Twisted - by Laurie Halse Anderson

"Tyler struggles to keep his sanity when he is falsely accused."

Twisted, a novel written by the critically acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson, has captivated reader’s attention since its publication in March of 2007. Combining comedy, grief, and excitement into one novel, Anderson brilliantly pieces together an extraordinary saga of an average urban teenage boy whose life is turned completely flipped upside down after a series of staggering events that occur at the beginning his senior year in high school.

Tyler Miller is completely overlooked at George Washington High because he is not an athlete, has only one true friend, and does not fit into a certain wealthy social class. At the close of his junior year, Tyler realizes that he is absolutely sick of being a "loser" and decides to vandalize the school building with the intent of gaining attention and earning a reputation as a class clown. Although he receives general praise from his fellow student body after he is caught, he faces severe consequences including probation for six months, losing his car privileges, and also serving as a volunteer on the high school’s janitorial staff over the summer.

Over the course of the summer, Tyler is completely transformed from an all around geek to a dream come true - both physically and socially. The hard work he puts in as a janitor gives him the body of his fantasies and new self esteem helps him open up to others. The most popular girl in school, Bethany, notices Tyler the day before school begins and his high school career is completely changed within hours of the first day back. However, Tyler fails to foresee the problems that will occur from the totally different worlds they live in, and also the fact that Bethany’s father is Tyler’s father’s boss.

When a rowdy party after a football game turns bad, Tyler faces absolute torture from his fellow classmates for a crime he did not commit. During this horrendous time of self doubt, pain, and disgust, Tyler’s mind drifts into a state of resentment with potentially disastrous results. He struggles to keep his dignity and his sanity throughout the entire situation and end of his senior year.

Overall, Twisted is incredibly captivating. The author uses brief sentences, simple terms, and extremely small chapters to help the reader fully digest each passage. I am a slow reader, and I am proud to say that I finished this novel of 250 pages in about three hours. I thought the plot was straightforward and that any teenager could relate to the protagonist’s situation and life overall. However, the mood of the novel completely changes at the end when Tyler overreacts to the rejection of another person and nearly lets it ruin his life. I thought that the book was very well written, but the only thing I wished for was a clear ending and greater foresight into the next year of Tyler’s life.

   - Review by Chelsea B.