My Thoughts About Tilt by Ellen Hopkins (Book Review #65)

…life is all about chances. You might be safer not taking any. But playing it totally safe means you’re only existing. Not living. I want to live.
― Ellen Hopkins, Tilt

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This is my first time reading a novel written in free verse and I must say that it’s oh-so-good. It’s like the offspring of prose and poetry. It has this poetic vibe but at the same time directness of prose. Addicting, I must say. I never did think that a novel written in free verse would have that depth like a normal prose novel. This book really gave me emotional punches.

Tilt is written in three point of views. Mikayla, 18, who’s been dating Dylan for just a short time but with one simple mistake lead her being pregnant. We follow her as she tries to decide whether to continue having a baby. We follow her as she tries to deal with the pressure of her family and society with her early pregnancy. Alex, 16, a gay who finally found her love in Alex whom he meet online. But Alex has HIV. We follow his struggle as he tries to go through life while being bullied at school, control his love with Alex and the complexities with his relationship with his sister, Shelby, who’s dying. And then there’s Harley, a 14-year old who just wants to be the center of attention. We follow her in her quest of attaining the status at school that he badly wanted. We follow her as she tries to push herself into a bad relationship because she believes that she’s in love. We follow her as she tries to deal with her parents’ divorce. The stories of the main characters are interconnected through the relationships of their parents. Aside from Mikayla, Alex and Harley there are also other points of views that were added in the book to give it somewhat new perspectives like the points of view of the boyfriend, siblings and cousin.

Each character has their own problem with love. All seek for love which seems to be so hard for them to get. Mikayla, who’s losing the love she felt was real. Alex, returning the love he believes he doesn’t deserve. Harley, hoping for a love she believes as true. Their issues with love titled their lives and propelled them to their limits.

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The problem with falling in love is falling back out of it again, usually because you’ve fallen in love with a lie. That happens as often as not.
― Ellen Hopkins, Tilt

The author made an excellent job in going inside the mind of a teenager. I find it very engaging how the author was able to voice out the sentiments of the youth regarding their issues about their lives of society. The author gave readers a wider understanding about how teens and their loved ones nowadays deal with drugs, AIDS, teenage pregnancy, divorce and other social issues.

The author gave each character distinct voices. Readers were given the chance to walk with the characters and listen to them as they try to navigate their lives brought to them by their decisions. Even if written in verse, the book gave depth to the characters and to the theme that I was looking for in a good book. I like how the plot thickens as the lives of the three intersected.

I read that this book is a companion novel to Triangle, Ellen Hopkins’ first adult novel., that tells the story of the teen’s parents. The teens’ parents’ relationship in the book is not quite clear for me and I am looking forward to read that book to know what exactly happened.

I commend this book’s honesty in discussing topics about teen pregnancy, HIV, rape, homophobia among others. This book is a great way for parents to talk to their children about the above mentioned serious topics. Although, children should be guided in reading as it contains a lot of violence, sex reference and profanity.

I like the author’s intention of addressing the realities of life.I like how accurate it is and uniquely universal. I also didn’t have issue with the way it was written because it was a quick read for me. the language used is simple, concise and beautiful.

Complicated but beautifully told. This is my first Ellen Hopkins novel, and it certainly won’t be my last.

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A best friend is your voice when you can’t find it.
― Ellen Hopkins, Tilt

4 stars out of 5.

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