Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: Tilt – Ellen Hopkins

Tilt – Ellen Hopkins

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.

Review: Ellen Hopkins is one of my favorite authors, but I was disappointed with this book.

Tilt is a companion novel to Triangles, which I haven’t read (yet). Both books focus on three families. Triangles is about the adults, and Tilt is about their teenage children. Tilt tells the story of love in all its stages. Fourteen-year-old Harley is desperate to be sexy and have a boyfriend. Sixteen-year-old Shane has just begun his first serious romantic relationship. Eighteen-year-old Mikayla is pregnant and in love with her high school boyfriend. Some of these relationships turn out better than others. This book is written in a mixture of free-verse and formal poetry.

My favorite storyline is Shane’s. Even though he has his problems, he’s the most responsible and relatable of the characters. His relationship with Alex feels authentic. It’s not perfect, and it’s believable. I also like that Alex is HIV positive. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a HIV positive character.

I did have a lot of issues with this novel. My biggest problem is its predictability. Nothing about it surprised me. Maybe I’ve just read too many Ellen Hopkins books, but it was obvious to me how each storyline would end.

I also think that there are too many points-of-view. The awesome thing about verse novels is that they strip stories down to their essential elements. There’s no extra stuff. The poetry gets right to the heart of the story. Unfortunately, there are so many characters in this book that their stories feel very superficial. The characters have a lot of problems but not a lot of personality. It was difficult for me to keep all the characters straight at first because there are so many of them.

Like all of Ellen Hopkins’s books, this one is beautifully written. I love her poetry, and I read a few of the poems in this novel several times because they’re so well-written. Even though this isn’t my favorite Hopkins book, I’m still looking forward to reading Triangles

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