by Ellen Hopkins

Overview - "When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival."

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all.  Read more...

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More About Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
"When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival."

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching...for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don't expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons.

Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story -- a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, "Can I ever feel okay about myself?"

A brilliant achievement from "New York Times" best-selling author Ellen Hopkins -- who has been called "the bestselling living poet in the country" by -- "Tricks" is a book that turns you on and repels you at the same time. Just like so much of life.

Author Biography: Ellen Hopkins has been writing poetry for years. Her first novel, "Crank", released in 2004 and quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation, garnering praise from teens and critics alike. Ellen's other bestselling novels include "Burned", " Impulse", " Glass", "Identical", "Tricks", and "Fallout", the highly anticipated finale to the "Crank "trilogy. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada.

  • ISBN-13: 9781416950073
  • ISBN-10: 1416950079
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publish Date: August 2009
  • Page Count: 640
  • Reading Level: Ages 14-UP
  • Dimensions: 7.21 x 5.43 x 1.98 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Adolescence
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Dating & Relationships

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 141.
  • Review Date: 2009-07-20
  • Reviewer: Staff

Hopkins again tackles a serious societal problem, this time focusing on teen prostitution. Fans of her work will recognize both her signature free verses and the gritty details she weaves within them. Newcomers, however, may be shocked by the graphic depictions of five struggling teens who find themselves turning tricks (one realizes her mother has sold her “for a good time” with a stranger, while another recounts “pretending to enjoy... deviant sex” to earn the trust of a guard at an ultra-strict religious rehabilitation camp). Some plotting seems clichéd, such as the story of a preacher's daughter from Idaho, whose mother banishes her to the Tears of Zion camp after catching her with her boyfriend. While each story unfolds slowly, readers will understand the protagonists' desperation as well as their complete powerlessness once their descents have begun. Each story is unique (one teen needs money, another was thrown out because of his sexuality, still another was simply looking for love from the wrong person); while readers may connect with some characters more than others, they will long remember each painful story. Ages 14–up. (Aug.)

BookPage Reviews

Five teens on a hellish journey

“Hell isn’t some fiery/ pit ‘down there.’ It’s right here on Earth, / in every dirty city, every yawning town. / Every glittery resort and every naked stretch / of desert where someone’s life somersaults / out of control.” So says 16-year-old Eden Streit, near the end of Tricks, a free-verse narrative that takes readers and five narrators on a journey straight to hell.

It’s Eden’s narrative that opens the story. Her father is a hellfire-and-brimstone minister, and when he discovers Eden’s relationship with a boy outside their congregation, Eden is sent away for “rehabilitation,” with disastrous results. Four other teenaged characters—Seth Parnell, Whitney Lang, Ginger Cordell and Cody Bennett—face crises that catapult them into journeys Cody describes as a “snowball roll toward hell.”

The five separate first-person narratives of these teens eventually come together among the walking dead of the sex trade in Las Vegas. An intense, utterly compulsive tale that readers may well read in one day-long binge, this is a disturbing look at teen prostitution, a big problem in the U.S., where, as Hopkins says in an author’s note, the average age of a female prostitute is 12 years old. In alternating sections, narrators tell their stories, each section opening with a poem that could stand alone in its poetic and reflective power.

Hopkins is a fine practitioner of the free-verse novel; her voices are distinct and put readers directly into the minds and hearts of her characters. These are five teens that readers will come to know and care about, and at the end of the novel, there is, indeed, some amount of hope as they continue down their difficult paths.

BAM Customer Reviews