A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like Hopkin's other books for teens, Tilt features gritty material, including rape, HIV, teen sex and pregnancy, the death of child, a suicide attempt, drunk driving, and more. Teens swear ("s--t," "f--k," "goddamn," "pussy," and more), drink, and make all kinds of mistakes, but they do relate their experiences honestly and learn from their bad choices in various ways. Parents can use this book to talk about a wide variety of tough topics, including teen pregnancy, sexual assault, homophobia, and book censorship. Readers will get the author's point that an "unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease will change your life forever."
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What's the story?
If your teens have read Hopkins' books before, then they know the drill: 600+ pages of free-verse poetry as a cast of interconnected teen characters deal with some hot-topic issues, such as teen pregnancy and HIV. Through interwoven stories, readers get to know pregnant Mikayla, gay Shane, and Harley, who's trying on wild behavior like wearing tight clothes, drinking, and seeing a dangerous bad boy. There are some harsh plot points here: Shane falls in love with an HIV-infected boy and numbs his emotional pain with drugs and alcohol; Harley texts a naked picture of herself to her boyfriend, who sends it around, and he later rapes her while she's drunk. Through painful situations, these characters learn what they really need is time to grow up.
Is it any good?
This is a good choice for Hopkins' fans, who know what to expect, and for reluctant readers, who will quickly get through the free verse that covers provocative material. Readers also might appreciate that this book features imperfect families, including abusive or alcoholic parents, new stepparents, estranged parents, and more. It's a bit overstuffed, as the author puts her poor protagonists through trial after trial -- teen pregnancy, dating someone with HIV, a dying sister, a rape, a suicide attempt, and more. But readers will appreciate that the three leading teens emerge damaged but not defeated.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about censorship. Do teens have the right to decide what they can read? Should anyone else get a say in that decision?
How do you think Tilt compares with Hopkins' other books?
- Author: Ellen Hopkins
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication date: September 11, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 608
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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