Three teens, three stories—all interconnected through their parents’ family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the lives of the teens begin to tilt...Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year—and decides to keep the baby? Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing that his life, too, will be shortened? Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be. Love, in all its forms, has crucial consequences in this standalone novel.
Earlier this year, I read my first Ellen Hopkins and I liked it enough to want to read more of them. It’s funny, though, how much more daring and dark this later book can be. I feel like this is a sign of publishers broadening the sort of content deemed acceptable for teens. There’s definitely no HEA in Tilt, a far cry from the sudden mostly happy ending of Impulse. Still, I’m finding it hard to place just how I feel about it. I think the increased scope of Tilt, with a much larger cast of characters really upped the melodrama factor. The audiobook was a good way to go, though, because it put different voices to each character.
In Tilt, Ellen Hopkins takes on a LOT: drug usage, alcoholism, divorce, two traumatizing diseases, grief, rape, suicide, and pregnancy. Honestly, I’m probably forgetting a couple of major ones too. That is just SO much to cover in a single book and doing so without getting maudlin is pretty much impossible. On top of that, I think it’s even more difficult to handle each issue fully. That said, Hopkins does a really good job with a number of them, though others are somewhat glossed over.
Much as I am totally not into books about pregnancy, I think that storyline is perhaps the one that Hopkins handled best. Mikayla’s boyfriend talks her into sex without a condom, using the pull-out method instead, which, in a book, means definite pregnancy on the way. Mikayla really considers every avenue open to her, weighing both what will be best for her and for the baby that she could potentially birth. Even though she’s impulsive and has a history of terrible decisions, Mikayla really steps up and grows.
In addition to Mikayla, there are two other main characters and a whole bunch of secondary characters with perspectives. The main characters have long chapters, while the secondary characters sections generally took less than a minute on the audiobook, so probably no more than a couple pages. This piecemeal approach was confusing at the beginning, and sort of a blessing and a curse in the long run. Hearing from other characters is nice, but it’s also a bit difficult to remember the entire cast sometimes and often frustrating when I want to know more about a particular character. Also, like with my previous experience, the characters occasionally used words and phrases that seemed out of character. I will say, though, that most of the transitions from one perspective to another were really effective.
In my prior Hopkins experience, I had some questions about her treatment of the LGBT subject matter. I’m actually glad I read this book before I posted that review, because I wasn’t confident in my opinion on that. I think this later book makes it apparent that Hopkins is very LGBT-friendly. Actually, I was shocked at the change from the previous book to this one, which is way racier, full of sex both straight and gay. Shane’s plot is also notable for his having a pretty functional relationship with Alex, despite Alex’s HIV. Shane’s issues aren’t due to his being gay, but to his sick younger sister. Also, though it’s sad, I love that Alex can’t magically make things better for Shane, even though Alex is really supportive.
In contrast to the other two, Harley was a big change in tone. She’s idealistic and naive, definitely verging on stupid. Though I kept having to remember that she was thirteen to fourteen in Tilt. A crush on her step-brother to be brings her in touch with a dangerous crowd and into a dangerous spiral. Harley’s story is most upsetting by nature of her youth and how little she understood anything that was happening to her, but it’s also the most frustrating because “GIRL, NO.” It did seem pretty realistic, though, how much she would do to please someone even if she didn’t necessarily want to do it.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I don't really have any specific complaints aside from feeling like Hopkins took on a biiit too much.
The Final Verdict:
Each individual story would have made a great book, I think, but combined it was a bit overwhelming and these interconnected families really need a break. The audiobook narrators turn in good performances and make character-tracking a bit simpler.
TILT is the companion novel to TRICKS where the teens were first introduced. In this novel we see third different teens stories. There's Mikayla who falls head over heels in love with Dylan but one mistake leaves her to make hard choices. Shane is sixteen and finally meets a boy he loves. But Alex has a secret of his own. Shane's not sure if he can commit especially with his own family drama that involves a four year old sister who is dying. Then there is Harley, the good girl that decides to play with the wild side with devastating consequences.
I love Hopkins's writing style which is free verse poetry. The rhythm and beat of each poem takes the reader on an emotional ride. I love to stop and reread stanzas of her poetry just to savor the feel and sound of each word.
Yes, her writing is that powerful.
My favorite characters in TILT had to be Shane and Alex. Their story and how the HIV storyline is handled is very real. I knew someone who had HIV and who was scared to come out and tell others, afraid he'd be shunned. But the opposite happened. I learned so much from this friend that showed me compassion and education are the key to understanding.
Mikayla's story also resonated with me. Our son's birthmother had a similar story. She was 14 when she had our son. Mikayla's struggles, conflicts, and how the father of her baby dropped her rang very true to me. I applaud Hopkins for not having the 'happily ever after ending' as most times this doesn't happen. Real life isn't like TEEN MOM.
TILTED is a raw, unflinching portrayal of three teens that struggle with tough issues. Ellen Hopkins is this generation's Judy Blume with her ability to 'get' what teens go through without being preachy or talking down to them.
How I wished there was a Ellen Hopkins when I was a teen. A must read.
2. Powerful, emotional ride
3. Ellen Hopkins is this generation's Judy Blume with her honest writing
The situations in these books have so much to offer young readers. It can show them just how difficult some things can be. It can show them how manipulation is everywhere. It can also give them some information they are anxiously seeking. I know that the majority of parents, as it touches base on in the book, like to turn their heads and pretend that stuff like this does not happen. Their children are the one’s who suffer. They are left unsure and still seeking answers, yet afraid to seek them. Hopkins’ books shed light on these questions. I personally recommend these to anyone. They are earth shattering and gripping. They definitely do not disappoint!
Hopkins books tell you how it is. They show you circumstances in life that are real and that happen everyday. In Tilt, the teens are suffering with being gay, teen pregnancy, sex, drugs, relationships with boys/girls and parents, loss, and fitting in. I found myself captivated in the first couple of pages. This book really takes you down an emotional path. I felt for each and everyone of the characters. I had a few that I wanted to shout at also. This story is told from a multi-person perspective. I thought this was great! Although some might find this confusing, I felt that you were seeing similar issues from different standpoints and how it effected each person on a different level.
This was a great book. I felt that the subjects it touched base on are something many readers could find understanding in. The characters in this book are so easy to get attached to that it is hard to watch them struggle through their mounting issues. I felt the strongest connection with Shane. He just seemed so vulnerable throughout the book. These stories do not usually have happily ever afters since they talk about real life events. I did find myself keeping my fingers crossed for a couple of the teens though. I definitely need to read her book Triangles soon. This book is a companion to it. Overall I really enjoyed this story. A lot of the stories touched close to my heart and left a lasting impression. I am definitely a forever fan of Ellen’s.
At first while reading this I was confused as to who was related to whom and how, because all of the characters are related in some way. I believe that some of the experiences that they go through, have been written about a lot but she takes a fresh view on them. I defiantly would recommend this book to other teens who like her books and that like books about real world problems.
She developed this book well. Her descriptions of the events that happened were great, I felt like I was there having the experiences as well, but not way too much. The events are presented in chronological order with interchanging viewpoints. I think this book had accurate information. At the end she places a list of statistics that pertain to the things the characters go through. A teen pregnancy where the father leaves after the mother decides to keep it is a common subject but one I think that teenagers should know more about. Also pregnant mothers should know more about their options and what happens after they choose one, so that they don’t choose one and then regret it. The problems of rape, teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, teen sexuality and finding oneself are the most explored topics in this book with quite a few others. Tilt makes you think “What would I do if I were that person or going through what they are going through?”
Tilt is the story of three teens. Shane is gay and thinks he’s found the man he loves only there’s a catch. He also has a sister who is struggling to keep her life. Then there’s Mikayla who thinks she will be with the boy she’s currently with forever, only when he doesn’t buck up and take responsibility for his actions does she realize he was never that great. Lastly there’s Harley who is struggling to find who she is. She does a complete turn around with her character and then Lucas does something not so great and she realizes the she’s spent the last little bit of her life as the wrong person. These teens are all interconnected somehow; family, friends or other things. Throughout this book they all learn things and Ellen Hopkins sticks to her true style with surprises at every turn.
Her characters are all people that I could know. They could be people in my school; they could even be people in my family. In fact I identified with Shane a little bit more than the rest because I had a brother who had Down’s syndrome and at certain points in the story I realized that sometimes I felt the same way he did. I think that Ms. Hopkins must’ve spent a lot of time developing them, everyone in the story is three dimensional.
Some of her major themes are popular themes and ideas. There’s one that you can make your own choices despite what other people think. There’s not everyone is who you think they are. These are just a couple of the themes that she explored in Tilt.
The plot was great. If I were to draw out the “hill” diagram we use in school, there would be a lot of little bumps and some big ones in there too. The three biggest climaxes are mixed in with the little ones so you don’t get a ton of tiny ones then a bunch of big ones. I think that her opening was good and the ending great. It leaves the possibility for a sequel and I believe that she should write one. I would defiantly read it; I want to know what happens to these characters, especially Shane and Mikayla.
At the end of every poem she has a phrase that is similar to the one that she uses at the beginning of the next one. Also at the end of each set of poems about one person she does one poem from one of the bigger characters but not the main ones. After that she goes to the next character.
The novel is very clear but not exactly simple. There are a lot of little interconnected characters and quite a few subplots as well as the main plot. There’s not much dialogue but you get what the people would say if they were to talk. There's also not much humor because it isn’t supposed to be funny. There are some jokes made that are supposed to be sarcastic.
It is set in Nevada but it’s not really that significant to the plot. I remember a few instances where it was gloomy outside at times when you would expect it to be gloomy.
Overall I thinkt that Tilt is very well written. I like the storyline and connected well with the characters, certain ones especially. I didn’t want to put it down but, I had to or else I wouldn’t have been able to get all of my homework done. I loved this book and all of her other ones. She’s a writer all her own and I recommend her to all teens that are struggling with something because she most likely has written a book about it.