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2,4011395,123 (3.84)54
After finally getting noticed by someone other than school bullies and his ever-angry father, seventeen-year-old Tyler enjoys his tough new reputation and the attentions of a popular girl, but when life starts to go bad again, he must choose between transforming himself or giving in to his destructive thoughts.… (more)
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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
When I first read this, I was so touched to see my whole life, nearly, on the page, that I almost cried. I, too, was often sentence to hard labor the whole summer, but not by the juvenile justice system. It was by my parents for the long list of disciplinary infractions I had gotten up to the previous year every year, starting in middle school and finishing when I left high school early for college. I was smart, bored, and getting pushed around at school and at home. Hard labor did nothing to deter my actions, ever. It just made me tan, which I hated, and tired and dirty. One year, out of fury and embarrassment at my being emergency expelled and as a result, having to stay home for two months out of the school year, my mom took me to Northern California to help whip my grandfather's house into shape so he could move into assisted living after selling it. He had a huge yard and huge house. It was work. I thought of this strongly when reading this book both times.

My rating and opinion dropped sharply on second read. Tyler is being pushed around by his verbally and emotionally abusive dad, who he has fantasies of lashing out violently against. He's on probation for tagging. It looks a lot like he's on probation in exchange for a suspended sentence, something people do instead of go to jail sometimes. Since--when was that punishment fitting for that crime? My friends and I tagged school property all the time in the early 2000s, and -went to Saturday school after getting detentions for a week-. That was -it-. Please don't misunderstand me as thinking Halse Anderson didn't research. I fully believe this is a current punishment for the times. Tyler's personality and choices were so clearly a product of his time, too. He tagged so...he wouldn't be seen as a nerd anymore. He was cuffed and stuffed, went before a judge and everything. What...the fuck. My friends and I? Nerdy goths who tagged. Three different middle school social categories in one! One of my friends, for example, loved her advanced French class. Another loved orchestra, another choir. Another was a math nut and we teased her for being a dork, then pleaded for help on a weekly basis. She laughed it off and helped. I had just begun my career as a semi-professional musical theater child actor. Kids like that exist, books. Please portray us sometime.

This book didn't age well in regards of gender stuff at all. Tyler is a textbook Nice Guy and should wear a fedora and pea coat. Oops, weather's too hot, sorry. Of course, he targets the cute socialite. Gag. He rags Yoda for liking Star Wars and wow, do I have news for him. He has a creepy fixation on his sister. Yoda cannot date her, he declares, and pays suuuper close attention to how she looks since she hit puberty, how much time Yoda spends with her (a lot since he's too shy to ask her out), he decides she's a huge brat for no reason and it's creepy when other stuff is factored in, he thinks other boys will prey on her, and--he polices her friends and her sexuality. After a bullying incident Yoda went through, Tyler comforts him by saying it's okay for him to date Hannah. The only reason the term "friend-zone" wasn't used in the novel was because it wasn't around then. Tyler, your sister can make her own decisions. She does not owe anyone a date, she doesn't owe you a progress report on her love life, she can dress how she wants, and she will decide who she is. Leave her alone, you creepy fuck. I wonder how much Bethany, the socialite, looks like her. Eugh.

Tyler's mom does not stand up for him at all while he's pushed around by his dad. She actively gaslights and blames Tyler, excusing her husband's behavior with five excuses rammed into six seconds every time after they interact. She sickened me. Tyler's despair and frustration increases over the novel understandably, culminating in a suicide attempt involving a gun that he tosses into a river at the last minute. He calls Yoda and winds up talking to his parents about it. All his mom does is cry silently, and I was waiting for the dad to kick him out. So. The only realistic part of that was calling Yoda and the mom crying. The rest was clearly an author afraid to take risks. You set up a suicide attempt involving -a gun-, you can't take that back. Have him call 911 and explain what's going on. That's realistic and would have led to a different plot! The book, bizarrely, has as neat and clean an ending that a book with a gun getting tossed away at the last minute can.

I was unhappy with this book on second read. Halse Anderson is an excellent writer, though, getting inside the mindset of a Nice Guy teenage boy so easily. I admired that both times. And I fully understand that this book was written to give a sliver of the population hope when there so rarely is none and no one believes you and your other parent blames you. I'm glad Halse Anderson chose to do this. It was intended to humanize and draw attention to people going through this. I'm not so sure how well the second one was done but it's definitely a start.. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 28, 2022 |
Okay, so this is one of the best books I've read about growing up.
And a male POV too! Fan-freakin-tastic.
Hits close to home.

VERDICT: TRY IT ( )
  QuirkyCat_13 | Jun 20, 2022 |
The book is laugh out loud funny and then takes an awful turn. Couldn't put it down ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
Read this in two hours. Didn't mean to, but I wanted to know what happened to the protagonist, and the prose didn't put me to sleep. I'd consider this fluff, to a degree, although the story seems to try to use Faust as an extended metaphor. ( )
  ms_rowse | Jan 1, 2022 |
teen fiction (with mature content--profanity, sex, drinking, violence, suicidal thoughts). This starts out light, a former geek turned stud after a summer of court-ordered community service, but quickly tackles some darker aspects of teenage years (for which Anderson is well known). I skimmed some chapters (short on time) and overall found it ok. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
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To Scot, For building the best fort ever
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I spent the last Friday of summer vacation spreading hot, sticky tar across the roof of George Washington High.
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After finally getting noticed by someone other than school bullies and his ever-angry father, seventeen-year-old Tyler enjoys his tough new reputation and the attentions of a popular girl, but when life starts to go bad again, he must choose between transforming himself or giving in to his destructive thoughts.

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This book is about a guy named Tyler Miller with all sorts of problems in his life, including social, relationship, and family problems. It wasn't long before Tyler decided that he wanted to end his life. Read as he threads through all his problems in life and how he ends up being neutral...read on.
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Laurie Halse Anderson is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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