By: Jennifer Brown
Published: May 6th 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.
Goodreads description--Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives -- but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.
In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she's never considered before -- one in which her mother wasn't perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that's something no tornado can touch.
Torn Away was one of those books that I read the description before, requested it, and then forgot what it was supposed to be about by the time I got around to starting it. Of course, the title is fitting, but if you don’t know what the storyline is going to be about then the title doesn’t give much away. I wanted a book that I could read through quickly and considering Torn Away is only 288 pages, it kind of fit the bill for that.
Since I wasn’t fully prepared for what this story was about, Torn Away kind of caught me off guard. Jennifer Brown doesn’t drag out the beginning of the book before the tornado yet it didn’t jump right into it either. There was just enough setup for me to get invested in the characters and then have two of them torn away. Everything about this book felt so real to me. From Jersey’s typical teenage behavior in the beginning, to her thought process during and after the tornado, to the grief she feels, and the little things she salvages from her wrecked home. Begging her stepfather, Ronnie not to send her away, and begging her best friend’s mother to let her stay with them for a while and so on and so on. The entire process felt genuine.
It was just that genuine feel to Torn Away that had me connected and devouring the pages one after the other. I’m not the easiest person to make cry, but I teared-up at least twice while reading Torn Away as I went through the myriad of emotions right along with Jersey. I was happy with where Torn Away ended, but the process of getting there wasn’t always fun.
Torn Away is one of those books where you know that this COULD happen to you in real life and has happened to someone out there, but despite the number of people affected by natural disasters statistically speaking the chances of something like this happening to you are low. It’s kind of like those books about dating a movie or rock star. Sure real life people out there actually do end up dating and marrying famous people, but statistically speaking it happens so infrequently to make those books feel improbably. I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Torn Away hooked me quickly, put me through the ringer, and spit me out. The whole process happened pretty quickly--I read this entire book in less than 24 hours. Torn Away gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Torn Away? What did you think? Let me know!