After committing an end of school year prank where he graffitied the school, seventeen year old Tyler spends his whole summer vacation working off his community service by doing back-breaking labor. The punishment did more for his muscles than anything and he returns to school his senior year a whole new person. Armed with the new physique, he attracts the attention of his dream girl, Bethany, the sister of the school bully and the daughter of his father’s boss. When unfortunate events at occur at a party, the police, the school administrators and his classmates are quick to assume that “troublemaker” Tyler did it. The result leads to alienation at school, mistrust at home and torment from bullies. Through it all, Tyler must learn how to take responsibility for his actions and become an adult.
Laurie Halse Anderson has a talent of finding the right voice for her characters. She writes about deep subjects, yet she does so with humor and sarcasm. Twisted definitely upholds this tone. Issues like suicide, sex, alcohol, violence, bullying and family problems are handled realistically, without becoming too depressing. The character of Yoda (nicknamed due to his Star Wars obsession) provides comic relief and is a great support for Tyler.
I also liked the family dynamics of the book. The sibling relationship between Tyler and his freshman sister, Hannah, is refreshing. While they have disagreements like all siblings, they love and support each other fiercely. It is a nice break from the stereotypical sibling squabbling that is prevalent in many stories. The relationship development between Tyler and his parents is at times heart-breaking, yet hopeful in the end.
Overall, I give Twisted…
Plot - 3 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 4 ½ bookmarks
Moral Lessons - 4 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Jared Keeso (Tyler), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Yoda), Jodelle Ferland (Hannah), Sara Gadon (Bethany), Ed Westwick (Chip)