Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Twisted

byLaurie Halse Anderson

Paperback | May 15, 2008

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From New York Times bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson

High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father's boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy, and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in school, in his family, and in the world.

"Poignant and gripping." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Once again, Anderson's taut, confident writing will cause this story to linger long after the books is set down." —SLJ

A New York Times Bestseller
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults 

About The Author

Laurie Halse Anderson has received both the Margaret Edwards Award and the ALAN Award for her contributions to young adult literature. She has also been honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship in recognition of her fight to combat the censoring of literature. She is the author of the groundbreaking National Book Award fina...
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Details & Specs

Title:TwistedFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.25 × 5.44 × 0.74 inPublished:May 15, 2008Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0142411841

ISBN - 13:9780142411841

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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chapter one I spent the last Friday of summer vacation spreading hot, sticky tar across the roof of George Washington High. My companions were Dopey, Toothless, and Joe, the brain surgeons in charge of building maintenance. At least they were getting paid. I was working forty feet above the ground, breathing in sulfur fumes from Satan’s vomitorium, for free. Character building, my father said. Mandatory community service, the judge said. Court-ordered restitution for the Foul Deed. He nailed me with the bill for the damage I had done, which meant I had to sell my car and bust my hump at a landscaping company all summer. Oh, and he gave me six months of meetings with a probation officer who thought I was a waste of human flesh. Still, it was better than jail. I pushed the mop back and forth, trying to coat the seams evenly. We didn’t want any rain getting into the building and destroying the classrooms. Didn’t want to hurt the school. No, sir, we sure didn’t. Joe wandered over, looked at my work, and grunted. “We done yet?” asked Dopey. “Thunderstorms rolling in soon. Heavy weather.” I looked up. There were no clouds in the sky. Joe nodded slowly, studying the roof. “Yeah, we’re done.” He turned off the motor on the tar kettle. “Last day for Tyler, here. Bet you’re glad to be quit of us, huh, kid?” “Nah,” I lied. “You guys have been great.” Dopey cackled. “If them sewer pipes back up again, we’ll get you out of class.” There had been a few advantages to working with these guys. They taught me how to steal free soda out of the vending machines. I snagged a couple of keys when they weren’t looking. Best of all, the hard labor had turned me from Nerd Boy into Tyler the Amazing Hulk, with ripped muscles and enough testosterone to power a nuclear generator. “Hey, get a load of this!” Toothless shouted. We picked our way around the fresh tar patches and looked where he was pointing, four stories down. I stayed away from the edge; I wasn’t so good at heights. But then I saw them: angels with pony tails gathered in the parking lot. The girls’ tennis team. Wearing bikini tops and short shorts. Wearing wet bikini tops and wet short shorts. I inched closer. It was a car wash, with vehicles lined up all the way out to the road, mostly driven by guys. Barely clad girls were bending, stretching, soaping up, scrubbing, and squealing. They were squirting each other with hoses. And squealing. Did I mention that? “Take me now, Lord,” Toothless muttered. The marching band was practicing in the teachers’ lot. They fired up their version of “Louie, Louie.” Finely toned tennis-angel butts bounced back and forth to the beat. Then a goddess rose up from the hubcap of a white Ford Explorer. Bethany Milbury. The driver of the Explorer said something. Bethany smiled and blew at the soapsuds in her hands so bubbles floated through the air and landed on his nose. The driver melted into a puddle on the front seat. Bethany threw back her head and laughed. The sun flashed off her teeth. Joe’s tongue dropped out of his mouth and sizzled on the hot roof. Dopey took off his glasses, rubbed them on a corner of his shirt, and put them back on. Toothless adjusted himself. Bethany bounced along to the next car in line, a dark-green Avenger that was burning oil. Bethany Milbury pushes me against the hood of my cherry-red, turbocharged Testarossa. “I love fast cars,” she whispers, soapy fingers in my hair. “This is the fastest,” I say. “I’ve been waiting so long for you, Tyler. . . .” Her head tilts, her lips open. I am so ready for this. She grabs my arm and snarls, “Be careful, dummy, you’ll break your neck.” No, wait. I blinked. I was on a hot tar roof with three smelly grown men. Joe was gripping my arm, yanking me back from the edge. “I said, be careful, dummy. That first step is a doozy.” “Sorry,” I said. “I mean, thanks.” A navy-blue 1995 Mercedes S500 sedan rolled into the parking lot. It came to complete stop. Left blinker flashing, it turned and parked in front of the building. A man in a black suit got out of the driver’s seat. Stood next to the car. Looked up at me and tapped the face of his watch once, twice, three times. I had inconvenienced him again.Dopey, Toothless, and Joe crawled out of sight. They had seen my father detonate before.

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTIONTwistedHigh school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background—average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father's boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy—and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world. In Twisted, the acclaimed Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a very controversial subject: what it means to be a man today. Fans and new readers alike will be captured by Tyler's pitchperfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the author's award-winning, widely read work. ABOUT LAURIE HALSE ANDERSONLaurie Halse Anderson was born in Potsdam, a cold place in northern New York State where as a little girl, she pounded away at her father’s old typewriter for hours, writing newspaper columns, stories, and letters. She never intended to be an author. At Georgetown University, she majored in foreign languages and linguistics. Laurie hit the real world with no idea of what kind of work she wanted to do. She tried everything, including cleaning banks, milking cows, and working as a stockbroker. Being a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer was a slight improvement, but she eventually quit to write books. Her first novel, Speak, was a National Book Award Finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, a New York Times Bestseller, and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Laurie currently lives with her family in Mexico, New York. To find out more about Laurie, visit her website at www.writerlady.com. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSTyler’s landscaping job develops his muscles, but also allows him to use his skills at digging holes: “I was good at digging holes. It was the rest of life I sucked at” (p. 39). What figurative holes has Tyler dug for himself in his life? Is it really true that he isn’t good at anything else? Although he doesn’t seem like a depressed person, Tyler admits to being preoccupied with death. “Thinking about death relaxed me” (p. 44). Why? In what ways has he died and been reborn again throughout the story? At Tyler’s high school there is a clear distinction between the popular crowd and everyone else. Where do you fit in the social scale at your school? In what ways has the status you hold in your social sphere defined you? In what ways is this role true to who you are? In what ways is it not? Why does Tyler like Bethany? Were there any signs early on that she might not really like him the same way he liked her? What do you think is her real attraction to him? Is it true when his sister Hannah says that it could never have worked out? In your own life, are there any examples of two very different people who manage to be together despite their apparent differences? What do you think of Tyler’s reaction to Bethany’s behavior at the party? How would you react? Would you be sad? Angry? Why do you think Laurie Halse Anderson chose “Twisted” as the title of this novel? What does it mean in relation to the story? On the surface Tyler seems to disrespect the janitors that he is made to work with as part of his probation. Yet they act as a sort of conscience and offer support later in the story. Have you ever gotten help from an unexpected source? Who has Tyler been trying to be? His father? A loser? A cool guy? Which of these identities is closest to his true self? 

Editorial Reviews

"...a chillingly accurate portrayal of the high-school social scene, in which morals, perceptions and conceptions of truth are continually...challenged." --Publishers Weekly

"Anderson...stretches her wings by offering...a male protagonist... one of the most poignant and gripping scenes in young-adult literature."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review