I have read Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak many times. It is a book which I found to be beautiful, haunting, and profound. Somehow, however, despite Speak's impact on me, I never sought out and read Twisted until this year, over a decade after it was first published. I mention Speak in context of my review of Twisted because, in many ways, the two books are companions to each other. Both place the reader within the confines of the protagonist's perspective; and in each the protagonist is a teen trying to simultaneously deal with high-school, relationships, trauma, and mental health.
Given the serious nature of the material Anderson covers in this book, as in her other books, a content warning may be warranted here: Twisted deals with several potentially-triggering topics, including suicide, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse. Anderson handles all of these topics with great care and thoughtfulness, but she also does not pull any punches as she delves into the depths of Tyler's troubled mind.
As I have come to expect from Anderson, this is a YA book that is a challenging, important read for both teenagers and adults. I would highly recommend this book in a guided reading setting; it would be an excellent selection for a book club, summer reading program, or as part of a class curriculum. Reading it and discussing it as a group helps to ensure everyone processes the difficult content in a healthy, helpful way. It also provides great opportunity for those who struggle with similar issues to the characters in the book to discuss their own problems while comfortably using the guise of discussing the characters.
Even if you are an adult who does not in any way work with teens, I still recommend that you give Twisted a read. This is a book to turn to if you are looking to challenge yourself or to work through similar problems to those listed in the content warning above.
Overall, I'd say that Twisted is a short, memorable, evocative realistic fiction novel. I would pair it with Speak as a must-read.
Elizabeth Wilcox. Writer, Avid Role-Player, Amateur Mixologist. Survivor.