As is typical of author Ellen Hopkins, there are quite a few emotional punches packed into the poetic words of her latest novel in verse. For anyone who read her adult novel Triangles, you will recognize these teen characters; for the rest of you, prepare yourselves to meet some interconnected individuals with a lot on their plates. Though you do get a sense of their home lives from reading Tilt, those of you who read Triangles know that these kids belong to parents who - in the best cases - are very distracted from their children's lives.
Mikayla is completely in love with boyfriend Dylan, and he would do anything for her - except stick around to see her through her pregnancy. Shane is finally coming to terms with his homosexuality and has a wonderful new boyfriend, but his family is falling apart at the seams largely because of the inevitable death of his four-year-old sister. Harley has gotten well over her head in order to gain acceptance and to feel good about herself, and nobody but her best friend seems to notice - until pictures of her start to get spread around, anyway. We get to know these and other characters through their relationships with each other, and there really is no easy way out of many of the situations they create for themselves.
Ellen Hopkins is always a very powerful writer, choosing her words delicately and forcing the reader to feel the emotions of her characters. In addition to Tilt and others, I have loved Crank, Burned, and Identical. If you haven't yet, definitely give this author a try!
Reviewed by kate the librarian.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
1 week ago