Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Lucky me. I found the right kind of love. With the wrong person."

The statistic that brought Ellen Hopkins to write Tricks is that the average age of a prostitute in the United States is twelve. TWELVE. When Ellen Hopkins visited B&N to read and sign her latest book, Tricks, during Banned Books Week, she told the audience that she wants teens to know that there are other ways. That they can make better choices.

Tricks is the story of five teens: Eden, Seth, Ginger, Whitney, and Cody, and the choices each of them makes when faced with difficult family situations. Hopkins based most of her characters in Tricks on teens she has met and pieces of their lives that they have shared with her. Written in verse, each of the teens tells they story of how he or she ended up as a prostitute in Las Vegas.

It took me almost two weeks to read Tricks because it was so hard to continue. I have three children of my own and I work in a middle school, so I have lots to worry about. Reading these stories made me scared, then sad, but ultimately the end also gave me hope. Hopkins researched Tricks through the stories of teen prostitutes, as well as the people who work to help change their lives.

It was amazing to hear Ellen Hopkins read a bit about each of the teens. She answered audience questions, many from teens, and then graciously signed her books. Following the signing, it was fun to meet Tirzah from The Compulsive Reader and Sara from The Hiding Spot and chat with Ed Spicer from Spicy Reads. I'm looking forward to more community events that allow readers to connect with authors and one another.


  1. I just adore Ellen Hopkins! I haven't read this one yet, but I will. I'm working my way through her whole canon. :)

  2. Hi Melissa: Yes, she's great. I loved hearing her talk to teens. She answered their questions about her work so honestly. I feel awful about the schools/libraries that choose not to allow kids to interact with her. Her books really speak to kids.