Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

by HRevvdon@evpl on Saturday, January 16 2010, 7:03am. Viewed 1,212 times.

A friend recommended Tricks (2009) by Ellen Hopkins; I am not sure why he would have thought that I would like this book.  I read the book jacket quote, “When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival.”  I thought I would take a chance.  I downloaded the electronic version from EVPL to my iPod for a short road trip.  Regretfully, I did not have another download so I did listen to the whole thing, otherwise I would have stopped at the first chapter.


Tricks is about five teenagers, from different backgrounds and parts of the country, that have horrible life experiences thrust upon them and for the most part they become involved in drugs and selling themselves to survive.  I would like to think that the fictionalized lives created by Hopkins are far-fetched but I am sure there are real lives just like these.


One of the synopses that I read stated “a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up.”  I think that this person read a different book than I did.  To me, it was about teenagers preyed upon by evil adults and self-righteous parents; none of the young adults acted upon were portrayed as having any control or free choice in their lives.  Worse, none of the stories end in a positive way; all the endings are horrible.


This is a Young Adult selection.  My small town upbringing is coming out in me but I think that if you are going to write a book for young adults it should be one that provides the possibility of freedom of choice, accountability for ones actions, and that one could survive the adversity that life might throw at you.  This book was repelling and offered no positive outcomes.

Comments (3)

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on Thursday, January 21 2010, 9:53am

I too listened to Tricks.  Felt pretty much the same way you did.  I first listened to Crank and then Glass.  Gritty and worse than "Go Ask Alice" if that's possible.  

Dealt with meth addiction, teen pregnancy, really depressing.  

on Saturday, January 23 2010, 11:25am

Ellen Hopkins' books don't appeal to me, even though I've read & loved a lot of other books from the young adult section. However, from what I've seen, they are very popular with teens.

on Monday, January 25 2010, 9:17am

The teens really enjoy the books by Ellen Hopkins.  I think they like the realistic elements of her writing.  If a teen is looking for a book about "real" teens, these books are the first ones I go to.  Of course, most teens have already read them all!