Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Hardcover, 250 pages
Date Published: March 20, 2007
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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 father’s 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 pitchperfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the author’s award-winning, widely read work.
Character-wise, Tyler is fantastic. I couldn’t put the book down because I was just so attached to the guy. Anderson writes from the teenage male perspective and does it so wondrously. Tyler is the epitome of teenage boy. He’s moody and angry and lustful and beyond hormonal, but he’s also a real character.
Tyler's funny and cares about his mom and his sister and he tries so hard to be a good guy. The things that happen to him are a bit out of his control, but that’s where the book gets so good. The escalating tension builds so much throughout the story that I found myself just waiting for the explosion and Anderson does not disappoint.
Tyler’s inner thoughts are vividly raw with his emotions. His past mistake (just the one really) becomes the center of his world, the single factor that drives his senior year. Anderson probes Tyler’s family life so we see way past the pristine surface to a family that is falling apart bit by bit; from Tyler, a high school senior on parole, to Hannah, the freshman who wants to express herself and break free from her parents rules, to the mom who is fast becoming and alcoholic, and finally to the dad who is overworked, easily agitated, and constantly verbally abusive. Like I said, the family is twisted, but their imperfections are what make the entire story so easy to just get.
The book is stamped “THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR CHILDREN” but it isn’t really all that graphic, at least in my opinion. Sure, there’s talk of erections and cold showers and a scene alluding to masturbation, but Tyler is 18 years old. If people don’t think that teens know, think about, or have sex, then they’re fooling themselves. Tyler’s world doesn’t even revolve around the opposite sex. The plot focuses much more on him as a person and how much he has changed and how his family is a little twisted. This is definitely not for the younger crowd, but with the warning right there in the beginning, I don’t see how/why it needs to be challenged in high schools.
Twisted is an incredibly well-written book that’s easy to relate to and impossible to put down. Filled with lusty thoughts an uproarious humor, Anderson taps into the teenage male psyche in a way few female authors are able to do. Take the time to read this book, you won’t regret it.
Opening line: I spent the last Friday of summer vacation spreading hot, sticky tar across the roof of George Washington High. ~ pg. 1
Favorite line (I have two):
I scared myself, because once you've thought long and hard enough about doing something that is colossally stupid, you feel like you've actually done it, and then you're never quite sure what your limits are. ~ pg. 95
And this one:
The guy in the mirror looked like somebody had wrapped his heart in barbed wire and pulled. He wasn’t just a loser. He was lost, no-compass lost, don’t-speak-the-language lost.
I have screwed up everything. ~ pg. 189
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.