Monday, October 11, 2010

Read A-Likes and Review

 This wasn't the way it was supposed to go.

You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?

There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them?

Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late?

Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

In his stunning young-adult debut, Charles Benoit mixes riveting tension with an insightful—and unsettling—portrait of an ordinary teen in a tale that is taut, powerful, and shattering.

High 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.
I decided to write a Read-Alike post about these two books since they were both so similar. Kyle and Tyler are both on the "outside" looking in. They both wish for the attentions of a girl they think they aren't worthy of. They each make decisions that will alter their life in very significant ways. Kyle is a hoodie. He tries to give the impression he doesn't care about much including grades and what his teachers think of him. He scoots through life attempting to be invisible except to the girl he cares about most. What's most interesting about this story is that it is written in second person point of view. It's as if you are the one going through the life of Kyle and experiencing his life firsthand. The other interesting aspect of You is the beginning starts out with the ending. The reader learns right from the start how this is all going to end...tragically. I like to read books that have unconventional methods and this one didn't disappoint. I will say that the hype about this book didn't exactly live up to my expectations though. It was still a good example of how difficult it is to fit in and that high school isn't a positive experience for everyone. I would have liked to have seen Kyle's relationship with his family explored a little more though. Twisted, on the other hand, did demonstrate the family dynamics in a much more in depth way. Tyler didn't fit in at school either but not for the same reasons as Kyle. Kyle had his fellow hoodies to commiserate with while Tyler was a loner until the change in his physical appearance attracted the attentions of the most popular girl in school, Bethany. Bethany wouldn't have given Tyler a second look until he shows up at school his senior year tan and muscular from the all the physical labor over the summer. He also gained bad boy status when he committed a crime and had to serve probation. Gaining the attentions of Bethany started a chain of events that would result in Tyler having to make very drastic decisions about how he wanted to live his life and what it means to be a man. As I mentioned earlier, Tyler's relationship with his family was very central to the story. They weren't unlike many families who do the best they can and sometimes make mistakes in the process. I am giving twisted a 5 star rating. I really felt like the author had a good handle on the emotions of all of the characters and really felt their struggles and pain. I'm giving You four stars because I had a more difficult time getting to know the characters on an emotional level. And finally, I would like to add that Laurie Halse Anderson has become another favorite author of mine. The next book I would like to read of her's is Wintergirls...a story of grief, guilt, and the devastating effects of anorexia.


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