Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins + Contest!

Pub date - August 25, 2009.

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

I've never read any of Ellen Hopkins's books but I knew going into this one that she wrote on the grittier side of the YA line. She didn't take the mythical or fantastical route. She kept it real. Really real. So that much I knew. I can't vouch for the rest of her books but this one was something you slit your wrists to.

Halfway through it I contemplated not finishing the book. I just couldn't bear to read on. I hated reading about teens going through such absolute shit because, and what it really boiled down to was, a lack of something at home, usually love. I can't read too many of these books too often. Yes. It's too real. It's too heartbreaking. Yes, it's labeled as fiction but it's not a stretch to think that the stories in this book hit a little too close to home to a few too many teens out there. It's made me think more seriously about fostering when I move out on my own. Having children just isn't really my thing. But helping the abandoned, forgotten, rejected and unloved . . . how could I not? How can I ignore something like this? How can anyone?

As I said, this is my first Ellen Hopkins book so I don't know if the rest of her novels are in verse but this one is, rotating between the five different characters. With hindsight, the blurb is misleading. But I'll leave that for you to discover when you read it.

All of the stories start out innocent enough, about first loves, coming into your own, finding solace in a friend. But then they start to change and you see how they end up where they end up but at the same time you can't help but ask, "How the hell did they get here? Where did it all go wrong?" And it hurts to read because you see every single one of them spiraling away from their former selves because the support system that should be there isn't.

I was most compelled by Eden's story, the girl growing up in a born-again Christian family who falls in love with a boy that's genuinely good for her, just not good for her parents. It brings me back to religion and how such god-fearing people that teach the supposed word of god, who's supposed to be compassionate and loving, up and do what Eden's parents did to her. Thrown away like some soiled shirt that makes the wearer look bad. It's horrible.

My beloved Santa Cruz is the home base of Whitney, the girl that just wants to be loved. Even the happiness I feel every time I go to that beach town couldn't permeate the sour emotions and feelings Whitney associated with that town. For Ginger, it's amazing she's as well-adjusted as she is for the type of mother she has, if you want to call Iris a mother. Read the story and I'm sure you won't. Sean's story rings all too true, I'm sure, to many, many people out there. Again, for all the love religion is supposed to teach people, how parents can shun their children for who they are is disgusting. Cody's life was probably the most well-adjusted out of them all but things start to slide down hill and while his intentions are good, his methods are, well, not. Still, I can't help but put some blame on his mother. Losing someone you love is painful but it's your duty, as a parent, to not forget about your children. That situation reminded me of Katniss and Prim with their mother, how she shut down after their father died. It's a selfish act.

While most of my reading will still be confined to slightly more frivolous stuff, reading a book like this is not only eye-opening and heart-wrenching, it's a good slap to the face that I think everyone needs every once in a while. We're all prone to complaining about something in our lives, whatever it may be. But it could be worse. And these kids go through a hell of a lot worse.

Hopkins has an insane ability to tap into the minds of the down-and-out teen and tell their story exactly how it needs to be told without sugar-coating anything. There's no hiding for the reader because the characters have nowhere to hide themselves. Why should you get the luxury? I have a hard time calling the teens in this book characters because they're more than that. They're tangible and it's sad to say that they're more real than what the pages decree. And the way that such separate stories end up coming together at the end it just amazing. There aren't words for it. These children that lead separate lives are, in some way, supported by one another.

While I can't go out and gobble up all of Hopkins other novels because I'm not all for slipping into a depression, I will slowly indoctrinate myself to her work over time. Books like this shouldn't be ignored and good on Hopkins for writing it so real. Go read this book. Read it now. And then read it again. It only took me about a day to finish its more than 600 pages. I just couldn't put it down. You can't help but hope that everything will turn out ok in the end. But even in life, nothing is certain.


I have an extra ARC of Tricks by Ellen Hopkins to give away. You want it? Here's what you have to do -

Comment with your contact info to enter (blogger profile is fine)
+1 for new followers
+2 for current followers
+2 for linking back/posting about this contest
+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?"
+3 for referring someone to the contest
+3 for being the person referred

Be sure to tell me specifics otherwise I won't know how to tally up the points! Contest is open to US residents only and it ends 7/5.


Lauren said...

Ooh, I love Ellen Hopkins and I can't wait to read Tricks! So, please enter me in the contest. :)

+2 I'm already a follower
+2 for linking to this contest on my blog's sidebar.

Readingjunky said...

Please enter me in the contest. I'm a current follower.

A book that moved me recently was NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley. The dad made me incredibly furious. I admired the courage Terra had to withstand his remarks.


Jenna said...

I've never read any of Ellen Hopkins books, but I want to. This one in particular sounds amazing. Please include me in your contest.

I'm already a follower.

The book that has moved me the most is Night by Elie Wiesel. It's a memoir about his time in a camp during the Holocaust. There were some parts in it where I just wanted to close my eyes, and tell my self weren't real, but sadly, everything he was saying was true. I wouldn't ever take back reading it, though. I needed to hear what he was saying.

Thanks for the contest.


runa said...

Sounds like an AMAZING book. I'd love to enter!

+2 for current followers

+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?"
I'm pretty sure that would have to be Thirteen Reasons Why, for many of the same reasons you mentioned Tricks was powerful to you. It's something I related to so strongly, and was just a really raw, without over-doing it, read.

Brooke Reviews said...

+2 I'm already a follower
+2 As soon as I read this question my first thought was 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and then I see Runa has posted the same answer, so let me think of another! I'm going with I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert. It's brilliant and raw!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

I've read a short story of hers but that's it, and yes, I'm pretty sure all things she writes (so far) are in verse, which is great. I really really want to read this one. It sounds absolutely amazing.

+2 current follower
+2 One book that really moved me is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I've read it a few times, it's a favorite of mine, and I just love it because it's so real. There are many quotes from that novel that just resonate with me and make me think. I love it.


Ellen Hopkins said...

Thanks so much for the thoughtful read. Three of these stories have threads of real people in them--Eden, Ginger and Whitney. So yes, kids go through horrible situations. Do help them if you can, in whatever ways you can. You rock!

Miss Cindy said...

What an awesome contest! I so want this. I loved your review, it sounds like a great book :)

+2 already a follwer
+2 There are many books that would fall under the "moved me," catergory but the first book to ever really do that was a book I read at a young age, "Where the Red Fern Grows." Until now, I am still surprised at love being so powerful between a boy and his dogs, and I still cry towards the end :)


Anonymous said...

This sounds great!. Please enter me. dasuzuki at yahoo dot com
+1 I started following you in Google Reader
+2 I linked to the giveaway here:
+2 Willow really moved me recently because her story could happen to anyone and I don't know how I would have handled it
+3 I was referred from Ellen Hopkins tweet

JamesGirl said...

+3 referred from Ellen Hopkins Myspace
+2 I linked to the Give away here :

+1 new follower
+2 the book that moved me the most was kissed by an angel because it was sweet and you can tell what true love is

Anonymous said...

I'm a new follower. My name is Debra McComas


+1 new follower
+2 The book that moved me the most was Identical by Ellen Hopkins, because it touched base on sexual abuse, something I can relate to.
+3 I was referred by Ellen Hopkins on Myspace

Crystal Rasberry said...
Crystal Rasberry

+1 for new follower
+2 for linking this via myspace
+2 my favorite book that has impacted me the most would be Go Ask Alice and it is annonomous, because it is a dairy about a girl whho is perfect to her family and gets into drug abuse, runs away from home, and tries to get better only to fail. There has been a lot of drug and alcohol abuse all around my family and it is been in a variety of different ways. It touches home in every aspect.
+3 I referred my little sister and older sister via myspace
+3 I was referred by Ellen Hopkins on Facebook.


Brittany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittany said...

teensatthelibrary @ yahoo . com

+1 for new followers
+2 for linking back/posting about this contest
+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?"
The one book that moved me most was probably Weetzie Bat(that's kinda a lie), Let me explain, Weetzie bat got me hooked on the Weetzie bat series and then all of Francesca Lia Block's books and as a whole they are the most beautiful moving books I have read.

Steph Su said...

I've never read any of Ellen's books. Should I go hide under a couch now? But no, I loved your review and now I'm intrigued. Count me in for this one please. I follow, and I've linked to this contest in my sidebar.

stephxsu at gmail dot com

Breanna said...

Ooooh TRICKS, yay!!! I've only read one of Ellen's books so I'm always anxious to get my hands on a copy of any of them.

Okay here we go..I'm a newer follower (+1)

The book that I think has moved me the most would have to be Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It's such a sad story, at least to me anyway. After reading it I remember sitting there just stunned. It really made me think about my life. (+2)


PS thank you for becoming a follower of my blog!

Cindy said...

Enter me please. The book that moved me the most was probably Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. I had a boyfriend in the military and it really hit home with me. I'm already a follower as well!

+2 for current followers

+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?"

barbrafl said...

Please enter me. The book that moved me the most was Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher because it's changed the way that I see the world. I'm kinder towards people I don't even know and offer help to everyone I can.

+1 for new followers
+2 for linking back/posting about this contest
+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?"

barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

About three years ago I read Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess and it's on of the very few books that have changed me as a person. Since then I have made myself become very aware to the subject of sexual molestation and I've been completely disgusted by things that I've found out. After reading it I actually want to become a sexual assault therapist.

+1 For new followers
+2 for linking back/posting about this contest (
+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?"

MandyK said...

Woo I contest for an Ellen Hopkins book =).

+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?":
I read Ellen Hopkins' book Impulse, and it mas Ah-maz-ing! I cried a few times while reading, I finished it in one night, and then, I re-read it a few months later, which is something I DONT usually do, and cried again. I think it was the most moving book I've EVER read. It makes you realize that when you feel like your life is utter crap, that theres always some other kid out there only wishing their life was so simple.

+3 for being the person referred:

+1 for new followers


Sarahbear9789 said...

+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?":
The book that has effected me the most is Looking for Alaska by John Green. I had just lost a friend in a car crash and I felt that it was my fault. So, it really helped me deal with that. Since we were super close.
+3 for being the person referred:
I am a new follower.

Flip The Page! Book Reviews said...

+1 for being a new follower!
+2 for posting about it!
+3 for referring everyone on my email list about the contest!
+2 for answering the question!

One book that really moved me was another Ellen Hopkins book called Burned. Burned is the srory of a girl named Pattyn in a abusive and strict mormon family. After being caught by her father in a compromising position she is sent to live with her eccentric aunt. The events tht take place after that are both uplifting and absolutely heart breaking. When i read the emding i seriously cried and when my friends read the ending, they all cried too! So it was a very emotionally damaging book. If you're going to read another Ellen Hopkins book i would recommend this one out of all of them.

Lilibeth Ramos said...

+1 new follower
+2 linked to my contest side-bar:

anotherpageisused said...

I love love LOVe Elle Hopkins! Enter me(:

+1 new follower
+2 linked the contest on my blog.
+2 The book that has moved me most is probably Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. I saw myself in a lot of characters and I could just really connect with them. So when they overcame whatever they were dealing with, I knew that I could too. This book just really helped me through some times. I read it when ever I'm feeling down.
+3 I was refered.


bridget3420 said...

I would love to win this!
+2 for current followers
+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?" The Reader because I can't imagine what it would be like to not be able to read.


Kristi said...

Sounds like a good book, even if it is a "grittier!" Would love to win it.

Already a follower

Scared by Tom Davis is a book that moved me recently! I still haven't done my review because I haven't been able to put it into words!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

cupcakewitch said...

I am a follower! Awesome review! Totally want to read this!

Jacqueline C said...

I'm a follower!


fayeflame said...

+1 new follower
+2 for linking back/posting about this contest in siderbar

+2 "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?" catcher in the rye, holden kind of reminded me of myself.

+3 for being the person referred
by laurenscrammedbookshelf


robin_titan said...

I seriously need to read her books. :)

I'm already a follower :D

~The Book Pixie said...

Oh this is an awesome giveaway! I've really wanted to read this.

+1 I'm a new follower

+2 Link to this contest in my blog sidebar here:

+2 The book that has moved me the most is A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer. It is sooo sad especially considering it is a memoir. A total must read but not for the weak of stomach.

+3 I was referred by Debbie's World of Books

~Briana :D

Share You Sweet Tread said...

happy b day

Amy said...

wow. Fantastic review! I have got to read this now. You should read Impulse and burned too. Those are my faves by her...

Diana Dang said...

A book that moved me was Hollywood Car Wash by Lori Culwell. It was so real!

faked_sugartone at hotmail

Jake Lsewhere said...

Looks like a good read, please enter me into this drawing.

I'm also a recent follower of your blog.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

Jake Lsewhere said...

I've also blogged about this giveaway here.



+1 I am a new follower
+2 The book that moved me the most would have to be SOLD by Patricia Mccormick, it was beautifully written and I loved going through the journey with the main moved me emotionally because the pain that she went through was so brutal..


Alysha Lundquist said...

Woot Woot! Yay Ellen Hopkins book. I've already read them all. I need a new one :)

+1, I am a new follower (you are actually the first person I followed, yay!)
+2, I linked to this contest on twitter
+2, I think John Green’s Looking for Alaska has moved me the most. It just seemed to make me look at the world in a different way after I read it. His theories on life and death are a lot of what I already believed and helped confirm that there are other people out there with similar views. (important people even)
+3, I referred my friend Mariha to this contest (but I don’t see her comment yet, I may have to remind her)
(does it count if I was referred to this contest by an Ellen Hopkins tweet?)

now I am off to write a blog post about this contest, incase just tweeting about it does not count.
*skips away euphorically with the thought of having a chance of winning an ARC of Tricks*

Oh, and thanks for the contest. This was a really cool thing to do. I look forward to seeing what else you write about in your blogs. :)

e-mail ~

Paige said...

I'd like to enter. :)
+ I'm a current follower.
+ One book that has moved me is Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, I just fell in love with it and think it's such a wonderful book.

Anonymous said...

i want to enter!
no follower
awesome book is "the misssing" by shiloh walker--- amazing!


Mrs. Magoo said...

Wow!!! I'd absolutely LOVE to win! mrsmagooreads AT gmail DOT com

+2 for current followers

Alexa said...

I love Ellen Hopkins! Enter me please!
+2 current follower
+2 link on sidebar:
+2 13 Reasons Why moved me a lot because it could be a true story.



Awesome contest!

+2 I am a follower already
+2 I added it on my blog sidebar:
+2 "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?" - Emotionally, the book that moved me most would have to be SOLD by Patricia McCormick because it shows the cruel, brutality that young girls go through when they are sold to prostitution, it was very sad to go through the process with the little girl in the book..


oops I'm sorry forgot my


amanda said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
oheeyore at hotmail dot com

amanda said...

I am a new follower.
oheeyore at hotmail dot com

amanda said...

The book that has moved me the most is A Thousand Splendid Sons. It's such a beautifully written story about women, relationships, love, and true sacrifice.


book_worm said...

Oooh, excited for this one.

+1 I'm a new follower
+2 The book that moved me the most was My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It's just so emotional.
+3 I was referred by Debbie's World of Books

Bianca said...

OMGOSH! I am a huge Ellen Hopkins fan!!! Love her books!

+1 I'm a new follower
+2 One of the books that moved me the most was The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I can relate so much to the main character, Charlie. I'm a wallflower myself and I understood him.
+2 for posting a link
+3 I was referred by Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf.


infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com

pirate penguin said...

Ellen Hopkins is amazing! I hope I might be able to win this.

Comment with your contact info to enter (blogger profile is fine)
+1 I'm a new follower
+2 I'll post this on my sidebar!
+2 The book that moved me the most was actually Burnt by Ellen Hopkins! Her character, Patty, went through so much and then she finally had a chance of then lose it so abruptly and tragically. Burnt hit me pretty hard.
+3 I was referred by The Book Pixie.

Shalonda said...

Thanks Donna for hosting this contest!

+2 already a follower
+2 There have been a few books that really moved me. The most recent was Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. It brought to life so many issues that I feel fortunate that I've never had to face. Because of the incredible voice, the story felt real, and I sobbed for the character throughout the novel. It was so hard to read.

Book Sp(l)ot said...

+1 new follower
+2 on my sidebar
+2 "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?" Amazing Grace by Jonathon Kozol-it's a nonfiction book and I think it was because everything in it was so real and...hard and I met him so it was a lot easier to connect it to happening than just something I read in a book.
+3 for being refered by StephSu's sidebar +3 for her, too, then? (if that counts)

Reverie said...

The book that moved me the most is probably Wintergirls... WOW!

I am a current follower

On my sidebar

Allison said...

So many books have affected me in so many ways, it's hard to pick just one. I'll say Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen, which is a book I've read so many times that my copy is falling apart. There are a lot of lessons in there about self-respect and loving yourself that never get old.

I totally understand what you mean about Ellen Hopkin's writing; I've reading everything of hers except Glass and now Tricks. Something about it keeps me coming back, and recommending it to my friends, even. It's real and honest, and despite the serious topics, always an enjoyable read.

Thank you for the opportunity to win! :)

+1 for new followers
+2 for linking back/posting about this contest (
+2 for answering the question, "What's the one book that moved you the most and why?"
+3 for being the person referred (the sidebar at


blueviolet said...

I'd love to read this. Thanks for the chance!

+1 new follower

+2 listed on right sidebar in book giveaways here

+2 I loved the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It was such a touching and beautiful peek into a culture I knew nothing about.


katie said...

I would love to read this. It sounds amazing.

+1 new follower

+2 link in my right sidebar

+2 I loved the book Thirteen Reasons Why. It was very depressing but amazing.

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