You know how when you are watching a truly frightening movie you sometimes watch it from between your fingers as if somehow that will mitigate the awful scene to come? Yeah, I know it does not really work and eventually you will have to close your eyes or deal with the gore. What does this have to do with Laurie Halse Anderson's new book, TWISTED? There are times as the story marches inexorably on that I wanted to cover my eyes as if that would somehow keep Tyler from making some bad decisions, as if I could protect him any better than his sister or friend.
Tyler is your average kid. He has made one whoppingly bad choice which landed him in a mess of trouble. However, as the school year begins, things are looking up. He has buffed up from his summer of enforced labor. He no longer fears the taunts of Chip and is pals. His sister is smitten with his best friend Yoda. And hot Bethany is paying attention to him. Maybe just maybe Tyler's demons are defeated. However, just like the video game he plays daily, the demons prove more powerful as the game proceeds. Tyler's father issues more and more ultimatums. Tyler stands accused of something he did not do though he looks quite guilty. Is there a way out?
As Tyler searches for his escape, readers will most certainly clench their teeth and much more. I admit to offering some suggestions for Tyler myself. He is a good kid; I want him to somehow triumph over adversity. Is that even possible?
Anderson's new book cements what we already know to be true: she can tell one hell of a story; can create characters so realistic that you know them, know their back story, can even catch a glimpse of their future. She is out on the road now on a book tour. Her fans need to rush right out and buy a copy of TWISTED. Pass it along to those who do not know Anderson and her work. Get a group together and visit her at the bookstores on her tour.
Thanks, Laurie, for caring enough about kids to write about their lives, their hopes, their despairs, their salvation, their sacrifices.