High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background - average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his fathers boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.
In Twisted, the acclaimed Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a very controversial subject: what it means to be a man today. Fans and new readers alike will be captured by Tyler's pitch perfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the authors award-winning, widely read work.
General: I've already said that Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my very most favorite authors. And I must say, I absolutely love this book. It has to be one of my favorites by her, certainly tied with Speak in my mind. To me, this novel is one of her best novels, and her most overlooked novel. So although I read it a little while ago, I'm picking it up again so I can write a review and bring people's attention to this astounding book.
Twisted is a book about a boy forced all too quickly to become a man. This is the first book that Laurie Halse Anderson has done with a male main character. All the LHA books I've read have been in the first person, and to me, they have all been a truly realistic and powerfully accurate voice. This has not changed with Twisted, surprisingly enough. Although LHA, obviously a female, was daring enough to take on a male main character, not an ounce has been sacrificed of her true voice. And I'm glad.
Like many of her books, Twisted is not an effortless easy read. It's painful and it's raw. The main character, Tyler, was recently busted for graffiti at his high school. He's been forced to do community service during the summer. Suddenly, his reputation has changed drastically. Some are horrified by what he's done, and they certainly let him know that, such as his parents. Some, however, think he's just about the coolest dude in school, including Bethany, the hottest chick at school, also the daughter of Tyler's father's boss. All too soon, Tyler finds himself in a bind. And it gets tighter and tighter until he has no way of knowing what to do anymore.
Like I said...I'm a little bit in love with this book. It really spoke to me and I loved every second of it. It's powerful. I took it out of the library and when I finished it, I instantly decided I wanted my own copy. So now I'm the proud owner of one of the best books I've read in a long time.
Plot: I feel like I'm rambling. But I love this book. I have no complaints about the plot of this book. I loved the way you could watch and feel Tyler's hope build up about his relationship with Bethany, and could glimpse his hope spiraling downward faster and faster. I could feel his pain as his home life fell apart, and his relationship with his parents, particularly his father, shattered. As the reader, you have the opportunity to sit there with the book in your hands and feel yourself becoming one of Tyler's best friends. You just have to wonder while you watch him struggle...will he make it in the end? Will he fight? Or give in?
Characters: Tyler is a very likeable character. He's likeable, and easy to get to know. He's a well-rounded, well-written character. It's impressive.
Other characters in the novel are not quite as likeable. But good characters or not, all of the members of the story are full and real and there's not much else I can say about that.
Like I said, the relationships are easy to follow, and very delicate. Relationships are built, are broken, are shattered beyond repair. And it just makes me love Laurie Halse Anderson all the more. She's so great.
Overall, this book is amazing. It's real. It's raw. It's painful. It's powerful. And for some, it may even be life-changing. I do truly feel like this book is overlooked, as it rests in the shadow of Speak, Wintergirls, and other more popular books by Laurie Halse Anderson. I hope this review can bring it to others' attention so some people can grow to love it like I do.