Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tension? Oh, is there ever.

I've never started a post ten minutes after finishing the book. If you read teen lit (let's go out on a limb and assume that you do) you are probably well aware that Laurie Halse Anderson has a book, Twisted, coming out on March 20. Furthermore, you are probably intending to read said book. Such intentions would be good. Not at all, in any way, ill-advised.

I have no qualm whatsoever in agreeing wholeheartedly with the amazing Mr. Chris Crutcher's blurb on the back of my ARC: "Laurie Halse Anderson is at the top of her storytelling game. If you've read Speak, you know what that means. The only thing truer than Twisted is the 'loser' character who tells the story. This one comes with a guarantee."

That pretty much says it all. Maybe it spoke to me so loudly because I can closely relate to certain plot elements. I don't know. What I do know is that parts of this book had me holding my breath. Tyler's turmoil reaches riveting intensities where your breath is more disruption than you want stirring the air; it might just affect the plot.

Also, it is amusing for me to note that (and remember this is an advanced copy, so who knows if it will show up in the official book) stamped boldly in the beginning pages is "This is not a book for children." It's not. While Anderson doesn't use the red button word 'scrotum,' male genitalia is referred to many times in many ways (I had to refer to it, I've not mentioned the ridiculous controversy AT ALL, but I couldn't resist - it was too easy a tie-in!). Although this is not why the book isn't for children. Going into why exactly gives away more than I'm willing to give, so you'll just have to trust me.

The cover is striking and wonderful, but I wonder about its appeal to guys. This is her first male narrator (very convincing, by the way. At least to me. Side note: I remember going to hear her speak while she was writing this one - right after Prom came out. She spoke a little about all the boys she was talking to for research. She researches well. Which I already knew, having read Fever, 1793, followed closely by a non-fiction title concerning the same event, An American Plague by Jim Murphy. I was astounded at how familiar places & events in Murphy's title were to me after Anderson had already brought them to life.), and I already know a couple teen boys I'll be giving this to, but does anyone think that this cover will fly with guys of the appropriate age (14+)? The boys I'll immediately give it to trust me enough to cover their doubt, but what do you all think? I know that at least a couple guys read this blog, even if they don't read the books I post about. James? Dan? Josh? Anyone? Would you pick this up, not knowing the author? Would it take some hand-selling for you to do so? Is it gender-neutral enough? It's fantastic, and I'd hate for it to be overlooked because of a cover.

(If you want to see great pictures of crazy amounts of snow, head to her blog.)


Anonymous said...

I think the cover if fine and will appeal to boys. Course, I won't be buying and finding out cause my kids are too young.

Little Willow said...

I can't read this review right now because I'm reading the book this week so I'm just saying, er, HI, Jac! :)

erith1 said...

I think your instinct is correct...I don't know what it is about the cover exactly, but I would have assumed it was for girls. There doesn't seem to be anything particularly girly about it, but I probably wouldn't have picked it up when i was 14.

Jackie Parker said...

Well, I honestly don't think that any boy over, say 3rd or 4th grade would EVER use a twisty pencil. Am I right?

(Thanks Shane)

LHA said...

OK, this might be weird, but... I met your Mom at a conference on Sunday and she told me to drop by. (Is she sweet or what?)

Thank you so much for the kind words about TWISTED. This was a powerful, affirming review for me.

(BTW - The note indicating the book is not for children was my doing. And the cover.... not my choice. The teens I've heard from seem to be split 50/50 about its appeal. They do like the front flap of the finished version. Be sure to take a peek at that.)

Thanks again for the support and for the work you do!