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Tricks

Tricks

For Ages: 14 and up
  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
  • 3awards
“When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival.”

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching . . . for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don’t expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words, “I love you,” are said for all the wrong reasons. These are five moving stories that remain separate at first, then weave together to tell a larger, more powerful story–a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. And figuring out what sex and love are all about.

TRICKS is informed and inspired by living near Las Vegas–a big teen prostitution scene–and by the fact that teen prostitution is not exclusively the result of kids running away from abuse. Kids from “better” families are selling themselves for hefty sums in order to finance addictions or even just to buy jewelry or clothing. In some cases, parents prostitute their children for the same reason. So what happens to the kids who are asking themselves, and asking us, “Can I ever feel OK about myself?”

Highly charged, TRICKS is a gripping experience that turns you on and repels you at the same time.
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  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 640 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416996422 | 
  • August 2009 | 
  • Grades 9 and up | 
  • Lexile HL590
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Author Ellen Hopkins gets real about TRICKS

TRICKS is a gripping new work from New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

ABOUT THE BOOK

Meet five teens: Eden Streit, Seth Parnell, Whitney Lang, Ginger Cordell, and Cody Bennett. They're from different walks of life--some are rich; some are poor; some are from nuclear families; others are not. Regardless of upbringing, they share common needs: love, acceptance, safety, and family. Eden has a secret love affair and is the daughter of a hellfire-and-brimstone preaching father; Seth, aching over the death of his mother, is a gay farm kid and hides his sexuality from his father; Whitney is good-looking and smart, but lives in the shadow of her "better" older sister and her critical mother and semi-absent father; Ginger lives in poverty with her drug-using, sexually deviant, and abusive mother; and Cody, suffering the loss of his stepfather, shoulders his mother's emotional and financial needs. All five are betrayed or "tricked" by someone they love and turn down brutal paths in which they experience even deeper deception. What will they do to be loved? To survive? Can they return home? Their stories begin in alternating vignettes and interweave into one explosive Las Vegas ending.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen Hopkins grew up in Palm Springs, California, and attended a private school. An adopted child, she studied ballet, jazz, tap, hula, and modern dancing and also rode horses. Her love of writing began in elementary school at the age of nine when she published a po see more

Articles About This Book

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Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Kevin Myers

I didn’t know anything about Tricks, by Ellen Hopkins, when I picked it up in 2009. I just thought the cover was interesting. Then, I read the blurb on the cover jacket and thought, “Whoa. This sounds intense.” And my instincts were right. This...

More Books from this Author

About the Author

Ellen Hopkins
Sonya Sones

Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkinsis the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven young adult novels, including Smoke and Rumble, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she has founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative. Visit her at EllenHopkins.com and on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at @EllenHopkinsYA. For more information on Ventana Sierra, go to VentanaSierra.org.

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