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Tricks Hardcover – August 25, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 199 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Tricks Series

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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


“Each story is unique...while readers may connect with some characters more than others, they will long remember each painful story.” (Publishers Weekly)

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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: 5 x 1.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Vox Chevalier 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Generally, I only post reviews when I can give a book a 4 or 5 star rating. But for this one, because it has so many 5 star ratings, I wanted to throw my opinion out there for consideration. Ellen Hopkins is an author I like. Not only do I like her writing style, but I also appreciate the issues she addresses in her fiction. Being a high school teacher who has taught in areas with high "at-risk" populations, I believe that Ellen Hopkins is an important YA author. The topic of "Tricks" is timely and relevant.... I have no problem with that. What bothers me with this novel is the lack of character development. I didn't feel an attachment to a single character in the book. With few exceptions, there was almost nothing about any of the characters that I could grasp onto that went any deeper than the surface of the personality. What good does it do to describe the sexual violence when the characters don't come off as anything more than "paper people?" In "real" life, even when those teens who have been abused in ways similar to these teens, there is still a longing for beauty and creativity and knowledge.... even in the depths of despair, there is still a desire for music or writing or connections to knowledge. But the teens in Tricks didn't have that. These kids seemed to be driven by sex, drugs, gambling and the pursuit of relationships but nothing else. I wanted to know these characters. I had know idea who they were, just what they did, not why or how. I wanted to understand why a person would betray her beloved for 2 strawberries (not to mention betraying her own potential values concerning sex)..... Hopkins didn't convince me... nor did she convince me that these kids had any depth to them at all.Read more ›
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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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