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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally Honest Insight Into the Teenage American Male Pysche.
TWISTED is a novel from Laurie Halse Anderson (author of SPEAK) that examines the mindset of the typical American suburban teenage male. The story is told from the point of view of Tyler Miller. Tyler was just an average, overlooked high school student until the end of this junior year. He did well in his classes, but because he didn't play sports, come from a wealthy...
Published on April 15, 2007 by tvtv3

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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars twisted indeed
Tyler Miller, former nerd, returns for his senior year with a new buff bod, courtesy of the manual community service he was forced to perform for graffitting the school. To his surprise, school Queen Bee Bethany Milsbury starts paying attention to him. This causes conflict with his nemesis, Bethany's twin brother Chip, and is complicated by the fact that Bethany's dad...
Published on July 28, 2007 by E.B. Bristol


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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally Honest Insight Into the Teenage American Male Pysche., April 15, 2007
By 
tvtv3 "tvtv3" (St. Louis Metro East Area) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
TWISTED is a novel from Laurie Halse Anderson (author of SPEAK) that examines the mindset of the typical American suburban teenage male. The story is told from the point of view of Tyler Miller. Tyler was just an average, overlooked high school student until the end of this junior year. He did well in his classes, but because he didn't play sports, come from a wealthy family, or have a great physique he was a just one of many nameless faces at George Washington High School. Tyler was tired of being a nobody and decided that he would do something to get the entire school to recognize him and at the end of his junior year committed the Foul Deed. The Foul Deed gained him high school infamy, but it also forced him to sell his car and earned him a summer of community service working with the schools maintenance and janitorial staff and six months of probation. He spent most of his summer tarring roofs and doing landscaping work. By the end of the summer he had ended his growth spurt topping out around six feet and his flabby frame was as solid as chiseled granite.

Tyler likes his new look and isn't the only one. The most popular girl in school, the queen bee, Bethany Milbury suddenly starts noticing Tyler. Tyler's sister, Hannah, who begins high school as a freshman also notices Tyler's new physique and uses it to her advantage on the first day of school. Tyler had liked Bethany since grade school. She is his dream girl. But there are some big obstacles. Besides the obvious, that Bethany and Tyler are from two completely different worlds, there's also the fact that Bethany's Dad is Tyler's Dad's boss and that Bethany's twin brother Chip is Tyler's worst enemy. Somehow Tyler is able to overcome these obstacles and the school year begins as the best of his high school career. But events at a rowdy party after a football game turn everything upside down and Tyler finds himself looking at a possible jail sentence for a crime he didn't commit. He thinks about committing suicide and he plans to run away. Everything in his life is all screwed up and the only thing he is sure about is how complicated and twisted life has become.

I know that Laurie Halse Anderson gained a huge amount of public and critical acclaim with her novel, SPEAK. I haven't read that book, yet, but knew from recommendations from friends who have read that book what an excellent writer she is. TWISTED just reinforced everything I had been told.

The story is a very honest and brutal examination at the inner struggles that a typical suburban teenage American male goes through. I work with teenagers on a regular basis and I was once an American teenage male myself (though I wasn't from the suburbs) so I can relate a great deal to the character of Tyler Miller. However, I also found the novel to be rather disturbing because in reading about Tyler and his struggles I see how far we (as people) have changed in the past ten to fifteen years and it frightens me.

We live in a culture and society that is constantly changing. Some people would argue that these changes are for the better. To an extent, I would agree. But only to an extent. Change can be good, but it isn't always good and change just for the sake of change is very seldom a good thing. Traditions and the status quo can sometimes become a barrier to creativity and originality, but they have their place in society and culture even though they are unfortunately systematically being erased little by little. In such a culture, boys no longer know how to become men. Physically, many boys appear to be men, but their emotions and mentality remain that of a boy. Advertising saturates us with messages that conflict with our innermost sense of self, yet appeals to the most primal urges within each of us and this causes old boys and young men to have a mental life full of twisted confusion and frustration.

Then there's the public education system itself. I'm a committed teacher, but I'm also a realist when it comes to educating secondary students. Anyone who doesn't want to acknowledge that our public education system is messed up is living in an imaginary world. In the United States we have attempted to do what no other country in history has ever done before by providing the same basic education to everyone regardless of ability. It's a noble ideal. Unfortunately the ideal will never be realized if the current system remains the way it is. Extremely talented and creative children are being left behind, their gifts and talents unacknowledged and unrecognized while someone who is able to fill in enough little circles properly in the right amount of time is lavished with praise. Then there's the whole issue with how public high schools in America have become little more than semi-restricted centers of social experimentation instead of the pantheons devoted to education, civic training, and morality that they are supposed to be.

TWISTED deals with all these issues and at times it can be quite bleak. Yet, the book is a book of hope. Tyler has to face his inner demons but they don't ultimately conquer him. Not only that, but he's not alone. Outside of his family he has his best friend, Yoda. At school his favorite teacher is his English teacher, Mr. Salvatore who is concerned for Tyler and his well being. These characters in addition to Tyler's mother, sister, and the high school janitorial crew help Tyler realize how unique and special that he is. He recognizes this, but doesn't fully understand it for quite sometime. Every teenager needs people like this in their lives and I weep for those who don't have anyone or think that they don't because I've seen first hand what happens to kids who don't.

TWISTED is prefaced by a short warning that declares "NOTE: THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR CHILDREN." I'm glad that warning is there because though TWISTED is marketed as a young adult novel, it's a novel not written for children and is aimed at adults. There is a lot of crude and foul language, there is a great deal of violence, and the book is filled with images of sexuality. I know that there are many teenagers will read this book and I hope that when they do they can take something positive away from it. However, I hope that more adults than teenagers will read it. However, TWISTED is so insightful and powerful that it's a book that any adult who works with teenage boys should require themselves to read.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars twisted indeed, July 28, 2007
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This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
Tyler Miller, former nerd, returns for his senior year with a new buff bod, courtesy of the manual community service he was forced to perform for graffitting the school. To his surprise, school Queen Bee Bethany Milsbury starts paying attention to him. This causes conflict with his nemesis, Bethany's twin brother Chip, and is complicated by the fact that Bethany's dad is his father's boss. When he rejects her (drunken) advances at a party, things become complicated when anonymous nude camera photos of Bethany wind up on the Internet. Suddenly, the police are paying attention to the former school defacer and he faces hostility from the other students. Like Melinda in "Speak," he has a dysfunctional family and minimal support from peers and adults. As he begins to implode from the pressure, finding a way to clear his name and stand up to the bullies in his life looks more and more difficult.

Pros: The sympathetic characters (Hannah and Yoda) were appealing, but the bullies and Bethany, the school princess, were stereotypes. Other messages were basically what we've seen in teen movie after teen movie. Abusing your kid is bad because he will eventually snap. (Ferris Bueller's Day Off). Messing up in Little League scars child and dad for life. (Parenthood). Rich people are soulless, decadent zombies. (Virtually every movie ever made.) I wish the author had tried to turn the formula a little more inside out, the way the "Ordinary People" author did when she made the Bad Dad a Mom. I enjoyed the book until the end, but felt it painted an inaccurate portrait of what recovering from clinical depress is like. It's usually two steps forward and four steps back at a time for the average person. You don't just reach a turning point, gain the ability to stand up to anyone in your way, and then your tormentors start backing down in record numbers. Melinda's journey from victim to survivor in "Speak" was far more believable because it took place over an entire school year, not a semester like in "Twisted."

(This is where the review loses objectivity.)
Some reviewers have written about the great message this book sends. I disagree. Standing up to one's abusive parent is NOT the same as facing a school bully or even a school authority figure, like a principal, and to imply that it is does a disservice to people who are victims of child abuse and who have to co-exist at least until they come of age. Threatening one's father with a baseball bat probably won't have the same effect as it does in the book, i.e. Domineering Dad bursting into tears and apologizing for years of cruelty. If they were capable of feeling such remorse, they probably wouldn't be abusing you that badly in the first place. Right?. Taking Tyler's route might make you feel like more of a "man," but you're likely to wind up on the streets or in the hospital. At least outside of YA lit or Hollywood. Maybe this isn't what the author intended at all, but it's what I wound up taking away from the book.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Inisght and story, September 28, 2007
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
Laurie Halse Anderson is the author of 5 novels and 3 picture books. Her books have been nominated for numerous awards and many recommendations. Each of her books that I have read has been excellent and this one is no exception. The dust jacket states "Everybody told me to be a man ... Nobody told me how." Anderson captures the essence of the journey from a boy to a man.

Tyler Miller had been caught defacing school property, and now he is a hero to some, and an outcast to others, and is trying to find his way in the world. He has done community service all summer at the school, and worked for a landscaping company.

Now he must return to school and face the students and teachers who know what he did and the punishment he received for it. The school year begins badly; at a party he is knocked into a tray of glasses and cuts the feet of the Alpha female of the school, who happens to be the women of his dreams, Bethany Milbury.

Tyler is forced to take Bethany a cake as an apology for the accident. They become friends, and seem to be sort of dating. Then Bethany gets trashed at a party, and Tyler does the right thing. Yet Tyler broke his curfew from the court and that is just the beginning of some serious problems in his life. Unfortunately someone takes advantage of Bethany while she is drunk and most people think it is Tyler because of his reputation.

Most people think he did it. The cops keep coming by. He is attacked in school and out of school. He struggles with what to do, how to be a man. Can he learn how to be a man; can he take control of his life that seems completely out of control?

This book does an amazing job of capturing the angst of growing up, of finding your place in the world. It shows clearly the transition from boy to man, and then end of high school and moving on to the rest of life.

Anderson, as a woman, surprised me with he ability to write about becoming a man; her insight and clarity are awesome. This book should become a classic. Much like her earlier novel Speak I believe this book should be on the reading list for every high school or university Children's Literature course.
The book leaves you wanting more. The reader will want to know what happens next. Where is Tyler in a year, 3, 5 or 10? These questions will haunt you after you finish the book.

(First Published in Imprint 2007-09-28 as 'Short Titles With Varied Depths.')Speak
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Bad Things Happen to Decent People, January 22, 2008
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
Tyler Miller has always been among the oppressed, from the time he was in middle through all his high school years. Until one day when he decides to make a statement by spray painting the school; suddenly, through arrest and a summer spent doing hard labor for community service, Tyler's transformed into one of the dangerous crowd. When he finally catches the eye of Bethany Milsbury, he thinks things are at last going to go well for him. Unfortunately, his home life and doing the decent thing bring his world down around him, and choices must be made.

Gut-wrenching at times, Twisted follows Tyler as he comes to grips with who he is as a person and what he's willing to sacrifice. Anderson is a gifted storyteller and she gives Tyler a strong voice as he faces more arrest and becoming an outcast in his school community. Twisted is dark, and many teens will recognize the typical high school cliques. My biggest gripe is the lack of closure; Anderson gives us a realistic tale and leaves us hanging as to how it will all turn out. Good writing, though, and definitely an interesting plot that will engage. I'm not sure that enjoyed is the correct word, but I did find myself unable to put it down. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Into the Teen Male Psyche That Isn't As Twisted As The Title Suggests, September 30, 2010
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
Twisted centers on Tyler, the used to be nerd, now somewhat bad boy who bloomed into a full grown, six foot hottie over the summer. With his newfound ripped physique, he may actually have a chance with the hottest girl in the school, the girl of his dreams, but his feelings have to contend with his dysfunctional family and his slowly crumbling world.

Character-wise, Tyler is fantastic. I couldn't put the book down because I was just so attached to the guy. Anderson writes from the teenage male perspective and does it so wondrously. Tyler is the epitome of teenage boy. He's moody and angry and lustful and beyond hormonal, but he's also a real character.

Tyler's funny and cares about his mom and his sister and he tries so hard to be a good guy. The things that happen to him are a bit out of his control, but that's where the book gets so good. The escalating tension builds so much throughout the story that I found myself just waiting for the explosion and Anderson does not disappoint.

Tyler's inner thoughts are vividly raw with his emotions. His past mistake (just the one really) becomes the center of his world, the single factor that drives his senior year. Anderson probes Tyler's family life so we see way past the pristine surface to a family that is falling apart bit by bit; from Tyler, a high school senior on parole, to Hannah, the freshman who wants to express herself and break free from her parents rules, to the mom who is fast becoming and alcoholic, and finally to the dad who is overworked, easily agitated, and constantly verbally abusive. Like I said, the family is twisted, but their imperfections are what make the entire story so easy to just get.

The book is stamped "THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR CHILDREN" but it isn't really all that graphic, at least in my opinion. Sure, there's talk of erections and cold showers and a scene alluding to masturbation, but Tyler is 18 years old. If people don't think that teens know, think about, or have sex, then they're fooling themselves. Tyler's world doesn't even revolve around the opposite sex. The plot focuses much more on him as a person and how much he has changed and how his family is a little twisted. This is definitely not for the younger crowd, but with the warning right there in the beginning, I don't see how/why it needs to be challenged in high schools.

Twisted is an incredibly well-written book that's easy to relate to and impossible to put down. Filled with lusty thoughts an uproarious humor, Anderson taps into the teenage male psyche in a way few female authors are able to do. Take the time to read this book, you won't regret it.

Opening line: I spent the last Friday of summer vacation spreading hot, sticky tar across the roof of George Washington High. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line (I have two): I scared myself, because once you've thought long and hard enough about doing something that is colossally stupid, you feel like you've actually done it, and then you're never quite sure what your limits are. ~ pg. 95

The guy in the mirror looked like somebody had wrapped his heart in barbed wire and pulled. He wasn't just a loser. He was lost, no-compass lost, don't-speak-the-language lost.
I have screwed up everything. ~ pg. 189
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurie Halse Anderson does it again!, January 2, 2008
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This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
Laurie Halse Anderson has scored another hit with Twisted. I am a huge fan of her book Speak and think that this book is just as good as that one. As a high school librarian I am always looking for well-written books where the protagonists are realistic and relatible. This book gives us both. Plus, I like it that the main character is a male. I can recommend this book to both male and female students and I do.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal BUT needed, and NOT for children, April 22, 2007
By 
S. Yost "SAYHEY" (Bethel Park, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
I picked up this book the week of the Virginia Tech massacres, and I had no idea what Twisted was about. Halfway through, I was desperate to put it down because of the intensity, believing I knew where it was heading. Thankfully, astonishingly, I was wrong.

Twisted should not be with the young adult sections of Border's, Barnes and Noble, or of library bookshelves. The themes are too intense for a lack of maturity or discussion. It takes a phenomenal author to pull this type of modern tale off, and Miss Anderson is just that.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guilty until proven innocent, May 13, 2007
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
We all have moments in our past that we are not proud of, but Tyler Miller has paid his debt to society yet finds himself being punished again and again and again by his peers, those in authority and even his parents. No one trusts him to make the right decisions.

So when some pornographic pictures of a girl Tyler likes end up on the Internet after a wild party, Tyler is the number one suspect. Though the evidence is sketchy at best, Tyler finds himself being jerked around by the police, sent to an in-school suspension "for his own protection" and staring down the barrel of his father's handgun in a futile attempt to put an end to his misery. When the lines between what is real and the imaginations of what could be fade into nonexistence, even Tyler begins to question his own innocence.

Though the book starts a little slow and smacks of a bad summer teen romance movie, "Twisted" quickly takes on a deeper tone and gives great insight into the life of a boy who is struggling to become a better man than anyone gives him hope to believe he can become. Anderson's fast-paced narration and glimpses into the mind of a troubled teen will make you question the labels that we so freely place on the people around us.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review, April 3, 2007
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book, but after reading "Speak" I decided to give it a try. It started out funny, and got deeper as the story progressed. It deals with serious issues of teenagers today. I read this book in a matter of hours, it was impossible to put down. I was very impressed with the style of writing, the reader really gets to know the characters. Laurie Halse Anderson found a way to put humor into the story, but at the same time keep it deep and meaningful. 5 stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insight to a boy's life? Ehh.. Okay, February 20, 2012
This review is from: Twisted (Kindle Edition)
Twisted is about Tyler Miller. Nerd, unnoticed, and uncool until, he decides to graffiti the school, which ends badly for him. Set on parole, Tyler Miller suddenly becomes the mysterious, tough guy who secretly loves Bethany Milbury, sister to Tyler's arch-nemesis Chip Milbury, and daughter to Tyler's father's boss. When Bethany starts to take an interest in Tyler, everything spins out of control when they go to a party together: a drinking party. Bethany decides to drink and tries to push things with Tyler. He wants it just as much as she does, but not like this. He refuses, and Bethany decides to run off to her brother's friend. Laurie Halse Anderson illustrates the difference of being a boy, to becoming a man.
This book was one of few that came from the guy's point of view. Tyler gets stronger everyday as he's tested in school with his grades, his social life being strongly disliked, and his family being ripped apart.
It was a good book:good plot, good characters (ish more on that later), and humorous. The only giant annoyance for me was that I couldn't tell if this was meant to be imagined as a real life scenario, or a action-cartoon-comedy. The book opens with Tyler spreading tar on the roof of his high school with "Dopey, Toothless, and Joe." The book never gets around to mentioning their real names (so far as I remember), so we are left to suppose that those ARE their real names. In the next few paragraphs, it mentions Tyler's reaction to seeing Bethany washing cars at a car wash and it say's that his tongue drops out of his mouth and sizzles on the hot tar. Also, we don't figure out that Tyler's best friend's name is actually Calvin, but is referred to as Yoda in 70% of the book. I didn't believe it wasn't supposed to feel like a cartoon until I was well I was pretty far in. But good points on it were that at moments, Tyler would have a conversation inside his head with certain people or would think of how he would want a scenario to play out, and I really got inside his mind.
I also didn't really like the characters in general. Individually, I could pick out many great traits, but when they were all put together they didn't work as well as I'd like. Tyler, the bad boy who cares under it all. He wanted something genuine with Bethany, which is why he refrains, wanting to save her for a more meaningful moment instead of wasting it when she is drunk. I thought that took a lot of will power because he's been lusting over her, yet he did that for her sake. And Bethany, the super-ultra-popular girl. Nothing about her struck me as positive, I just really didn't like her. Even after her "issue" with Tyler is resolved, she ignores his as if he wasn't even born, she doesn't even apologize, and that made me want to crawl into that book and slap her silly.
But anyway, I think it's an okay book, not something I would spend a lot of effort reading, maybe a light "for-fun" reading opportunity, but if it doesn't stick for you, it's okay.
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Twisted
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson (Paperback - May 15, 2008)
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