Monday, October 11, 2010

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

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. 
{taken from}

The author, Laurie Halse Anderson, has pulled off another superb job writing about deep issues that plague the lives of not just today's teenagers, but teenagers from yesterday and tomorrow.  Everyone can relate to this story.  The main character, Tyler, is a high school student trying to find his place in this world.  His past of being beaten up & picked on by his peers in middle school has numbed him through out his high school years.  He wants to be noticed, and not just for his geeky ways.  After leaving graffiti on school property, he is now viewed as the "bad boy" by his peers.  Even his parents are confused as to where this behavior has come from.  Tyler seems to be confused as well.  At first his character enjoys being in the spotlight for a change, even if it's for the wrong reasons.  His high school crush has taken interest in him & he soon finds himself in way over his head.  Tyler realizes that he is still the same person being bullied by his peers.  Nothing has changed at all.

As the story continues, we see Tyler unraveling at the seams. He is accused of doing something illegal at a high school party, but because he already has a rap sheet it's easy for everyone to put the blame on him.  Tyler won't admit to doing something he did not do, but he soon feels like it's easier for everyone (including himself) to act as the loser that everyone has portrayed him to be.  This story takes on a new meaning as we watch Tyler beat himself up mentally & emotionally.  His father adds to the pressure & the abuse as well.  We begin to wonder just how much Tyler can take.  Would it just be easier for everyone if he were to disappear? Should he catch a train & head out of town? or pull the trigger & end it all?  

Twisted goes inside the mind of an adolescent boy who has been dealt a bad hand.  Tyler has two choices, he can become what everyone is saying about him and be the waste of life he thinks he is, or rise above it and be the man he is capable of being.  I enjoyed this story because Tyler's perspective on things are real.  He doesn't sugar coat the realities of being a teenage boy.  You can feel his pain from constantly being picked on, but you can also feel his shame in hiding it... even from himself.  I found myself rooting for Tyler and wanting him to pick the better option for himself.  This was a good story, with a realistic ending.  Not everything in life is wrapped up in a nice pretty bow, it may have loose ends.. and be a bit twisted.  But ultimately we have the power over our own lives & we can make choices for ourselves.  So which path will it be?



  1. I recently read and enjoyed Speak then enjoyed reviewing it! Thanks to the whole Speak Loudly Movement. I'm looking forward to more of Laurie's work. It looks like I should pick this one up.

    Great Review!

    Mad Scientist

  2. Don't you just love LHA? She's not afraid to tackle the tough stuff. Great job on this make a great point: It doesn't all have to be wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end. I have to remind myself of that next time I get to an ending that isn't quite picture-perfect.

  3. Bullying is a very important issue and it is good that someone as well known as Laurie addresses it. Thanks for the review

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  4. I just reviewed this book myself- I definitely found Tyler's perspective to be really realistic. Great review!


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