Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

tricks_Ellen_HopkinsOh how I really enjoy Ellen Hopkins’ writing!  The way her verse is shaped (literally), how there are meanings beyond the verse – kind of like a poem within a poem, how she links one character to another by carrying the theme over…  Oh I could go on!  Every time I read one of her books there’s a new facet to it that I seek out.  OK I was NEVER an english fan – but have any of these books been used in a high school english class?  There is a lot to learn in these.  Oh I know…  I’m sure parents would have issues with the topics at hand – but you know as a parent myself, I learn a lot through these stories!

Tricks follows the lives of 5 teenagers looking for love – when it comes down to it.  Unfortunately they all find it in the wrong places – oh so sorry that is SO cliché but true in this case.  Their stories are sad and exciting at the same time.  Somehow, in the end – there’s a link between them all – just love how the author was able to pull that together.

As with the other Ellen Hopkins’ books I have read – I would highly recommend this book – although I would not want to see it read by the younger teens – 12-14 but… having said that and remembering the inspiration for writing this novel in the first place – “Did you know that the average age of female prostitution in the United States is twelve years old?” maybe the younger teens who are mature enough should be reading this book.  I don’t know it’s a hard one to call.  Looking back at my girls – I want them to be aware of the traps but I don’t think they were mature enough at 12-14 to read something like this.  I guess in the end it always comes down to the individual reader….

Highly recommended
Ages: 16 and up

Favourite quote(s):

This is a tough one – since I REALLY enjoyed it all!  My favourite parts are the initial poems by each of the characters and the side poem within each.  I will not transcribe the entire one here – but will simply copy the last one – which I believe summarizes the book very nicely!






all.”  (p. 625)

Hopkins, Ellen. (2009). Tricks.  Margaret K. McElderry Books: Toronto.

Author website:


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