Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson is a really fine writer. She captures the voice of teenagers and tells tragic, difficult stories with amazing humor. Twisted has a male for a main character. Tyler Miller, a former loser who starts his senior year muscular and tough looking with a bad-boy reputation due to an act of vandalism he committed the previous year. It's the kind of combination that catches the eye of Bethany Milbury, queen of the school. She used to think Tyler was a total nerd, but now she's flirting with him and Tyler can't resist her charms. The downside is that Bethany's brother, Chip, is a real jerk, and Bethany's father is Tyler's father's boss. Things go wrong for Tyler at a big party, and while he is trying to be a good guy and not sleep with Bethany, he is accused of uploading pornographic photographs of her to the Internet. Thus begins Tyler's downward spiral which nearly ends in suicide. This book has mature themes—I don't recommend it to middle schoolers except for mature 8th grade readers—but it is compelling and well-written and very real. I wish high school guys would read this book and discuss the choices that Tyler makes.