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Tricks - Ellen Hopkins My Rating: 3.5 Nobody can make me cringe as badly as Ellen Hopkins' books do. All her books talk about the hard topics everyone else is afraid to write about: drugs, rape, sex, abuse, personality disorders, gambling, and the list goes on. Tricks is no different. It focuses primarily on prostitution, along with rape, gambling, religion, and drug abuse. Tricks starts off with five normal teens that you'll never think will turn to prostitution. Eden is secretly seeing a guy that doesn't believe in her faith. Her parents, both being extremely religious, forbid anything until she's ready to get married, especially not with a boy that doesn't believe in their faith. When they found out about her and Andrew, her mother drugs her and sends her out to the middle of nowhere to get rid of her "demons." From then on, Eden has to relay on prostitution to get herself out and survive, wondering if Andrew would ever love her ever again for all the things she did. Seth is gay, something his father would never accept. He met his boyfriend Loren online and they broke up because Loren had to relocate for his new job. When Seth's father founds out Seth's sexual status through a mail sent by Loren and kicked Seth out of their home, Seth finds a "sponsor", a sort of prostitution where a sponsor supplies Seth with material-like things in exchange for sex. Ginger lives with her five younger siblings, taking care of them with her old grandmother. Her mother Iris is a prostitute. When Ginger finds out and experienced the fact that her mother sold her body to men to earn some extra money, Ginger decides to escape her home with her friend Alex, forced to become prostitutes to make a living. Whitney is fifteen years old. After being used and giving up her virginity to a guy who she discovered later only wanted to try having sex with a virgin, she meets Bryn. Thinking she finally has found true love, it isn't long until Bryn gets her addicted to drugs and have her be a prostitute, taping her naked and putting it online. Cody lives with his stepfather, his mother, and his little brother Cory. Shortly after his stepfather Jack died, their family has no available income. To make matters worse, Cory lands himself in jail for assaulting a woman during an attempt at robbery. Gambling most of their money away, Cody has no choice left but to become a prostitute to support his nasty habits. Throughout the book, I couldn't help but cringe on how stupid and naive Whitney is, how Eden's parents can reject her and Andrew's innocent love, how Seth's father can't just accept Seth for who he is, how you can trust your mother and in return she sells your body [Ginger], and how wrong it is for Cody to gamble in an attempt to win more money. Worse of all, not everyone has a happy ending in Tricks. What I'm happy about though is how Ginger's mother got advanced HIV. Serves her right, but she should deserve a lot worse than that. I also hate the logic of those hopeless girl turned prostitutes. "Yeah, and it's not so bad, really. I mean, if you're going to have sex anyway, why not earn a little extra cash, you know?" (page 475) I couldn't help but just gape at her words. There are so much things wrong with that statement that I can't even begin to explain. Overall, I don't recommend Tricks to you unless you're in the mood for a book that will majorly depress you. It won't scar you for life like how Identical did, but it will, indeed, open your eyes to the cruel world. ohdamnbooks: tricks