Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Book Review: Twisted

Title: Twisted
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Young Adult Literary Fiction
Rating: B+

Abbreviated Summary (from BN.com): High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background. 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 school, in his family, and in the world.

Review: So, here's the deal: I totally picked this book up at the library because it looked interesting. The cover looked a little edgy (nothing too bubble gum) and I've been on the lookout for YA books with male protagonists... I've been trying to get inside the minds of high school males (I know, it seems weird, right?) because I'm not sure I've been writing the guys in my novel very faithfully. After reading this (and starting to read Doing It by Melvin Burgess, authored by a guy) it appears that if you involve a fair amount of erections and angst about said erections then you've got high school guys pretty well locked down.

Halse Anderson does a fair job with this book, the characters are interesting for the most part and she actually makes the parents complex and interesting--something that doesn't necessarily always get done well in YA literature. Additionally, she uses a first-person narration relatively well, again something that's not that great to read in a lot of YA literature, but I actually liked the way Tyler's mind worked.

Her conflict/climax in the book was really interesting, in my opinion, I didn't see it going the way she directed it, but it was pretty compelling all around on that front. The ending doesn't necessarily provide a picture-perfect resolution, but you know that Tyler got the ending that he needed and she leaves it a little open, which I like, because then you get the ending that you need... make of that what you will.

All in all, not necessarily the most poignant book on teenage angst I've ever read (hence the B+ rating), but a good, quick, light read that is probably about as far into the twisted mind of a 17-year-old guy that you would want to go.

[Side Note: I've picked up Halse Anderson's first novel, Speak, which does seem to be a little less light-hearted, and I'll be reviewing that here "soon."]

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