June 09, 2007

48 Hour Book Challenge: Twisting in the Wind

Tyler made the mistake of believing that he needed to 'leave his mark' on his high school, but his summer of paying for that mistake, doing community service with the janitors and digging holes for a landscaping company has done him some good. For one thing, Tyler's senior year finds him stronger, which helps him avoid Chip, who's always trying to push him around. For another thing, after a summer of manual labor and not thinking about anything much, Tyler is way tanned and buffed and dangerous looking -- and more interesting to girls. One girl in particular is very interested, maybe... Bethany, the most popular girl in school.

The only problem with Bethany? Her Dad is Tyler's Dad's boss. Her brother... is Chip.
Dad would go ballistic if Tyler ever went after Bethany, or beat Chip at anything -- Dad's favorite game is to blaming Tyler for all of his troubles, for his mother's migraines and probably for global warming and the national debt, too. There's no way this love affair thing with Bethany and Tyler is ever going to fly.

But there's no telling Tyler's anything, especially after Bethany flirts with him, kisses him in public, and invites him to a party that changes everything. It makes a Twisted kind of sense to Tyler what happens next. Once a person has been blamed for everything, haunted, hunted and humiliated both at home and at school, he begins to expect this kind of thing. Of course everybody is looking at him for what is burned into the front lawn of the school. Of course, once those pictures from the party start circulating, everyone starts to talk about Tyler. Escape, by any means necessary, is the only way to go...

Once again, Laurie Halse Anderson lets young adults in difficult situations know that there is a way to survive... which means choosing not to let someone else kill you, one word at a time. Difficult, painful and realistic, this is definitely a book for older YA's.

1 comment:

Jennifer Soloway said...

I was excited to read this book--I'm a big fan of Laurie Halse Anderson. She has a knack for creating a strong young voice using first person. The story is well-written with great pacing, but I was disappointed with the second half of the book, especially the ending. SPOILER ALERT! As a reader, I was much more interested in the conflicts with Bethany: both the attack and what had happened between her and Tyler. I really wanted to know the outcome of both, and I felt somewhat cheated by the unnamed 16-year-old assailant, protected because of his age, especially since the entire book swirled around Tyler previous crime, that, despite his age, became very public. That said, I think satisfying endings are extremely difficult to write. And Anderson always tells a compelling story with a cast of engaging characters. Perhaps I am being tough on this book because I had such high expectations. All in all, I still love Anderson's work.