I’m on the student newspaper, “The Gleaner,” here at Nazareth and I just recently wrote a book review of Ellen Hopkin’s “Tricks” to be published in “The Gleaner.” I thought I’d post it here in case any of you are interested in what I thought!
From the award winning author of “Crank,” “Glass,” and “Impulse” comes “Tricks,” a grisly novel-in-verse that follows the lives of five teenagers sucked into prostitution. Ellen Hopkins has created another enthralling, yet horrifying, read of young people faced with very real, very serious issues. Arguably the first author since J.K. Rowling to convince teenagers to pick up a book that easily tops 600 pages, Hopkins continues to rebel against the invisible boundaries of what many believe to be “appropriate” reading topics for young adults.
“Tricks” details the lives of five young people caught in the vicious cycle of teenage prostitution. Eden, the daughter of a fundamentalist Christian preacher, turns to prostitution in order to escape from the reform school where her parents have sent her as a punishment for having a boyfriend without their permission. Seth, a young gay man struggling to accept his sexuality in a small, conservative town, trades sexual favors for a place to live after being kicked out by his father. Whitney, a young girl convinced that her mother loves her sister best, sells her body to a smarmy pimp who lures her away from her home with promises of his love. Ginger’s mother has been a prostitute since before her birth, and while Ginger promised herself that she would never go down that path, a shocking family secret forces her out of her grandmother’s house and onto the streets of Las Vegas. Cody turns to gambling to numb the pain of his beloved step-father’s death and, soon enough, debt forces him into prostitution in order to support his addiction.
If you’re looking for a light read, run screaming from “Tricks.” However, if you’re open to a novel that will challenge every stereotype of a prostitute that you’ve ever held, then I highly recommend this one. While “Tricks” is fictional, Hopkins based several of the characters on teenagers that she has met at book signings and other events. That alone should be enough to make you think twice.
Hopkins will be at Nazareth on May 15 for the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival. For more information about the Teen Book Festival (TBF), and to find out how you can volunteer during the festival, visit www.teenbookfestival.org. To read more book reviews and interviews with authors attending the TBF, visit the official TBF blog at www.carlyreads.blogspot.com.
So, readers, do you agree? Let me know what YOU thought of “Tricks!”