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Tricks Hardcover – August 25, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Five teens desperately seek to find their way through the darkness in Hopkins's latest epic novel in verse. Eden flees an evangelical household; Cody blocks out a family illness with gambling and sex; Whitney gives up her body in exchange for the love she finds so elusive; Seth struggles to define himself as a homosexual; and Ginger comes to terms with an awful truth about her neglectful mother. Burden after burden piles on the teens' shoulders until they resort to the unthinkable in order to survive. As they near rock bottom, their narratives begin to intersect. It is only when their paths converge that a glimmer of redemption appears out of the hopelessness. From the punch delivered by the title, to the teens' raw voices, to the visual impact of the free verse, Hopkins once again produces a graphic, intense tale that will speak to mature teens.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT END

About the Author

Ellen Hopkinsis the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven young adult novels, including Smoke and Rumble, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she has founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative. Visit her at EllenHopkins.com and on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at @EllenHopkinsYA. For more information on Ventana Sierra, go to VentanaSierra.org.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416950079
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416950073
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I was adopted at birth and raised by a great, loving older couple. I grew up in Palm Springs CA, although we summered in Napa and Lake Tahoe, to avoid those 120 degree summers. After my adopted parents died, I did find my birth mother, who lives in Michigan with my half sister.

I studied journalism in college, but left school to marry, raise kids and start my own business--a video store, before the mega-chains were out there. After a divorce, I met my current husband and we moved to Tahoe to become ski bums and otherwise try to find our dreams. At that time, I went to work for a small alternative press, writing stories and eventually editing.

When we moved down the mountain to the Reno area, I started writing nonfiction books, many of which you can see here. The rest are viewable on my personal website. I also continued to freelance articles for newspapers and magazines.

All that has changed, with the publication of my novel, CRANK, which has led to a valued career writing YA novels in verse, all of which explore the more difficult situations young adults often find themselves in. Will I ever write one in prose? No doubt! But, for the moment, writing novels in verse fulfills two needs: writing poetry and writing fiction. The combination is so interesting!

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#56 in Books > Teens
#56 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Tricks is very raw and dark and is about finding yourself, growing up, acceptance and learning what love is.
Samra
Hopkins has an interesting way of weaving stories together just enough that you can see characters from another character's point of view.
Laura R.
Eden makes the mistake of falling in love with Andrew, who her parents don't approve of, and everything goes down hill from there.
Alexa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ash on September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I just finished the book, and I have to admit that I desperately flipped through the last few blank pages hoping to find more. I warn you all now, the latter half of this review may end up with spoilers. If it does, I'll let you know with asterisks and pretty little caps.

First of all, I'm not an experienced Hopkins reader. I read another one of her books from my library (I'm pretty sure it was Impulse? Staring Tony, and two others in a suicide rehab clinic)
So going in to Tricks I sort of knew what to expect. Gritty, honest writing, emotion, and heartbreak.

Lots of people complain about two things in this book. One, universal with Hopkins it seems, it the writing style. I will admit I was also victim to the old mistake of opening it up, assuming it was poetry, and putting it down. Please, if You pick this book up, give it a chance! It's written in verse, but outside the "A Poem By ___" openers it's all straight prose divided in crafty line breaks that drive subtle points home.
Another thing is that people complain it's just too graphic. I'm sorry, but you're reading about love, heartbreak, and eventual prostitution. People say it's too detailed, and it disturbs them. Imagine how the ones who LIVE this kind of thing feel. When you're being raped there is no neat way to avoid the gritty truth and details. There's no way to forget the smell of sex or scrape away enough skin in the shower to ever feel clean. Hopkins takes that feeling of desperation, fear, and the thoughts of "who will want me now" and instills this into her book.

So if you don't want to feel like someone's gripping your heart with cold fingers, don't read this. If you're light stomached or can't take the truth of what's really happening in this world, this book isn't for you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By YA book lover on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Tricks" was my second Hopkins' book. I read "Impulse" a while ago and remember devouring it in a matter of hours and loving it. I wish I felt the same way about "Tricks."

Hopkins has established herself as a crusader of tough teen issues - drug use, suicide, abuse. This book was no exception. The author approached teen prostitution head-on, not sugar-coating it and without unnecessary moralizing. I applaud Hopkins for that, not many authors have guts to touch this kind of subject. As for the novel itself, it left me cold.

First, I was (to my own surprise) extremely bored by the narration, so much so that I started contemplating to drop the book altogether. I might have felt this way because of the multitude of the POVs - too many switches, too little time to get attached to any character. Very often I found myself confused who was the narrator, the stories started to blend together.

I also thought the book was just too wordy, too drawn out when it didn't need to be (too much info about Cody's gambling problems, for instance) and too quick or superficial when some events needed to be explored deeper. I felt I needed more to understand what drove Eden to so easily give herself over to Jerome for a couple of strawberries or how Ginger took on stripping.

Some events in the book felt a bit too cliche or gimmicky - Lucas' reasons for breaking up with Whitney (because she was a virgin and not great in bed - really?) or Carl's transformation to an abusive sugar daddy in a matter of... minutes.

Long story short, too often I felt I was being emotionally manipulated rather than truly touched by the characters' plight. I read another "issue book" not so long ago - "Living Dead Girl.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on September 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In her five previous novels, which focus on such timely and disturbing social phenomena as sexual abuse, attempted suicide and methamphetamine use, Ellen Hopkins cuts through propaganda and politics to get to the emotional heart of the often controversial subjects she explores. In TRICKS, her most ambitious novel to date, Hopkins uses her free verse style to great effect as she explores the different routes taken by five teens to the same desperate solution: prostitution.

Hopkins utilizes slightly different styles for each of her five subjects, a distinction that will probably go unnoticed by many readers, especially once they become absorbed in each person's story. She also provides transitions between narrators by repeating key words, further expressing the connections among these young people even before the plot does so. Although these stylistic niceties are subtle, the differences among Hopkins's subjects are not, and readers will likely have no trouble distinguishing the teens' narrative voices because their stories are so singular.

Eden is the daughter of a fundamentalist preacher in Idaho, whose parents send her to a religious rehabilitation camp, where she falls in love with a non-believer and trades sexual favors with a prison guard to try to secure her freedom. Seth is an Indiana farm boy who comes out to his father in the wake of his first gay love affair, only to be thrown out of the house and into the arms of a wealthy but demanding and manipulative older lover. Whitney is a typical wealthy teen from Santa Cruz; when her first serious relationship fails, her insecurities and desire for affection connect her with a charismatic older man who promises her love but may not have her best interests at heart.
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