Three teens whose lives are riddled with hardships. All connected in some sort of way, Shane, Mikayla and Harley deal with issues that have impacted their families, friends, and relationships. Tilt by Ellen Hopkins displays the teenage experience in a new light, pointing out the dimmer side to growing up. The three main characters all handle with the cards life has dealt them.
Shane, a 16 year old boy who is openly gay, has many issues in his life. His father doesn’t accept him for who he is, and his father is an alcoholic. His mother is stricken with depression, and unintentionally neglects his feelings and Shane himself. Worst of all, Shane’s little sister, Shelby who is only 4, was born with a disease that hinders her to live a normal, functioning life. Due to her condition, Shelby doesn’t have long to live; which affects both Shane’s parents’ relationship and Shane’s relationships with his parents. During all of this, Shane meets a boy online, Alex, and they quickly meet. Although they fall in love instantly, Alex has his own burdens to bear, and will alter his relationship with Shane. The second character we follow is Mikayla, a 17 year old girl who has fallen in love for the first time. She and her boyfriend, Dylan, are madly in love, and the summer has just begun for them. But after a hectic party they attended that ended with a visit from the police, Mikayla’s parents disapprove of her relationship, believing Dylan isn’t the person for her. Grounded infrequently, Mikayla and Dylan’s relationship feels the pressure of not being able to be together. Lastly, the third character we meet is Harley, a 14 year old girl who is quickly growing up. With her parents being divorced, her father moves back into town with a new girlfriend and her son, Chad. When meeting Chad, Harley immediately harbours a crush on him. Wanting more, Harley believes if she changes her body and how she looks, she will gain attention from Chad, and will become his girlfriend. One night, when Harley invites her friend and Mikayla’s little sister, Bri, a incident happens between Chad and Bri, which changes the way Harley sees them both. Wanting to prove to Chad she is more than a child, she starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, and the wrong boy.
Tilt is a story that demonstrates love and relationships during this age, and displays the struggles of the teenage years. Hopkins gracefully deals with major issues that transforms lives, and she gives a new meaning on teen love, and how far people of young ages can be pushed when faced with the struggles of a real relationship. This book deals with issues like sexuality, homophobia, drugs, alcoholism, depression, diseases, and so much more that people deal with when going through the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood. I would recommend a 14+ age group, as this can show young people the dangers and the retributions of their actions. Tilt is an amazing story that is hard to put down. Compassionate, endearing, and ultimately devastating; Tilt will make you smile, while simultaneously breaking your heart.
By: Brae Shea