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Twisted Paperback – May 15, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Socially inept Tyler Miller thinks his senior year of high school is going to be a year like no other. After being sentenced to a summer of character building physical labor following a graffiti prank, his reputation at school receives a boost, as do his muscles. Enter super-popular Bethany Milbury, sister of his tormentor, Chip, and daughter of his father's boss. Tyler's newfound physique has attracted her interest and infuriated Chip, leading to ongoing conflicts at school. Likewise, Tyler's inability to meet his volatile father's demands to be an asset, not a liability adds increasing tension. All too quickly, Tyler's life spirals out of control. In the wake of an incident at a wild party that Bethany has invited him to attend, he is left feeling completely isolated at school and alienated at home, a victim of twisted perception. Tyler must tackle the complex issues of integrity, personal responsibility, and identity on his own as he struggles to understand what it means to be a man. His once humorous voice now only conveys naked vulnerability. With gripping scenes and a rousing ending, Anderson authentically portrays Tyler's emotional instability as he contemplates darker and darker solutions to his situation. Readers will rejoice in Tyler's proclamation, I'm not the problem here…I'm tired of feeling like I am. Teenage concerns with sex, alcohol, grades, and family are all tackled with honesty and candor. Once again, Anderson's taut, confident writing will cause this story to linger long after the book is set down.–Erin Schirota, Bronxville Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Tyler Miller was a socially invisible nerd ("Your average piece of drywall who spent too much time playing computer games") before he sprayed some attention-getting graffiti and became a legend. Sentenced to a summer of physical labor, he enters his senior year with new muscles that attract popular Bethany Millbury, whose father is Tyler's dad's boss. On probation for his graffiti stunt, Tyler struggles to balance his consuming crush with pressure that comes from schoolwork and his explosive father, and after Tyler is implicated in a drunken crime, his balancing act falls apart. The dialogue occasionally has the cliched feel of a teen movie ("Party's over." "We're just getting started. And I don't remember inviting you"). What works well here is the frank, on-target humor ("I was a zit on the butt of the student body"), the taut pacing, and the small moments, recounted in Tyler's first-person voice, that illuminate his emotional anguish. Writing for the first time from a male perspective, Anderson skillfully explores identity and power struggles that all young people will recognize. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: HL680L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (May 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142411841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142411841
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 15, 2007
Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: 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.
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