by Ellen Hopkins
released November 3, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Five teens victimized by sex trafficking try to find their way to a new life in this riveting companion to the New York Times bestselling Tricks from Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank.
In her bestselling novel, Tricks, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling these enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who turns tricks in Vegas and is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy disowned by his father who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid coaxed into the life by a pimp and whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who runs away from home with her girlfriend and is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead.
And now, in Traffick, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heartwrenching and hopeful, Traffick takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation, and renewal to forgiveness and love. All the way home.
I read Tricks five years ago. I remember, strangely enough, being absorbed in its pages in my eighth-grade algebra class, ignoring my teacher's lecture, preferring to be enveloped in Hopkins's gorgeous, dark words. (Maybe that's why I'm so bad at math.) Point is, it's been a long time since I read the first book.
It takes talent to restore compassion for completely forgotten characters. That's what Hopkins does here: even though I couldn't remember a thing about these five narrators (aside from what Hopkins tells us in smooth reminders), I found myself caring about them immensely.
When I read Tricks, I remember being satisfied with the ending. Maybe I'm recalling incorrectly, but I remember not feeling the need for another book. But now that it's here, I understand why Hopkins wrote it. It's filled with her signature character development, her beautifully edgy ideas, and, most of all, her lyrical, enveloping writing. I was hooked in pages, not because I remembered the characters, but because Hopkins's words pulled me along, from line to line, page to page, all the way to the beautiful ending. I'm pretty sure the pages were flying fast enough to start a fire.
For fans of Hopkins's previous material, Traffick is a must-read. For those who haven't heard of Hopkins before (although I'm wondering how that's possible), or haven't read any of her books, give her a go. And when you're blown away: I told you so.