Marjorie Brody’s “Twisted” lives up to its name aptly, because it’s quite a ride trying to figure and follow events within it. The story toggles between two perspectives: Sarah and Judith – as the two girls navigate some difficult times that end up bringing them together in a closer measure than either of them expect. Sarah’s story was a little easier to follow given the story starts off with a traumatic event in her measure, but Judith ends up having a life changing event in her measure a bit after Sarah, which is the basis for which the two meet in the latter part of the novel. Sarah’s only 14, while Judith is 17, but the two have their own distinctive voices.
There were times when I raged at some of the content in this book – more on the level of what the characters do and how they react to some tough measures (which include rape, teen pregnancy, etc.) It wasn’t so much Sarah or Judith I raged against as it was their parents (I wanted to throw the book at Sarah’s mother for calling her a “slut”, especially in the vein of what happened. No amount of denial ever makes that okay). I don’t know if it painted the most realistic portrait for events, but I will say that it kept me reading through the narrative for what it offered. It’s quite a bit of drama, and the convoluted nature of the story in turns almost lost me because of the jagged nature of the narrative. If it had been evened out a bit and given more foreshadowing with some of the story threads, I probably would’ve liked this much more.
I predicted the ending, but there were no clear cut threads in the beginning of the narrative to assert that it would go in that direction. Not even with respect to foreshadowing. That annoyed me, because I’d followed the story all the way up to a point and then get hit by a curveball that comes out of nowhere. Even then, the explanation doesn’t feel entirely vetted, like it was thrown in at the last minute.
This is one of those reads where it may be hit or miss for the person who picks it up. I’m conflicted over whether I could say I liked it, but it did keep me reading through the narrative. I just wish it’d been more even in its respective presentation and had more substance and realism to the matters it touched upon.
Overall score: 2.5/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Bell Bridge Books.