This review is of the Advanced Reader's Edition of the book.
Tilt is a companion story to Hopkins' adult novel, Triangles. As I have yet to read Triangles, all of the characters in this book were new to me. Tilt follows the story of three teenagers, Harley, Mikayla, and Shane. Harley is 13 and desperate to fall in love for the first time. Mikayla is 17 and in the midst of the most powerful love of her life. Shane is 15 and starting his first real relationship while trying to escape his family drama.
The voices of these three are not the only ones present in the book. Although the book is not divided into chapters, the character's POV is switched by interspersed pages (inverted with white text on black) of secondary characters relevant to the story. At first, I found this to be too jarring. It took at least 200 pages for me to understand how these characters were connected to each other, who was friends with whom and who was cousins with whom. (A character list or "family tree" at the front of the book would have been helpful to reference.) However, by the end of the novel I really appreciated hearing the voices of these other characters. For example, hearing from Shelby, Shane's severely disabled younger sister that has never been able to speak, was very powerful. Likewise, hearing from Lucas, a guy that Harley begins experimenting sexually with was the only way to give the reader an insight into what a huge creep he is.
It is an understatement to say that the lives of these three are completely changed from the beginning of the book to the end. Not only do major life events play themselves out on the pages, but the audience can detect the difference in their personal narrative as time goes on (even though the book only covers about 6 months of real time). I could see each person grow and change and oftentimes feel how they lived uncomfortably in their new realities.
As I finished this book, I felt completely empty. This is not a happy-ending fairy tale (though anyone familiar with Hopkins' works wouldn't expect it anyway). The stories of these characters, (Shane especially) were so harsh and uncomfortable that I was gasping for a little light at the end of the tunnel. Much like real life, though, I was only left with a vague promise of change on horizon.
I read Tilt as the February 2018 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.
I'm sorry to say it...but that's the one and only reason I finished it. And at 602 pages, it was almost akin to pure torture. :(
The inside cover says "Ages 14 up" and I felt every. word. of. that. I know plenty of adults are on a steady diet of YA novels, but with just a few exceptions (Divergent by Veronica Roth, Legend by Marie Lu, and Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans) they usually bore the crap out of me. :-( Too shallow, too much like reading about green tomatoes that think they're ripe. I find it to be a total waste of time.
The best thing Tilt had going for it, IMO, was its verse style. But unfortunately, the story and substance didn't fulfill the depth that its poetic style aimed to provide.
Mikayla? A yawnable cliche. Shane? He was the most layered POV and storyline, though it still managed to feel watered down and trite by the end. And Harley? She just gave Mikayla a run for her money in the yawning department.
So, all in all, this may be good for teenagers and their parents, but I'm sure there must be other (even YA) novels, poetically rendered or not, that explore well worn topics like teen pregnancy, homosexuality, HIV and date rape with much more depth than this one does.
For me Tilt's a C+. But I am looking forward to our book club's discussion, which I'm sure I'll enjoy much more than I did the book!
For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chorley Chronicals!!
I must admit that I was totally surprised with this book! I don't know if I just hadn't really payed much attention when I originally read the Synopsis or what, but I was expecting this something sweet novel, and that is certainly not what I got! However, I was pleasantly surprised! The only thing that I am slightly disappointed in, is the Publisher's Synopsis gives a pretty vivid description of the book, so it doesn't leave too much to the imagination. So I guess that I am happy that I didn't pay much attention to it until after the fact.
There were a whole lot of characters throughout this book, which as an audiobook, made it quite difficult to keep up with, especially in the beginning, however, I was really quite appreciative of the many different narrators, which helped me define which character was which! The story was told through the point of view of all the different characters, and I enjoyed that! I liked going back and forth from what one to the other to the other thought about what was going on! It was very entertaining!
I felt a variety of emotions while listening to this book! It took me back to my younger days, remembering what it was like to be a teenager again, dealing with relationships of all sorts, from that with parents, to friends, to boyfriends/girlfriends. That's a tough time in one's life and I believe that Tilt is the perfect portrayal of that fact! I also think that the title fits the story perfectly! This is a story of life, and the choices one makes, and consequences that follow choices!
The narrators did a wonderful job of portraying the characters they were playing! I was especially impressed with Kirby Heyborne and his portrayal of Shane! He really captured Shane's emotions and delivered a stellar performance!! I also felt that the voice fit each character well! I could have pictured Harley as a ready to hit the world 14 year old, and Mikayla, an almost 18 year old that knows it all, and Shane, the misunderstood homesexual 16 year old! I believe they had perfect casting for the narrators!
The only qualm that I had with this book was the ending! I felt like she left the ending way too open, and left me thinking, seriously, it's over? I wish she wouldn't have left so much to the imagination and had given a concrete ending! I felt like there was no conclusion, especially for Mikayla and even Shane! I definitely would have preferred more for the conclusion!
This was my first book by Ellen Hopkins, but I must say that I was impressed! I didn't feel like I was reading a Juvenile Fiction book and actually thoroughly enjoyed listening to this title! It was an easy listen, that I managed to finish in one day's time! I was impressed with how much I liked this book, especially given that it is considered YA/Juvenile Fiction! I will pursue other titles from this author in the future!