Hopkins, Ellen. Tricks. Simon & Schuster, 2009
Written by: Ellen Hopkins
Reviewed by: Shelby Randall
Recommended audience: Mature readers
In the novel Tricks, the story begins with five teenagers, all residing in various parts of the United States. The five teens are Eden Streit, a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a conservative and religious family; Seth Parnel, a “good-looking” seventeen-year-old boy, deals with defining his sexuality and experiencing break-ups and trading sex for a home; Whitney Lang, 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 Cordell, a sixteen-year-old who lives with her five siblings, mother, and grandmother who raises them; and Cody Bennet, a teen who ends up taking care of his family after his step-father dies.
Throughout the novel, all five teens have a major problem they have to face. Eden is believed to be possessed by the devil and is sent to Tears of Zion, a religious camp where she gets close to a worker and exchanges sex for food, shampoo, and other goods. Seth’s father finds out he is gay and kicks him out; he moves in with an older man and eventually they move to Vegas together. Whitney gets dumped by her boyfriend and ends up falling for an older man and runs away with him to Vegas so he can pursue his photography business. Ginger’s mother does not take care of her or her five siblings; her grandmother does. Ginger runs away from home with her girlfriend to Vegas and becomes a dancer. Cody’s step-father dies and Cody is forced to take care of his family. He gets into debt dealing with online gambling.
I would recommend this book to mature high school readers who have big struggles in their lives. The book may seem very long but is extremely easy to read because Ellen Hopkins writes in poems on each page. Find this book interesting? Go to the library and borrow it. Read Tricks by Ellen Hopkins.