What are you reading?
Monica: “Crank, by Ellen Hopkins, and Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous. Crank is about a girl who went from living a normal life, being a straight-A student, to being an every-day crystal-meth user. Just how her life pretty much transformed into this hell. It’s actually written from the mother’s point of view, so you see how the drug affected the girl’s family, what the meth made her do. She stole from her parents, from any person who was close to her, just so she could support her habit.
“Go Ask Alice was kind of about the same thing — a girl who went from being a straight-A student to being caught in this whole drug world. She started out trying to fit in at a party, and she tried speed, and from then on, she was just an every-day drug user. She went from speed to heroin and started doing all sorts of drugs. The book is actually the girl’s diary. She wrote it on, like, brown paper bags. She was living on the streets, doing special types of favors for drugs, and she started writing her everyday life. I think her diary starts when she’s 16 and ends when she’s 18 or 19. She actually died. At the end of the book, she writes that she’s going to go clean, and I think the parents write that she died two weeks later from a drug overdose. I’m really interested in those kinds of books; it’s just really interesting to see what happens.”
Sample from Go Ask Alice: “Oh please, Diary, help me to be strong and consistent. Help me to exercise every morning and night and clean my skin and eat right and be optimistic and agreeable and positive and cheerful. I want so much to be someone important, or even just asked out by a boy once in a while. Maybe the new me will be different.”
Danielle: I just finished Go Ask Alice. But the latest book I read was ttyl by Lauren Myracle. It’s basically written in IM form — though some of the IMs were whole paragraphs. It’s pretty much about these three girls who gossip about life and everything they’re going through. They disconnect because of gossip that’s going around, but they know that they’re such good friends that they’re going to stick together even though people are talking about other people and spreading lies. They still believe each other. I’m a pretty nosy person, so I enjoyed reading it because I felt like I was listening in.”
Sample from ttyl: “mad maddie: god, i’m already depressed just from watching everyone compare tans. SnowAngel: why did that depress u? ur brown as a berry. mad maddie: all day long there was far 2 much squealing and too much ‘ooo, u look fabulous!’ and ‘it’s so good to c u!’ SnowAngel: but why is that bad? mad maddie: cuz it’s so fake. All that clique stuff, i hate it. i hate feeling like everyone knows the secret handshake but me.”
Was there a part in one of these stories that was particularly moving?
Monica: “I think the turning point in Crank, where she went from being this good girl to being in this whirlwind. She tried meth because she was pressured by a guy she really liked. She thought maybe he would like her more. But I think the mom was my favorite character. She was relatable; I could understand where she was coming from.”
What book has been most life-changing for you?
Monica: “I think those two books I just read. They caution me to stay away from all of that. Especially Go Ask Alice, because it’s real. I see what it does to somebody.”
Danielle: “I think Go Ask Alice was pretty traumatizing — just the fact that it was true. And also, the people she surrounded herself with were negative. She tried to get sober, and one girl didn’t like her and put acid in her chocolate. She ended up in the hospital with scratches all over her. It makes me choose my friends well.”
Do you read any newspapers or magazines?
Danielle: “I love magazines. I read Star, Ok!, Cosmo, Seventeen. Sometimes I just look at the pictures; other times, I actually read the main articles if they seem interesting. It really depends on how much time I have on my hands.”
Monica: “I read Cosmo, People, Star, Ok!. Usually, I’m interested in articles that have to do with statistics — how many people are doing something this month. Following trends and fashion.”
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
Monica: “I talk to Danielle — she loves to read. Just chit-chat.”
[Note from Sonia: there is controversy over whether Go Ask Alice is nonfiction or fiction.]
Name: MONICA JAIME | Age: 18 | Occupation: JEWELRY STORE EMPLOYEE
Neighborhood: NORTH PARK | Where interviewed: FASHION VALLEY MALL
Name: DANIELLE GALLEGO | Age: 16 | Occupation: HOSTESS AT CHOCOLAT
Neighborhood: HILLCREST | Where interviewed: FASHION VALLEY MALL