Three teens, connected by family relationships, navigate new love and their various personal and family issues in Ellen Hopkins’s latest verse novel, Tilt. Mikayla’s love for Dylan is so strong that nothing could possibly break them apart. But how will an unexpected pregnancy affect their relationship? Shane has experience loving someone with a short life expectancy; his four year old sister Shelley has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and not much longer to live. But will learning his new crush has HIV keep him from getting close? Harley is feeling good about her new body and seeking new experiences with older boys. But when she gets herself in too deep will she figure out how to get out before its too late?
Tilt is a companion novel to Ellen Hopkins’s adult novel, Triangles, which focuses on the lives of the mothers of the three Tilt protagonists. Tilt works easily as a standalone and I’m curious how it works in companionship to Triangles. Is the plot less surprising? Or does knowing some of the basics about what happens, make the little things that much more surprising? Presumably just as the teens don’t understand everything that’s going on with their parents, the parents don’t know just how much their kids are dealing with. The story alternates between the three main characters and each section ends with a page of verse from one of the other characters – boyfriends, friends, cousins, siblings. This framework helps propel the reading forward and each page of verse at the end of a teen’s section helps transition between the three stories.
As with many of Hopkins’s novels, in Tilt she tackles serious issues that teens (and adults for that matter) deal with in today’s world – drug use/abuse, sex, molestation, HIV, death, divorce, infidelity, bullying, homophobia, sexting, teen pregnancy, etc. She doesn’t shy away from topics that most people would rather not think about let alone write about. I respect this about her. The empathy she shows for her characters shines through and her use of free verse makes a difficult story read smoothly. It is with good reason that her books, no matter how many challenges and bans, end up on bestsellers lists and in the hands of teen readers.
Em’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 2012)
Note: Review copy sent from publicist for honest review
Because we here at Love YA Lit believe so strongly in the freedom to read and appreciate the daring work of Ellen Hopkins, we thought we’d offer a little celebratory giveaway in honor of Banned Books Week. Enter via rafflecopter below! 13+ only please!
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