Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

A student recommended this to me. I haven't read much of Anderson's work since she published Speak (one of my all-time favorites), but the student recommendation (while I was subbing--heaven of all heavens--in the high school library) pushed me to go to the public library for this book. I marvel at Anderson's ability to create such different characters from book to book (despite some very telling stylistic tendencies). In Twisted, she tells the story of a smart kid who did something stupid (but not particularly harmful) in order to get some attention, and who is now paying ten-fold for his prank when some nasty things happen to a girl in his school. His father, a workaholic who works for the girl's father, blames his family for making his life difficult, doesn't necessarily believe his son is innocent of what he's been accused of doing.

I think the only real faults I found in the book are at the end. The suicide contemplation seems less involved than I imagine such contemplation would be and the father very promptly (and conveniently) in the end apologizes for being an emotionally abusive father and husband and promises to do better. It's not that I believe people can't change--I just don't know that the guy's going to change without some serious therapy, which was never mentioned.

More readable than Catalyst (which took a little bit of patience) but not as good as Speak, I would still recommend Twisted to any teen looking for an intense and involved reading experience. Books that are (kind of) in the same vein? Sharon Draper's Tears of a Tiger and Paul Fleischman's Whirligig.

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