Friday, August 7, 2009

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Tricks
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
Pages: 627
My Edition:
Amazon Page

Rating: A-
Plot - 18/20
Characters - 20/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 7/10
Total: 90/100

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two boys. 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 that they can have all of these things when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons. Five moving stories remain seperate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story- a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up.

Before I start, I just want to say that, in the ratings, I'm not sure if the Entertainment and Recommendation should apply. Tricks was a story of prostitution. (Something I didn't really realize until I started it.) It was entertaining, the novel. But it was not a happy entertainment. These stories are so hard to read and so hard to really enjoy. You can't enjoy it. But you can't stop reading either. The recommendation is hard too. How can I recommend something that is so terrible, so horrible (In the sense of the of the story.) but how can I not recommend something that is so amazingly crafted and incredibly written? How can I? Either way, I'm not going to fuss about the rating. This book was so horribly amazing and that is all you need to know for a rating.

Ellen Hopkins has such an amazing talent for writing verse novels and I can't ignore the fact that all of her novels tackle the most roughest, most terrible teen difficulties out there? The writing was incredibly done. The story was terrible to read, but it was also fantastic. What I'm trying to say is, the story, the lives of the five people in this novel and what happen to them is the most terrifying thing I have ever read. But Ellen Hopkins, she wrote it so well that it is just an amazing novel.

How Hopkins combines all of these stories together in the tiniest of ways. How these characters can do these things. How they each of the characters were so different and how each of their lives were so far from each other, but yet, they ended out the same way. How someone can do that just blows my mind. But she did it. And how she can write about these issues without having a mental breakdown herself, well, give her a million cookies.

I'm on the fence. As much she's a great writer, I don't know if I can handle reading another one of her stories, but I know, if I pick one of them up, I definitely won't be able to put it done.


  1. I've heard so many fantastic things about Ellen Hopkins, but have yet to read her myself. She doesn't write my style, so I've never felt the need to pick one up. I'm gonna have to pick up one, maybe Crank...I'm not sure yet.

  2. I love all of her books. I have to say that Identical is so far my favorite. I highly recommend it if you haven't read it.


  3. You never know.... maybe some day I'll write romance... well, there is romance in my books... maybe a vampi??? Nope not gonna do that, either. Thanks for reading, despite the tough subject matter. And thanks for the review!

  4. I've been wanting to read one of Hopkin's novels ever since I skimmed CRANK in a bookstore. Want this one too!

  5. I can't wait to read this. I love all of Ellen's books and am so excited for this one. Great review!

  6. I've read everyone of Ellen Hopkins books, I can't wait for this one! Nice review.

  7. i just finished identical too-- i couldn't stop reading it. rarely has a book taken me in like that and kept me reading until the very last page. i can't wait to read tricks, because i know that i'll hate it and love it at the same time.

  8. i love ellen
    your my favorite writter i used to hate reading until i picked up impluse and finshed it in 2 days. then cranked in 2days and identical in 1 night.and glass in 3 daays and burned in 3 days.
    i cant wait for TRICKS.
    it looks amazing and i am pround of you
    keep up the good work
    love, morgan

  9. I LOVE ELLEN HOPKINS. I first read Crank in 8th grade, now I'm in 12th. I have probably read Crank over six times, and I have every single one of her books, except Tricks! Which I will be getting shortly! :) My books I own are my babies! And I love all of her books. Aha, She is my inspiration when I write. Her style in writing has helped me develop my own. The books speak to me, and I love each one, for everything they are.

  10. You should DEFINITELY right a romance novel! I would love to read such inspiration, it'd give hope to many teenagers who are struggling, like the characters in your novels.

  11. I have read burned, identical, and tricks in that order. My favorite continues to be Burned but I keep searching for a quote from tricks and can't find it! (borrowed book from library) it is something about love not working lust will do. It's said by Carl. It's irritating me >.< lol anyway I LOVE Ellen Hopkins and I don't know why I didn't find her sooner. I can't wait to read more.

  12. loved reading tricks, i'm so excited about Fallout coming out tomorrow. I agree that these are very amazing books, in the worst way possible. As long as she doesn't start writing about vampires I'll always love her books.

  13. I really enjoyed your blog post and your blog overall! Great concept :) I also read Tricks and wrote a blog post about it. You can check it out at ! :)
    I also linked to your blog. Great work!



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