Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Tyler Miller has always been a nerd, but his graffiti spray painting prank the previous spring has changed his life in more ways than he could have ever expected. He’s spent the summer doing mandatory community service which involved heavy physical labor, in addition to a part-time job landscaping. He begins his senior year tan, muscled and with a dangerous reputation from his stunt the previous year. He is definitely not the same invisible kid who fly under the radar at Washington High. He even has his own probation officer he needs to check in with monthly. It’s not just the popular students who now notice Tyler, but the beautiful queen bee Bethany Milbury, has taken a sudden interest in him. That she happens to be his stressed out, workaholic dad’s boss’ daughter doesn’t deter Ty in the least. Everything goes wrong, however, after a party she insists on Tyler attending where she gets so drunk, he ends up driving her and her bullying brother home in their own Jeep. The next day suggestive photos of a nude Bethany are posted online, and everyone, even the cops, are sure Tyler was the culprit.
I liked this book so much, maybe even more that Anderson’s classic Speak. It’s told entirely from Ty’s perspective in the first person point of view, and the writer has captured the voice of a smart, insecure and suddenly infamous teenage boy lost in a desperate situation. His inner dialog is absolutely spot on. “The short independent film Bethany Milbury Hates Tyler Miller was playing on a constant loop in my head, I tried everything to drive it out: watched MTV, listened to music as loud as the volume dial would let me. I even tried beating my head against the wall. It left a dent, but it didn’t stop her voice from mocking me…” What I especially liked about the book was that none of the characters were stereotypical, and the father was even extremely flawed. They reacted in realistic ways to the books many issues, with an ending that felt real, intead of contrived. I highly recommend this title to all teen readers looking for an engaging and realistic story. Fans of Anderson’s other titles will be especially pleased that Speak wasn’t her only great title.