What would you do to survive? Can one decision change your life forever? TRICKS by Ellen Hopkins tackles these and many other issues. Five teens, all from different backgrounds, find themselves in places and situations they never could have foreseen.Eden, a preacher’s daughter, finds true love. When her parents discover the innocent relationship they send her to a home for troubled teens.Seth is dealing with the grief of losing his mother and a father that is becoming more distant as the days go by – seeing only what he wants to see. There is no way Seth can reveal he is gay to his father. His mother might have understood, but not his father.Whitney has lived in the shadow of her successful older sister her entire life. Feeling ignored by the ones who should love her, Whitney finds affection and attention wherever she can.Ginger’s mother is a prostitute and lives with her Grandmother and many siblings (all from different fathers). She has been betrayed multiple times by the woman who should be taking care of her – her mother.Cody, the All-American kid, always keeps his drinking and fooling around under the radar so he never gets caught, but when his step-father gets seriously ill and his younger brother starts getting into major trouble, it falls to Cody to find a way to make ends meet and hold what’s left of his family together. In trying to be a good guy, he develops a dangerous habit.Ellen Hopkins utilizes her trademark realistic voice, there isn’t any sugar-coating of the subject matter here, to weave the story of five total strangers together to form a heartbreaking look at what some people are forced to do simply to survive. Ellen Hopkins, once again, comes through for her readers with this spellbinding novel-in-verse.There are only two complaints: 1) it felt like it took a little too long to get into the gritty part of the story, even though I realize the need to get to know each character prior to their fall into destruction and 2) the end feels like it comes too soon. I felt I should have been able to turn the last page and read more about the fall-out the characters had to go through. Read it and see what you think and let me know.