Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Realistic Literature 1

Title: Twisted
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Speak
Copyright: 2007


Before he beefed up over the summer and before he was busted for doing graffiti on school property, Tyler Miller was known as Nerd Boy. Since his summer job, his punishment for his moment of graffiti, with the school's custodial staff, Miller has filled out and captured the attention of the most popular girl in school, Bethany Milbury, the sister of his biggest enemy and the daughter of his father's boss. Miller begins to live the popular life, but he questions every move he makes and every person in his life. There are moments where his disgust with those around him makes him contemplate the possibility of bombing the school. As the book's tagline states, "Everybody told him to be a man, Nobody told him how."


I am a fan of Anderson. I have read all her books, with the exception being Chains. This is her first book with a male protagonist; I believe Anderson beautifully and accurately captures the complexity of the modern teenage male. Like all of Anderson's works, this book contains a few choice expletives and violent situations and thoughts, but there are reasons for those particular words and themes. Anderson's books, Twisted is not an exception, are wonderful for class discussion on writing and modern young adult life.

I think this book is more suitable for high schoolers; middle school students may not understand some of complexities and Anderson's sarcastic tone.


  1. Your summary of this book and Tyler Miller remind me of a couple of books I've read recently. E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is about a young girl, Frankie, who also changes dramatically over the summer--grows up physically, shall we say. She is amazed at how differently she is treated because of her looks and longs to be part of the crowd for her mind more than her looks. I really enjoyed this book and you might as well.

    Also, I read Inexcusable by Chris Lynch. The main character in this book is also a male. His status changes at school because of a sports incident and this leads to popularity he's not quite sure how to handle. This book was a bit disturbing but I'm glad I can say I read it.

  2. I read Twisted last year while reading all of the Georgia Peach Award nominees. I enjoyed the story because I could relate to feeling "out of the in-crowd" in high school. Most teens just want to be accepted by the popular kids. I think that is why we celebrate Tyler's triumph.