Reviews for Twisted


Booklist Reviews 2007 January #1
Tyler Miller was a socially invisible nerd ("Your average piece of drywall who spent too much time playing computer games") before he sprayed some attention-getting graffiti and became a legend. Sentenced to a summer of physical labor, he enters his senior year with new muscles that attract popular Bethany Millbury, whose father is Tyler's dad's boss. On probation for his graffiti stunt, Tyler struggles to balance his consuming crush with pressure that comes from schoolwork and his explosive father, and after Tyler is implicated in a drunken crime, his balancing act falls apart. The dialogue occasionally has the cliched feel of a teen movie ("Party's over." "We're just getting started. And I don't remember inviting you"). What works well here is the frank, on-target humor ("I was a zit on the butt of the student body"), the taut pacing, and the small moments, recounted in Tyler's first-person voice, that illuminate his emotional anguish. Writing for the first time from a male perspective, Anderson skillfully explores identity and power struggles that all young people will recognize. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Dweeby Tyler Miller got caught spray-painting his school. After a summer of outdoor labor, Tyler starts his senior year beefy and dangerous-looking. Tyler's reputation as a "criminal" causes all fingers to point to him when naked photos of his fantasy girl surface. While some stereotypes persist, other complex supporting characters add dimension to Tyler's journey, at once personal and representational. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #2
Short, dweeby Tyler Miller, sick of being invisible, spray-painted his high school at the end of his junior year and got caught. Now, after a summer of muscle-hardening outdoor labor (mandatory community service for defacing public property) and a growth spurt, Tyler starts his senior year tall, beefy, and dangerous-looking. Incredibly, he attracts the interest of his fantasy girl, "alpha female" Bethany Millbury-but the line between popularity and loserdom proves impossible to cross. Tyler's reputation as a "criminal" causes all fingers to point to him at any sign of trouble. When naked photos of Bethany are posted after a big party, the police head straight for Tyler, and life spirals rapidly downward once again. Tyler's favorite computer game, Tophet, is a blatant but apt metaphor for his high-school hell; he spends hours online surviving the game's "sixty-six Levels of Torment." At the brink of despair in real life, Tyler considers the ultimate escape. His pain is sharply realistic, but suicide is an unlikely ending for the smart boy who's toughed it out this far. His decision to fight back is credible, as are the eventual changes in his tyrannical father, deftly foreshowed by small overtures earlier. While some stereotypes persist-jerky jocks, hard-ass principal-other supporting characters are more complex, adding dimension to Tyler's journey, at once personal and representational. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 February #2
Anderson returns to weightier issues in the style of her most revered work, Speak (1999), and stretches her wings by offering up a male protagonist for the first time. Tyler was always the kind of guy who didn't stand out until he spends the summer before his senior year working as punishment for spray painting the school. His new image and buff physique attracts Bethany--the über-popular daughter of his father's boss--but his angry and distant father becomes even more hostile towards him. Despite the graffiti incident, though, Tyler is a conscientious, albeit confused, young man, trying to find his way. Unfortunately, his newfound notoriety as a "bad boy" leads to false accusations that land him--and his father's job--in hot water. As tension mounts, Tyler reaches a crisis point revealed through one of the most poignant and gripping scenes in young-adult literature. Taking matters into his own hands, Tyler decides that he must make a choice about what kind of man he wants to be, with or without his father's guidance. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 January #3

At first, Anderson's (Speak ) contemporary novel appears to be a "twisted" version of a Cinderella story. Unpopular senior Tyler Miller ("a zit on the butt of the student body") gains stature and notoriety the summer after he pulls off an impressive prank: "spray-painting a couple thousand dollars worth of damage to the school." But readers soon discover that the author has something more complex and original to offer than a fairy-tale rendition of transformation. Humorous, compelling first-person narrative traces how Tyler's newfound happiness as a gutsy tough-guy soon turns to agony; he starts to wish that he could go back to being "invisible." Tyler is floating on Cloud Nine when he wins favor with rich, popular Bethany Milbury, but she drops him after he won't sleep with her, and then he gets the blame when compromising photos of her appear on the Internet. As a result, Tyler has to contend with the police, a verbally abusive father (who works for Bethany's dad), a principal who is still angry about the graffiti incident, and a slew of new enemies at school. With justice seemingly beyond his reach, Tyler considers suicide and running away from home before settling for less drastic measures. This dark comedy gives a chillingly accurate portrayal of the high-school social scene, in which morals, perceptions and conceptions of truth are continually being challenged. Tyler may not gain hero status with his peers, but readers will respect his integrity, which outshines his mistakes. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)Agent: Writers House .

[Page 52]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 May

Gr 9 Up -Socially inept Tyler Miller thinks his senior year of high school is going to be a year like no other. After being sentenced to a summer of "character building" physical labor following a graffiti prank, his reputation at school receives a boost, as do his muscles. Enter super-popular Bethany Milbury, sister of his tormentor, Chip, and daughter of his father's boss. Tyler's newfound physique has attracted her interest and infuriated Chip, leading to ongoing conflicts at school. Likewise, Tyler's inability to meet his volatile father's demands to "be an asset, not a liability" adds increasing tension. All too quickly, Tyler's life spirals out of control. In the wake of an incident at a wild party that Bethany has invited him to attend, he is left feeling completely isolated at school and alienated at home, a victim of "twisted" perception. Tyler must tackle the complex issues of integrity, personal responsibility, and identity on his own as he struggles to understand what it means to be a man. His once humorous voice now only conveys naked vulnerability. With gripping scenes and a rousing ending, Anderson authentically portrays Tyler's emotional instability as he contemplates darker and darker solutions to his situation. Readers will rejoice in Tyler's proclamation, "I'm not the problem here…I'm tired of feeling like I am." Teenage concerns with sex, alcohol, grades, and family are all tackled with honesty and candor. Once again, Anderson's taut, confident writing will cause this story to linger long after the book is set down.-Erin Schirota, Bronxville Public Library, NY

[Page 128]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2007 April
In the universe of high school, Tyler Miller used to be invisible. Completely average and on the nerdy side, Tyler went unnoticed by everyone except the occasional bully. But things are different since he was arrested for doing graffiti and sentenced to community service. Tyler's physique is changed by a summer of hard labor, and he is suddenly noticed by Bethany Milbury, the most popular of popular girls. And by the daughter of his workaholic father's boss. And by the sister of Tyler's worst enemy. Tyler's world changes as he struggles with the new roles he finds himself in at home and at school. His new physical strength brings new responsibilities. He soon finds that reputation is sometimes stronger than action and that doing the right thing is not always easy or even clear Tyler's voice in turn is rich with humor, rage, and despair. Anderson again presents readers with a sympathetic protagonist surrounded by a deftly drawn cast of characters. Tyler's relationships with the people in his life are authentically depicted. His interactions with his dysfunctional family and computer-geek best friend are particularly well drawn. Tyler faces issues that are both universal and original, from overwhelming lust and an overloaded school schedule to complex notions of manhood. The way he handles himself will have readers both cringing and cheering. This compelling novel of growth and maturity will be eagerly received by readers awaiting another story from this talented author.-Heather Pittman 5Q 5P S Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.

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