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Tricks

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

37 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Eden, Ginger, Cody, Seth, and Whitney are teens whose life circumstances have taken them to an increasingly common yet horrible place. Simple survival is their motivation for selling sex for money.

Eden never thought about sex. Raised by a fire-and-brimstone father a...
Eden, Ginger, Cody, Seth, and Whitney are teens whose life circumstances have taken them to an increasingly common yet horrible place. Simple survival is their motivation for selling sex for money.

Eden never thought about sex. Raised by a fire-and-brimstone father and mother meant hours in a church pew, not on dates and at parties. Meeting Andrew changed her life. He was just as innocent as she was, so the two learned about love together. It was real and special until her parents found out. She was sent away to a terrible place, and she did what she had to in order to escape.

Ginger's life was always filled with sex. Her mother had six kids by five different guys, and her attempt to keep food on the table involved any man looking for what she was willing to sell. Thank goodness for a grandmother willing to take them in and do what she could to provide for them. Ginger vowed to be different, but when her mother began to use her for profit, it was time to leave. But making a change from what you've always known is not as easy as it seems.

Life for Cody and his brother, Cory, improved when their mother married Jack. Jack was great at filling the role of dad, and Cody appreciated it. Cory may have been rebelling, but Cody did his best to be a responsible son and step-son. Then cancer struck and Jack was gone. Things got crazy when there wasn't enough money. Gambling might provide the answer, but he needed a supply of cash to make money that way, forcing him in directions he knew were dangerous.

Seth and his dad survived the death of a mother and wife. Their simple Indiana farm life continued on without her; however, that simple life didn't welcome the fact that Seth had known for quite some time that he was gay. He actually lived two separate lives - the farm life his father assumed he would continue, and the new life he had found in Louisville. As long as he could keep the two lives separate, he could make everyone happy. When a letter caused the two to collide, Seth learned that his father could not accept the truth, so he was forced to leave. A man named Carl made an offer Seth couldn't refuse, but so often those offers don't last forever.

Whitney is popular and beautiful. She is used to having the things she wants but not always the attention she desires. Her doting father is gone a lot on business, which leaves her with a busy mother whose focus has always been on her older daughter. Hooking up with a popular guy gives Whitney a reason to carry on, but when that relationship ends, she is left with anger. That anger drives her in a rebellious direction that she will soon regret.

Ellen Hopkins takes her readers on yet another dangerous journey into lives that have gone wrong. The focus is on the increasingly current trend of teenagers forced into selling themselves to survive. Whether it is out-and-out prostitution or the thinly disguised "escort" services, more and more teens are involved in sex for money.

The five young people in TRICKS all have very different reasons for getting caught up in this destructive lifestyle, and Hopkins paints a stirring and vivid picture of each of their paths into this terrible world. TRICKS is hard-hitting and disturbingly direct as it details the downward spiral of five lives.

Fans of Ellen Hopkins are no doubt anxiously awaiting this new release. One word of caution from this reviewer is that this direct approach to a serious subject is best suited for older teens.

posted by TeensReadToo on July 1, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

W-O-W

this book is good but scary at the same time. it's sad to think this actually happens to teens. read if u have a strong stomach. very emotional...

posted by 2302820 on November 30, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Best of Ellen yet!

    Its an amazing book! I loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    :)

    This book was amazing, like the others. It took a little while to get acustom with the more than one charactor thing and just randomely changing between them. But all in all I loved this book and really love the author




    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2014

    Makes you sad a little knowing this is how people's lives truly

    Makes you sad a little knowing this is how people's lives truly are. Kind of gives you a reality check.

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  • Posted January 22, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Adara Young Tricks By: Ellen Hopkins Tricks Written by: Ellen Ho

    Adara Young
    Tricks By: Ellen Hopkins
    Tricks Written by: Ellen Hopkins
    Tricks by Ellen Hopkins is one of her many “verse novels” exposing teenage struggles such as drug addiction, mental illness, and prostitution. Tricks are about 5 different characters named Eden, Seth, Whitney, Ginger, and Cody. These characters all undergo some type of drug addiction; some pass through while others are captivated by these harmful drugs and end up in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eden leaves a controlling preachers household; Cody distracts himself from a family illness by gambling and sex; Whitney gives up her body in exchange for the love she so desperately needs; Seth has struggles defining himself as homosexual; and Ginger comes to terms with the awful truth about her neglectful mother. This book can sometimes be confusing because there are 5 different narratives being told and in the end they mostly intertwine together. She also writes in a poetic type of style using italics to point out key parts in the story. She uses free verse which reveals strands of emotion and quick glances at physical details. But, the first-person voices do blur, but because the stories are so distinct and unmistakable, it doesn’t matter. This story doesn’t have much suspense but it is definitely a nail biter and will leave you on the edge of your seat. She uses a couple of literary devices such as flashback, foreshadowing, dramatic irony, and imagery. Tricks by Ellen Hopkins is fiction. But the things that happen in the story can easily happen to anybody, such as becoming addicted to drugs, death, prostitution or running away from home. In this book the characters all have their own set of problems; Eden is a sixteen-year-old girl, lives in a conservative and religious family since her father is a local preacher. Seth is a “good-looking” seventeen-year-old boy, who deals with defining his sexuality and experiencing break-ups and trading sex for a home. Whitney is a fifteen-year-old girl lives in the shadows of her older sister and deals with being addicted to drugs and searching for affection. Ginger is a sixteen-year-old girl, lives with her five siblings, mother, and grandmother who raises them. Cody is one of the protagonists of the story, has to deal with taking care of his family after his step-father dies. The setting is mainly in small towns near Nevada and ends up in Las Vegas, Nevada with everyone either prostituting or strung on drugs and the males being in male escorting services. This book is similar to crank because it has the same type of writing format and has to deal with a family problem affecting the main character for life and causing bad dramatic things to happen. This book was very good and I liked it and I think if your into young adult books involving drugs, sex, and life scandals I would suggest reading this book and many others by Ellen Hopkins.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Simply amazing.

    No words can explain how i love this book. Finished in two days

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Not for sensitive hearts

    Overall i thought this has a great book, but i made me cry a lot. For people how want to read stories about struggls with happy endings this book is not for you. This book was about 5 five different kids trying to find there way in the world each had their own family and relationship problems that they had to work through. But their stories couldnt be more different. It a great book its emotional and some ttimes tragic but once you start reading you never want to put the book down.

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  • Posted December 17, 2011

    It could have had a better ending.

    I think it could have had a better ending if there weren't so many stories in there. I think there were 5, and there really should have only been 3 max so that they're stories could have been told more thoroughly.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Close, but no cigar

    I enjoyed reading it, but for some reason, I wasn't loving it by the end. It took FOREVER for the 5 individual stories to interact; it's like the book was 2/3 introduction. By the time they caught up with each other, there wasn't much time for the stories to entangle, so the shared setting became more monotonous than harmonious. Also, I feel Hopkins missed an opportunity to use an approach that's different-than-expected for her gay character; it felt more like "this is the gay one, so I'll introduce him as being in an separate gay world." I'm not saying it's a bad book! I always love Hopkins' poetic style of writing... I would just suggest reading "Impulse" instead, it's probably her best work.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    This is another great book from Ms. Hopkins that left me speechless. Not only did it give me a whole new insight, but it gave something new to think about. I never thought that sex trafficking as a big deal. After reading this book, I now realize that this is not talk about enough.

    As always, this book I recommend for ages 18+. If you are a mature reader, then you can read this. While this book is not meant to be pretty, Ms. Hopkins really gets into the gist of things, not hiding anything. I love that Ms. Hopkins wrote this book fully, not holding anything back. She stories that she tells from different point of views will make you cringe as well as fight for these people.

    I also liked how Ms. Hopkins gave a variety of characters, so the reader sees everything. After reading this book, I just wanted to cry. My heart ached so much! All of the different stories in this book happened every day in America right under our noses. It makes me angry and sad that not everyone can get the help that they need.

    If you really want know, I mean REALLY want to know what sex trafficking is like, read this book. You feel the characters hurt, anger, rage, at what is happening to them. You as the reader feel helpless and powerless to stop it. You must read this book in order to know what I am talking about.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Least favorite

    I honestly barely made it through this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Best book by Hopkins yet!

    Such an amazing story of the worst possible subject.

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  • Posted December 9, 2010

    Amazing. page turning book

    This book was absolutely amazing and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. It really opens your mind to the actual problems that teens everywhere may go through. It is about five completely different teenagers from all across the country, who experience the exact same hardships. Despite the fact that some are poor, rich, gay or straight, all of them begin to develop the same type of lifestyle. Written in poetic format, it tells the story of how powerful the word "love" actually is. All five teens resort to prostitution and drug use in order to find that missing peice in their lives. Whether it be lack of family or friends, all five teens eventually find out what love actually is, in all the wrong ways. While reading this book I found myself becoming lost in it and picturing myself in every character's shoe. Even if you know about the effects of prostitution and drugs, it really opens your eyes completely by allowing you to walk through the different characters' lives. When all five teens have no other choice but to sell their bodies, and use drugs to cope with the pain, they slowly begin to realize that life isn't truly what it is made out to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    well-written

    I have read all of Ellen Hopkins' books and have loved all of them and how controversial and raw they are. Tricks is a good addition to her other books, but not my favorite.
    I found myself often confused as to which character was which. Five was almost too much. Hopkins knows how to get into your head though. I think the stories of the five were a little out there. They are supposed to be reasons to why a person would sell themself to live, but the situations are very strange and far-fetched. It is worth reading however.
    The end came together well, but I felt like she ran out of things and just ended it to your imagination. I still recommend it.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another side

    If you ever wondered how people get to the point to do what they do, this gives you an insight into the lives of young men and women drawn into selling their bodies. The topic is interesting and the lives of these people are all unique making into an exciting book. Oh an this book is written a unique prose form that will keep you flipping the pages. Give it s a try...

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    WOW! Tricks :)

    Tricks is a fantastic book to read. This author (Ellen Hopkins) did a wonderful job in wording the book and describing the characters.The book is about five different teenagers who come from different places and cultures, and they all end up in Californina doing prostitution. Some need money, sex, drugs, or for somebody to love them and take care of them. I would definitely recommend it for ages 13 and up for sure. This book sucked me into it and would not let me out until I finished it. I wish it never ended. You will also fall in love with it because it teaches you the downside to drugs, sex, and prostitution.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    13 y/o daughter loved

    This book brought questions to light for my daughter allowing us to talk about them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

    Amazing

    Tricks is an amazing story about five teens going through really tough times in their life, and what happens when they feel they have no other choices left. I absolutely LOVED this book, and if you are a major fan of Ellen Hopkins books then I really recommend you read this.It was incredible like all her books.

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  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Yet Another Fantastic Book by Hopkins!

    Tricks is yet another fast paced and heartbreaking read from Ellen Hopkins that will leave you saying "Wow, what if that happened to me?" at the end.

    From the start, you become engrossed in the teens tragic lives with Hopkins prose. At first, I thought it may be a bit hard to follow all five teens lives, though with great character development, each character becomes imprinted in your head by the end. You feel their fears, sadness, hate for the life they have been given, and the happiness they crave for. Throughout Tricks, I was constantly cheering for them to overcome teen prostitution and their demons. So that they could get they desired most: a stable life filled with love.

    The plot was intense and well crafted. I was always at the edge of my seat because of the drama and plot twists, I didn't see coming. Plus, I love how Ellen Hopkins isn't one to shy away from scary situations. Since, she always give you the real look at a hard hitting issues with out making it a overdone or a fairy tale that always has a happy ending.

    Overall, Tricks is a fantastic and thrilling read that I suggest to older teens who are looking for a great end of summer read. I truly look forward to seeing what issue Hopkins chooses to deal with next.

    Grade: A

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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