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.