You have to respect an author who is not afraid to write about controversial subjects.  Ellen Hopkins has my respect.  She first wowed me with Crank.  I remember wondering if she could do it again and she has with each book that she has written.  I had the opportunity to meet her last year.  She spoke at my school and if I thought I had trouble keeping her books on the shelves then now it is downright impossible. She is an excellent speaker and the kids were hanging onto every word. Now there are reserves on all of her books.  The longest reserve list is for her newest book Tricks.  It spread like wildfire after one person found out I had a copy ready for checkout. 

Eden, Whitney, Seth, Ginger and Cody are 5 teens with vastly different stories but all ended up on the destructive path of turning tricks in order to survive. Eden’s story with her holier than thou Pentacoastal parents was probably the hardest to take.  Whitney is starving for love – her parents seem to love her sister more than her. Seth is gay and his father can’t accept that so he takes off with his sugar daddy.  Ginger has been exposed to prostitution as long as she can remember thanks to her mom and any respect she had for her goes out the window when she starts pimping Ginger out.  Cody wants to help his mom with his dying father gets in way of his head.  I know these could very well be real life situations but I kept hoping that there would be a better solutions, a better way to solve their problems than turning tricks. My heart ached for these kids.   Each of their situations were so sad.

 As much as I love her books, Tricks, I am afraid was not one of my favorites.  Word of warning: Tricks is brutal and graphic in its sexual description and I am no prude either and the last person who would ever censor a book but still  I think  it is one book that is definitely better suited for older teens. The graphic nature wasn’t what turned me off as much as the time it took for the stories took to reach their climax and become intertwined.  Don’t get me wrong there were plenty of twists and turns among the way but I think telling 5 people’s stories was a bit too much.