusual for addressing dark topics, for instance). A grating absence of documentation discourages intertextual follow-up: Crank and Glass quotations lack page numbers (and often line breaks, which kills the razor-sharp verse), while other sources lack traceable references. However, fans will flock to the essays by the real "Kristina," her stepfather, her sister and the son she bore while on meth (he's now 11). Hardly a model for budding literary critics, but the stronger chapters and 11 new verses from Hopkins will entice—and appropriately frighten—readers. (Nonfiction. YA)Read full book review >