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by Alan Cumyn

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Stan is an intense sixteen-year-old loner who desperately wants to make the junior varsity basketball team. And it seems that he may be about to do so, until he’s blindsided by the unexpected attentions of Janine Igwash. Suddenly Stan is no longer thinking about jump shots. Instead he is obsessed with Janine’s spiky hair, her milky white shoulders and


Stan is an intense sixteen-year-old loner who desperately wants to make the junior varsity basketball team. And it seems that he may be about to do so, until he’s blindsided by the unexpected attentions of Janine Igwash. Suddenly Stan is no longer thinking about jump shots. Instead he is obsessed with Janine’s spiky hair, her milky white shoulders and the mysterious little tattoo at the base of her neck, not to mention the heat of her breath, her dark eyes, wide hips and . . . Sometimes Stan’s imagination runs so wild he wonders whether he might be going crazy. That would be par for the course given his home life. His mother is dating the feckless Gary, and his little sister, designated gifted but a holy terror, is acting out. Then Stan’s father arrives on the scene with Stan’s four-year-old half brother, and things become truly insane.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
• A Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2011

• A Quill & Quire Best Book of the Year: Books for Young People

• "…a tender, funny, and insightful coming-of-age story." — Horn Book Magazine

•"…the novel is a strong, easy read with a fluid and often funny storyline…" — Quill& Quire

•"…a delightful novel, one that is smart, tender and funny in all the right places…" Globe and Mail

VOYA - Stacy Holbrook
Sixteen-year-old Stand Dart has thoughts of being on the varsity basketball team, of creating his own form of martial arts, and of Janine Igwash. Stan's fantasies of Janine are intense and become hard to control, even after his friend calls her "tilted" and says she is a lesbian. Janine's invitation to a dance confuses Stan even more, but he jumps at the chance to be with her. The invitation comes at a difficult time, though, as life hits Stan all at once—Ron, Stan's deadbeat dad, shows up with his five-year-old half brother and adds more adult responsibility to Stan's life than he can handle. Ron's return brings up painful memories from Stan's childhood, and a constant fear that he is destined to turn out like his runaway father. Stan soon realizes that maybe it is not Janine, but his own life, that is tilted. Tilt is an edgy, coming-of-age novel that will appeal to most young adults. The authentic characters are engaging throughout the story and Stan's family issues are heartrending. Like many teens, Stan is forced to take on adult issues, though a lack of knowledge and immaturity seem to cloud his decisions. This is shown throughout Stan's hormonal plight, which is described mostly through metaphor and innuendo, and in an on-stage sex scene between Stan and Janine. Tilt is recommended as a great addition to any public library collection, but may be too hard-edged for many school libraries. Reviewer: Stacy Holbrook
Children's Literature - Jody Little
Sixteen-year old Stan has his sights set on making the junior varsity basketball team. His focus shifts, however, when he learns that the junior varsity team has been cut, and he begins getting attention from Janine Igwash. Suddenly, Stan can't seem to think or dream about anything else except Janine. Stan's home life doesn't help. His mother is busy with her boyfriend, and his little sister is secretly communicating with their runaway father. Stan is shocked when his father shows up in town with his half-brother, Feldon, but he is still obsessed with Janine who has invited him to attend a dance with her. Eventually, Stan comes up with a plan to get his half-brother away from their father, but the plan doesn't work out as Stan expects when he allows Janine upstairs into his bedroom. Cumyn writes an intense, yet often funny account of a teenage boy reaching maturity. Readers may question Stan's choices, yet they might find that they relate to Stan in many ways. Issues of sex and homosexuality are included in this well-written, young adult novel. Reviewer: Jody Little
Kirkus Reviews

Almost despite himself, 16-year-old Stan emerges with flying colors from a week of sweet confusion, domestic turmoil and momentous tests of character.

Basketball tryouts loom. Stan struggles with persistent erections—particularly after classmate Janine (correctly, as it turns out, rumored to be a GWOG—"Goes With Other Girls") asks him to a weekend dance. Worse yet, out of the blue his ne'er-do-well father shows up with Feldon, the child of an affair that caused Stan's parents to split up five years ago. Despite events that conspire to suggest otherwise—capped by a day in which Stan cuts class and tryouts to care for Feldon, then has a semi-unplanned bedroom rendezvous with Janine that begins with premature ejaculation and ends with his mother walking in—Stan is actually the most responsible member of his household. Moreover, not only is he versed in coping with his high-strung mother and tempestuous little sister (skills that help with troubled Feldon), he is endowed with a mouth and body that usually take over to do or say the right things whenever mental paralysis sets in. When Stan does finally meltdown, help from unexpected quarters brings him through with no permanent damage. The third-person narration is filtered through Stan's perceptions, and Cumyn demonstrates a great sense of phrasing: "Suddenly the wall of sound collapsed into rubble and everyone was clapping."

The comedy and drama are both mild, but the two eminently likable teens at the center of it look capable of keeping heads and hearts in balance in a world subject to sudden tilts. (Fiction. 13-16)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Naive, callow, and continually disappointed by others yet ever hopeful that things will turn around, Stan could be the voice of any sensitive, disillusioned youth trying to come to terms with a world that seems aligned against him. The Dart family was torn apart when Stan's father ran away with a much-younger girlfriend whom he had impregnated. The teen struggles to hold his remaining family together, caring for his gifted but troubled younger sister while his mother desperately pursues a relationship with a man Stan can't abide. His dreams for himself had been pinned on making the JV basketball team from which he had been cut the previous year, but those dreams seem dashed when it is announced that the school has dropped the program. Likewise, Stan's obsession with beautiful yet enigmatic Janine Igwash seems likely to end in frustration when a friend informs him that Janine is a gwog (girl who goes with girls). She is in the midst of ending her relationship with her girlfriend, however, and her growing attraction to Stan culminates in a passionate encounter (described in a way that might make some readers uncomfortable). Ashamed and embarrassed by his own sexual feelings and of the expression—and consequences—of those feelings in the adults in his life, the teen is deeply conflicted, but his rejection of the cynical and misogynistic views of his father suggest that his experiences will lead him to a healthy, mature perspective. The novel's brief closing chapter is beautiful, lyrical, and appropriately equivocal, and will resonate with readers long after they have finished the book.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

Product Details

Groundwood Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.90(d)
HL620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Alan Cumyn has written many highly acclaimed novels for both children and adults. He teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a past chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada. He lives in Ottawa.

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