Tricks by Ellen Hopkins is a novel told in verse follows 5 teens. Each one is trying to find love and each one ends up selling their body by the end of the book. Eden's father is an evangelical minister who cares deeply about setting a good example for his flock. So when Eden falls for Andrew, a non-believer, she knows she must keep it a secret or face her parents wrath. Seth lives with his father working on the family farm in rural Indiana. Seth's mother died from cancer without ever knowing her only son is gay and he is afraid to tell his homophobic father. Seth goes looking for companionship across the state line Kentucky and finds the gentle, understanding and kind Loren. Ginger's mother is a prostitute who is always on the prowl for another boyfriend. Ginger and her four siblings with with their grandmother and Ginger tries to hold the family together when her mother sells her to a client. Whitney is constantly over-shadowed by her older sister Kyra, who is her mother's favorite. Although her father is always on Whitney's side is is constantly out of town on business. Whitney finds the attention she craves in Lucas, a boy going to her sister's school. Cody is trying to deal with the sudden death of his step-father (the only father he has ever had). Trying to help out with the bills Cody starts placing bets online but the more he looses the more he needs to win.
This is one of the hardest books I have read in a long time, all Ellen Hopkins is. I was really rooting for most (not all) of the characters and it was tough to watch their lives get darker and darker. But I think that in the end, it is a really beautiful novel about how we can all help each other by just being kind.