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Have you ever wondered about the journey of the person standing next to you? How did they get here? What are the experiences they have been through? Have you ever wondered the lengths people have to go to survive another day in the world? If so, Tricks by Ellen Hopkins will fulfill your curiosity. This book’s five story lines had me grappling over my own questions about life, love… and the value of the human body.
Eden’s parents think she has been overcome by the devil after being caught riding in a car with a boy. Seth’s dad refuses to accept his son’s sexuality. Whitney falls for the bad boy after being brutally dumped. Cody is trying to keep peace in his house after a tragic loss. And Ginger, she is just longing to finally find the happiness she deserves.
I have always been told in my life love makes people do crazy things. This motto was put to the test in this book! You will read about the ups and the very lows of finding, or thinking you found, that special someone. What was most intriguing to me was my ability to understand why the characters acted the way they did, yet to still be left puzzled by their actions at the end of the book.
Hopkins discusses a “hot lava” topic in this book, prostitution. The best audience of this book would be older teens in their last year or two of high school. While this book is chalk full of vulgarity, the language and descriptions of scenes in the book are not for the faint hearted. Each character’s journey leads them into prostitution for one reason or another. Because prostitution is a central theme to all of the characters, many topics which come hand in hand with prostitution are mentioned. Topics such as addiction, sexual assault, homosexuality, and HIV/AIDS all find a way into at least one of the characters’ stories. Intermittent humor and quick, fiery mouthed characters keep the book from seeming overly dark and gloomy. Tricks helped open my eyes to the lengths people go to in order to survive and the value people place on love.
Shannon Hickin is a seventh grade health teacher in the Rochester, NY area. She enjoys discussions about controversial topics and opens her doors to all positive, productive dialogue! In her spare time, she practices what she preaches and lives a healthy, active lifestyle that her students can look up to!