Friday, July 16, 2010

Twisted

I got a bit of whiplash, shifting from the world of Sarah Dessen into the world of Laurie Halse Anderson. The two authors whom I have read the most this year might not even exist on the same planet, when it comes to high school life. Leaving Dessen’s pastel summer for Anderson’s brutal school year is rough.

There is a note at the beginning of Twisted says it is not for children. I’d agree with that—it doesn’t belong in a middle school library. I know that high schoolers will eat it up. I was certainly up all night so I could finish it.

Tyler can’t seem to catch a break. Not only was he teased his entire life, but his one small act of rebellion landed him on probation and with the label “freak”. Still, at least his manual labor made him fit and attractive to the girls that ignored him before. While Tyler tests his looks, to the anger of the jocks, he also must deal with a miserable home situation and failing grades. When a sudden accusation leaves him defenseless and ostracized, his thoughts turn to suicide.

This is the first LHA novel that I’ve read from the male perspective. It can be easy to forget how vicious high school can be for boys, whose coping skills are very different from girls. I think that all high school teachers should read Twisted as a reminder of how bullying happens in many different ways.

I always hope that LHA’s novels aren’t truly realistic, but I know they are, so I am happy they exist for those who need them. A high school unit on bullying would be supported well by Tyler’s honest voice.

1 comment:

  1. I also love Halse Anderson books, but I can't think of reading one of hers from the male perspective either. I also have her book Prom in my TBR pile.

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