Witnessing the fallout from the poor choices their parents make and the lies adults tell themselves, three teens are clinging to the last remnants of the secure and familiar world in which they’ve grown up. But the ground is shifting. What was once clear is now confused. Everything is tilting.
Mikayla is sure she’s found the love her parents seem to have lost, but is suddenly weighing nearly impossible choices in the wake of dashed expectations. Shane has come out, unwilling to lie anymore about who he is, but finds himself struggling to keep it all under control in the face of first love and a horrific loss. Harley, a good girl just seeking new experiences, never expects to hurtle towards self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.
Inspired by teen characters first introduced in her adult novel, Triangles, Ellen Hopkins crafts a wrenching story that explores the ways we each find the strength we need to hold on when our world’s been tilted completely off its axis.
Tilt Book Trailer
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 forcefully,
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.
My World Tilted
Completely off its axis the night
I hooked up with Dylan Douglas.
It was New Year’s Eve—five
months ago—so maybe part of that
earth-sway had something to do with
the downers, weed and cheap beer,
a dizzying combo on an empty stomach.
What I know for sure is, when he came
slinking up like a cougar—all tawny
and temperamental—something inside
me shifted. Something elemental.
I, probably the oldest prude in my whole
junior class, transformed into vamp.
When he smiled at me—me!—I knew
I had to make him mine. I would
have done anything. Turned out, all
I had to do was smile back. Just like
that, we belonged to each other.
Love at First Smile
That’s what it was. He says so,
and I agree. What kind of girlfriend
would I be if I argued about something
like that? Not only that, but we
fell in love as a new year began.
Symbolism there. And I didn’t need
a resolution when a result had
just occurred. All the hurt of
losing my last boyfriend—who was
at the same party, slobbering
all over my ex-good friend,
Tricia—dissolved, shaved ice in
a cup of hot tea. Dylan is a hundred
times the guy Josiah is. Thank
God I didn’t give my virginity
to him. I didn’t give it to Dylan
right away, either. Unlike Josiah,
he never pressured me to. But after
a couple of months, love spoke
louder than fear. One night
we were mostly naked and
all knotted up in each other’s
arms. And the time just seemed
right to say, “I want to. Please.”
Dylan was just so cute. Are you
sure? He said it right before
I stripped off my panties. And
he confirmed, You’re positive?
just as I pushed him inside me.
I think I wanted it more than he did.
And all that hype about awful
pain? Well, that may be true
for some people. But, except for
a couple of seconds of intense
pressure, it didn’t hurt at all.
But it made our connection steel
That much—so much he means
more to you than anything—changes
things. You lose friends, because
you’d rather be with him than with them.
I’ve always been popular. Cheerleader.
Junior class president. Homecoming
princess. All the girls wanted to hang
with me. One was even a stalker.
Now, they still smile and say hello,
but the only ones who I’m really close
to are Audrey and Emily. Both of them
have sleepover boyfriends, at least when
their parents aren’t home. That’s another
thing love changes—your relationship
with your parental units. It becomes
them versus you, as if they’re afraid
of losing you. Jealous of the person
who can make that happen. News flash,
Mom and Dad. I’ll be eighteen in a few
months. You’ve already lost me.
Now It’s Summer Vacation
Definition: sleeping in. Lazy days
at Tahoe. Parties. And that leads me to
deception. Because here’s the thing
about parents. Mostly, they don’t want
their kids to have fun, at least not
if it involves underage drinking,
illegal substances and the possibility
of sex. This is the first party of
the summer. I plan on an all-nighter.
Which means I can’t say I’m going
out with Dylan. So I invented a sleep-
over at Emily’s. “Hey, Mom,” I call
toward her bedroom. “I’m leaving
now.” I grab my backpack and keys,
start toward the door. I’m almost there
when my brother comes out of the kitchen,
yacking down a sandwich. Emily’s,
huh? Trace checks out my shorts,
the scoop of my tank. God, man,
you look like a Fourth Street hooker.
“When were you on Fourth Street?
Anyway, know what they call a guy
who looks at his sister’s attributes
like that? Pervert.” His face turns
the color of ripe watermelon flesh.
Ka-ching! Got him. Trace is fifteen
and never been kissed. At least, I’m pretty
sure he hasn’t been. It’s not like I follow him
around, and it’s not like he’d go
bragging about it if he had. Trace is
he’s-hiding type. Except, that is, when
it comes to ragging on me. “Tell
Mom I said bye, okay?” I escape into
the gentle warmth of late afternoon
June. The party won’t start until after
dark. But I don’t have to wait that long
to see Dylan. He’s picking me up at
Em’s. I see it as a French vanilla lie.
Not totally white. But close enough.
Emily’s Parents Aren’t Home
So I don’t bother with the doorbell. “Hello?”
No response but a meow from Monster Cat.
Ah, now I hear giggling behind her bedroom
door. She’s either on the phone or not alone.
I probably shouldn’t barge in. Tyler’s probably
in there, too. Instead, I text Dylan. HEY, BABY.
COME GET ME. Just as he says he’s on his way,
Emily comes out of her room, adjusting clothes,
hair mussed and makeup smeared. Good call.
“I take it Ty’s here?” They’ve been going
out for almost a year. Serious love.
Uh, no, actually. It’s not Tyler. It’s Clay.
The look she gives me is half challenge,
Half plea. Last time I looked, Clay happened
to be going out with our mutual friend,
Audrey. “Hey, I won’t tell.” But I can’t
believe she’d cheat on Tyler. “Did you and
Ty have a fight or something?”
She smiles. Nothing like that. I just
wanted to try something different is all.
God, I’m glad Dylan is everything
I need. Two horn blasts tell me he’s outside,
waiting. “Are you coming to the party later?”
I don’t ask, “Are you coming with Tyler or Clay?”
Probably. She grins. Depending.
Whatever. All I really care about
right now is Dylan. My pulse picks
up speed as I hurry down the walk
to his shiny green Jeep. He always
keeps the Wrangler spotless. When
he sees me, he gets out and waits,
and his perfect smile spreads across
his incredible face. God, he’s amazing—
bronze skin beneath too-long blond
hair that makes him look like a little boy.
Well, except for the fact that he’s six
foot two and buff as hell. He opens
his arms. I give a little jump, and
he’s holding me and we’re kissing.
His lips are smooth and he tastes like
peppermint. And I never want to stop.
But he does. And he says, I love you.
And everything bad in my life
melts away. I look into the turquoise
deep of his eyes. “I love you, too.”
I tangle my hands into his hair,
pull his face into mine for another
kiss, this one hotter than the last.
A passing car beeps going by.
Dylan draws back, laughing.
Maybe we should get a room?
“Maybe.” We could probably
get one inside. But then Dylan
would find out about Clay.
He and Tyler are friends.
“Let’s get something to eat.
Not good to drink on an empty
stomach.” Experience has
taught me that. Dylan agrees.
But before he detaches himself
totally from me, he slips a hand
down the scoop of my tank.
Can’t wait to kiss these, too.