Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Tilt is a young adult novel written by Ellen Hopkins  in verse. I have heard a lot about Hopkins as a novelist, although prior to Tilt I had not read any of her work.  I was worried that because it was written in verse that it would seem broken up and hard to read. But it wasn’t. It truly added another layer to the story. I decided I would sit down in the library and read it for a few minutes just to make sure that it was something that I would like. Seventy-five pages later, I checked out the book. I will be returning to the library to pick up her other books, but Crank was not available (I will be looking for it again, during my next library haul)… but, let’s look at why I will be going back for more of Hopkins books, shall we?

Tilt is  a novel that is told from the point-of-view of three different teenagers: Mikayla, Shane, and Harley, whose lives all become intermingled. It is the companion to an adult novel that was written by Hopkins called Triangles, which I am interested in picking up. It is the story that is told from the point-of-view of the parents of Mikki, Shane, and Harley. I think that it would have been a little bit easier if I had read Triangles first, because I struggled a bit at the beginning in keeping straight who was related to who, and best friends with who. I think that was my only real hangup.

I enjoy reading contemporaries that deal with real issues, that could happen to real people. In Tilt, we are introduced to Mikayla, or “Mikki” as she is called by her friends and family. A girl who has fallen head over heels for a boy named Dylan Douglas. This is something unfamiliar to her, a first love. And it seems especially foreign to her because it has been obvious for a long time now that her parents are not in love anymore.  Things become even more complicated when Mikayla falls pregnant the summer before her senior year with Dylan’s baby, and decides to keep the baby which will greatly affect her life. In the future, and in the now.

“Because another thing

I’ve decided through a lot of

meditation, in fact, that life

is all about chances. You might

be safer not taking any. But

playing it safe means

you’re only existing. Not living.”

The second narrator that we are introduced to is Shane. He is just turning sixteen, and has recently come out to those around him. And in the summer that he turns sixteen, he meets Alex. Alex will become his first serious boyfriend. Soon after they meet, Alex makes a confession to Shane: he is living life HIV positive. This news, amiss having seen his younger sister battle just to stay alive for the last four years drastically complicate Shane’s life. Will he push away what could be the best thing in his life, or will he stay with Alex even though he knows that his life will be cut short, much like his baby sister?

And finally,  there is Harley who is Shane’s younger cousin. At thirteen years old she is just an ordinary good girl who is trying to learn who she is and define herself. She is willing to push herself, to change herself… because she thinks that is who she is supposed to be. I think this is something that could be true of so many teenage girls out there. Wanting to impress the people around them. And maybe losing themselves a little bit in the effort of finding themselves. It is Harley’s best friend Bri who I think is a saving grace. Even though she knows that Harley is changing, and not for the better, she is there. She is a true testament to the kind of friend that every teenager reads.

Intertwined are the relationships of the parents, whose relationships are easily just as messy as their children. Many of their lives at a crossroads. If you have ever struggled to find yourself, if you remember what it was like to be a teenager and to be lost, if you have ever lost someone, or loved someone… this is an amazing contemporary read.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Also, there is still time to enter my giveaway for Banned Books Week: Banned Books Week Giveaway, where I will be giving away a copy of Speak, or another banned book from The Book Depository.


2 thoughts on “Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

  1. I really like Ellen Hopkins’ work. She writes beautifully and she has such powerful themes. I’ve found that they translate really well to audiobook too. 🙂

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