Friday, August 07, 2009

Tricks (YA, Adult)

Hopkins, Ellen. 2009. Tricks. Simon & Schuster. 625 pages.

Ellen Hopkins is dependable. You know what you're going to get. No surprises. At least not after the first--once you've read one, you know what to expect: the raw, ugly, vulnerable side of teen life. The side that some adults would rather not know about--the broken and desperate side. Addictions like drugs and alcohol. Eating disorders. Cutting. Suicides and suicide attempts. Abuse--be it sexual, physical, or emotional. Hopkins' verse novels are all about the angst of growing up. Hopkins writes verse novels. (So don't let the length fool you.)

In Tricks we've got the interconnected stories of a handful of teens--two guys (Seth, Cody) and three girls (Eden, Whitney, Ginger)--who for varying reasons all end up as prostitutes. Five teens, five different circumstances, one very ugly story. This one won't be for everyone. As you can imagine--if you choose--this one is heavy in graphic depictions of sex--both homosexual and heterosexual. And that may be a turn off for some readers. You should also know that it deals with addictions. Drugs. Gambling.

It's a novel that makes you think. In the beginning, each of these teens is in a seemingly stable place. If you were to ask each character, would you ever, could you ever sell your body--each would answer, never, no way.

But while it can't please everyone, for those who have enjoyed (though enjoy is really not the right word) Hopkins' previous books, this one is undoubtedly good. I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you haven't read any Hopkins before, this might be a good place to start.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Ms. Yingling 11:25 AM  

I just can't bring myself to have these in a middle school library. There are some students who would love to read them, but they are just so intense. The public library has them, and will deliver right to my school. Sigh.

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