Monday, August 3, 2009

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Twisted Laurie Halse Anderson 978-0142411841 9.99 2007 Viking Pub.

Laurie Halse Anderson doesn’t pick easy topics to write about. From the story of a high school girl who is silent and hides in the janitor’s closet because she has to face the boy who raped her every day at school (Speak) to living through a yellow fever epidemic (Fever 1793) to Twisted, she tackles difficult topics with authentic teen voices. In Twisted, Tyler is a social misfit who is treated as a “problem” so not surprisingly, he acts out. He makes a poor decision and in learning to accept the consequences for his actions he must make decisions about what kind of person he will choose to become. Tyler’s family is emotionally unstable and it is reflected in his own actions. This book deals candidly with the issues of integrity, emotional abuse, self-identity, rage, and violence. At one point, Tyler smashes his father’s train set up. “The temporary rivets holding me together loosened, glowing hot under the pressure that prevented me from turning the bat on my father.....I hit the train table harder so I wouldn’t hit him.” The explosion of violence culminates his decision to choose who he will become, rather than accepting others expectations and perceptions of him. He chooses to make his own decisions rather than to allow himself to continue to twist under other peoples toxic opinions. Tyler’s humor, though increasingly dark throughout the book, and his very realistic voice made me cheer for him all the way through. Highly recommended for High School.

Ann Morgester, Library Curriculum Coordinator, Anchorage School District

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