Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

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This story is about five people who are from completely different parts of the country, who all live totally different lives. Three girls and two boys are the main characters in the book. Las Vegas is the place they all end up; some meet each other while others don’t. Throughout the book, you learn about these people and see the events that lead each of them to the thing they all had in common.

Sex is the common ground, but the sex in this book is not what you think. All the sex in this book is in exchange for something. Prostitution is a part of each of these characters lives during the book in one way or the other. The characters are Eden, the preacher’s daughter that falls in love; Whitney, the second favorite out of two children; Seth, the Midwest farmer who realizes he’s gay; Ginger, one of six children and daughter of a prostitute; and Cody, the one who’s life turns upside down by a family member’s death. Each of these characters are under 18 years old, but ended up sacrificing much more than their innocence and self worth.

Eden is the daughter of a priest. Her parents have very strict rules for her and her younger sister. Eden doesn’t understand some of these rules and questions some of their teachings. She meets a boy, Andrew, who she falls for. As she comes to understand her feelings for him, she can’t see why it’s wrong. Her parents don’t want her to even date until she’s ready to marry, so she keeps this relationship a secret. After months of being together, she decides she loves him enough to give herself to him. They continue to sneak around until one day when she is finally caught.

When she returned home, her parents were waiting and already had knew. Her mother hit her and told her she was not allowed to leave the house. She did while they were at church and showed Andrew the damage done to her face. He wanted to take her to the police but she refused. When she returned back home, they had beaten her to it. She walked through the door expecting another dose of her mother’s disciplinary action. Instead, her mother sat her down to talk over tea. Her mother did the talking. She had come to the conclusion that Eden’s disrespectful and sinful behavior can only be from one reason: she must be possessed by demons.

Her mother sent her away to a Christian rehabilitation center in Nevada, where she isn’t allowed to leave until the priest who runs the center clears her and is convinced she is cured. He thinks months are necessary. One of the workers there takes a liking to her and starts to bring her treats. In exchange for the treats, he wants something in return. Thinking that he may be the only way to get out of there, she complies. He comes to her every night and she really has no choice. Eventually she comes up with a plan: she will pretend to be in love with him and maybe convince him to take her away from there. Her plan works, but it takes a few days to go into action. When it does, they stop at a truck stop and she runs from him.

She meets a very nice man and gets him to drive her toward Vegas. He takes her as far as he can go and she finds a trucker to drive her the rest of the way. He requests some sort of payment, oral sex. When she gets to Vegas, she has no money and knows only one way to get some fast. After a little while there, she meets another prostitute that gives her money and tells her to call her family. She gets in touch with Andrew and his family and knows that her home is no longer home and that she will not go back. Her story concludes with Eden thinking about what her next move will be.

Whitney always felt like the odd one out between her mom and sister. Her dad adores her, but he only comes home on weekends because of business. Her mom is always giving her a hard time during the week, so anytime she can be away from the house is a blessing. She meets a boy and falls for him quickly. She, just like Eden, gives herself to him. She tells him she loves him and things change after...
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