16. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins, 544 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/13/2012

So this is interesting: a YA companion to Ellen Hopkins’s (very) adult book, Triangles. Triangles followed three women whose lives converge and transmute in unexpected ways. Tilt gives us the perspective of their teenaged children. There’s Shane, Marissa’s son, who is openly gay and falling in love for the first time. He has a sister, Shelby, who was born with a degenerative disease and, at the age of four, has already outlived doctor’s predictions. And then his new boyfriend reveals that he has HIV…There’s Harley, Andrea’s daughter and Shane’s cousin. She’s 14 and desperate to be older and more sophisticated. When her father moves back to Reno to settle down with his new girlfriend (Cassie) and her son (Chad), Harley falls for older, bad-boy Chad and begins to find herself doing things to impress him that would have shocked her even months earlier. While Chad may not be interested in taking advantage of an eager Harley, he has despicable friends who are more than willing. Finally, there’s Mikayla, Holly’s daughter, who is 16 and head-over-heels in love with her boyfriend Dylan. Mikayla gets herself in trouble over and over just to be with the boy she truly believes she loves and believes loves her. Then she begins missing her period…
These three teens have little in common with one another, save for the connections their families have. For those of us who have read Triangles, the outcomes of these three stories are not much of a surprise, but for those unfamiliar with the lives of these families, the realizations will be all that much more heart-breaking. I must say that I didn’t love this as much as some of Hopkin’s other work, but I can’t really put my finger on why. Perhaps because I have more difficulty seeing a unifying theme amongst the characters, save for it being a time of “firsts” in their lives. Hopkins’ other novels seem more focused. Nevertheless, there is plenty for teen readers to relate to here. Each character is well-drawn and their problems are not nearly as unique as the character appears to believe (such is adolescence!), but each are treated with equal weight. I personally liked seeing the “other side” of the Triangles story and think it would be fascinating to see the pair of books used in a mother-daughter book group. I hope that adults who read and identified with Triangles will pick up Tilt and see how the teens react while the adults are absorbed in their own troubles.

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