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Book Review: Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Should the sun beat
summer too fiercely
through your afternoon
window, you can
the blinds to temper
heat and scatter light,
sifting shadows this way
and that with a
of slats.  And if candor
strikes too forecully,
step back, draw careful
breath and consider the
your words must take
before you open
your mouth, let them leak
out.  Because once you
                                                                               tilt the truth,
it becomes a lie.

Tilt is called a companion book to Ellen Hopkins’ 2011 adult book, Triangles, but it can really stand alone, and unless your teens are die-hard Hopkins’ fans, I don’t know that they would want to read Triangles.  However, Tilt will definitely be on their list, and in true Hopkins style it does not pull punches.  Tilt is gritty and hard hitting, dealing with issues that I know no adult wants to think teens deal with and teens know either someone or they themselves are dealing with all to well.

Like all of Ellen Hopkins’ books, this one is told in verse, and after tearing through the book, I went through again and looked at the way the poems were set.  Often times there are double and triple meanings that are within the text, depending on placements or alignment of words.  They would be an excellent lead-in for visual poetry-programs.
I would completely recommended it for any library; however, it is definitely graphic with some of the scenes, so if you know that your community is one that is more conservative, keep reviews on hand.  I would put it right up there with Hopkins’ 2009 book Tricks in the details.
I will now give you space to let you know that below here, there are SPOILERS in case you don’t want details.
Ready?  Then hold on.
 Tilt tells the story of three teens interconnected by family relationships:
  • Mikayla, almost 18, completely in that soul devouring love with her boyfriend, who is seemingly as in love with her- until she turns up pregnant.  Mikayla has to figure out what to do about the baby, her family, her boyfriend, and her life, without loosing herself in the process.
  • Shane, who is turning 16, falls for his first boyfriend, Alex, who confesses that he is HIV positive.  Having lived with his sister’s chronic and ultimately fatal illness, Shane has to figure out whether to accept Alex knowing that their love will be shortened, as well as the death of his sister midway through the book, which brings his facade of well-being crashing down.
  • Harley is 14, an innocent good girl looking for love, and finding it unrequited in older boys.  She changes her appearance to find that love, then starts moving unawares towards self-destructive and dangerous extremes in order to get that love, from drinking and drugs to sexting and date rape.
Told you, a lot to deal with, and there are NO punches pulled.  However, that is what makes Hopkins’ writing so real to teens, and so relatable- they know that she lives these characters, and it’s like these teens could be someone that they know.  They’re gripping, and you want everything to be OK, and you cringe and your heart breaks with them when it’s not.  And that’s everything that a wonderful book should be.
And, just for you, we have a GIVEAWAY!!!  Share in the comments below your favorite Ellen Hopkins book and WHY, along with your email address, and you could win a copy of Tilt!  You have until Sunday, October 14th to leave a comment and be entered to win.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents.


  1. Well, I have to say Crank. The first. The best. The most “stolen” book from my library — I think that says it all.

    annettesspot (at) gmail DOT com

  2. I think my favorite would have to be Impulse. I love reading how 3 people that are so different can end up with some of the same problems and how they have to find similar ways to get things back how they need to be.

    ame1184 at gmail dot com

  3. It's shameful, but I have yet to read a book by Hopkins. It's something I need to fix soon.

    tahleen dot ovian at gmail dot com

  4. I think right now, my favorites have to be how Impulse and Perfect fit together, with Identical a close third. Impulse talks about one twin, Connor, and then Perfect picks up with the other, Cara, so you see more of the same family. Yet Identical has a wonderful twist and turn within it that I didn't see coming until the end. I can't keep ANY of them on my shelves for long, and I doubt Tilt will stay either. They either are checked out constantly, or they find new homes.

    And Ellen is as wonderful as speaker as a writer. I had the enormous opportunity to be on the arrangement end of the Rainbow Project breakfast when she spoke, and she was an inspiration.


  5. Dustin Lucht says:

    My favorite is crank

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