Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Being a teenager can be the hardest years of someone's life. You have to learn so much along the way: friendships, family dynamics, what being an adult means, what growing up truly means, what is right or wrong for you like drugs and alcohol. Ellen Hopkins has crafted an amazing novel with these themes in mind, along with many others I do not want to spoil.

The stories told in this book are excellently crafted:

Mikayla is seventeen and is starting off her summer right by going partying and spending time with her beloved boyfriend Dylan, who she knows she is in love with. The parties continue and Mikayla is falling further in love with Dylan, but love sometimes comes with a price, right? Also, Mikayla is noticing that something is going on with her mom and dad, but is too involved in her own life, for the moment. What will come of them?

Shane is a young, gay guy who has been so entranced with finding the right guy for him, He has been looking around online and thinks he has found the guy for him, perfect for his summer vacation. But his home life isn't really looking up. His young sister, Shelby, is sick with Type 1 SMA, and which has utterly consumed his mother's life. His father on the other hand, works extremely long hours and when he is home, drinks... a lot. So the focus is on Shelby, which Shane is okay with, most of the time.

Harley is a young, growing girl. Her parents are divorced and her father doesn't really talk to her much. But for some odd reason, her father has taken an interest in wanting to get to know her more this summer. Harley is both excited and a little mad. Why now she thinks? Well, the answer may lie in her father's new girlfriend. Harley comes to look up to her after a bit and especially admires the girlfriend's son, Chad. Harley decided it's time to grow up, and she hopes it happens quickly.

All these stories intertwine, but all the stories combined, their lives will hit a-
Tilt has been such an amazing novel to read. It is an emotional roller coaster ride that would both hit home with parents, teacher, and student alike. And to give even further context, Ellen Hopkins has an adult novel, called Triangles that might be more insight, at least for parents. The novel has so much potential to be taught in a classroom, even though it is a bit risque; there is a lot along the lines of drugs, sex, and explicit themes ta, but things that teenagers are doing anyway. The book, in no way, glorifies these ideas, and actually shows the repercussions of doing them which is one way it would be great to teach in class.

The book has potential in a classroom other than the mentioned lesson above. It would help students learn how to make a character web or list, since that is about the only confusing part of the intertwining story lines. The book is written in a poetry format, free-verse (here is an example and a great excerpt on Ellen's site of Tilt), which makes for a quick read, even though it is a little over 600 pages. It could also be great to assign as extra credit in a Health Education class, and it could also generate some great questions that teens might have about sex and drugs.


Zia Nathan said...

I actually read a few of Ellen Hopkins books throughout my Jr. High and High School days. I think it's really cool that Hopkins touches on subjects such as drug use, sexuality and addiction whereas other authors would be scared to enter that territory. I know a lot of her books have been banned from several school libraries for the subjects she speaks about, which I think is ridiculous because as you said the books don't "glorify" these subject matters. I didn't even know she released a new book so recently and your review actually made me want to pick this one up.

Alexandra Klitz said...

I love Ellen Hopkins' books. I read several of them in middle school. I think that she provides realistic depictions of teen drug use, sexuality, addiction, depression, and other touchy topics. I hope this is just as artistic as Crank or Impulse. If this is anything like those, than I believe that this book would be great to teach in an English, Creative Writing, or Psychology class.

mkorkmaz said...

Combination of different subjects, such as drug, addiction, depression, and different characters at the same time .sounds goods. It looks like a educational book for kids.