“Twisted” by Laurie Halse Anderson

29 May


Many of you may know author Laurie Halse Anderson from her previous novels, including "Speak" and "Fever 1793." In this book, we get the first-person story of Tyler Miller, a senior in high school who, over the course of a long summer of landscaping and manual labor, has transformed himself from an unseen dork into a handsome, tan, cut young man. This change is quickly noticed by Bethany Milbury, the daughter of Mr. Miller's boss and the twin sister of class bully Chip Milbury.

From a literally painful start at a summer party, Tyler and the popular, beautiful Bethany become closer as the school year progresses. Bethany evens begins sitting at lunch in the cafeteria with Tyler, his nerdy best friend Yoda, and his freshman sister Hannah. Unfortunately, things soon take a dramatic turn for the worse. Shortly after a wild party, when a sober Tyler resists a very drunken Bethany's advances, scandalous photos of a passed out Bethany are posted on a website. Since Tyler is still on probation from an idiotic graffiti prank the year before, everyone, including his father, classmates, teachers, and principal, immediately thinks he's the culprit. Tyler is quickly segregated at school, forced to study by himself all day long in a lonely room, while Chip and his friends threaten and attack him at every chance. The absolute worst may be the reaction of Tyler's father. While Mr. Miller has always been something of a demanding jerk, his constant insults and tirades truly begin to break Tyler down, to the point where he thinks not only about running away but about ending his own life.

The devastating scenes where Tyler holds his father's gun are easily some of the best in the book. In fact, what's really great about "Twisted" is how real the entire book feels, from Tyler's awkwardness at school to his giddy pursuit of Bethany to his downward spiral. I really believed that Tyler's world could fall apart so quickly and completely, and I think other readers will, too. This is one of the best books I've read in a while, and I would absolutely recommended it to high school readers.

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Posted by on May 29, 2007 in Uncategorized


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