I received this book for free from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
Published by Little Brown BfYR on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
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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.
This is one of those rare books that touched me to my very core. Jersey’s tragic loss makes you realize what’s really important in life, and re-defines your priorities. I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Brown since the first one I read, but Torn Away is definitely my favorite thus far. To get the best experience out of this book I recommend only skimming the blurb – or not reading it at all. I only read it afterwards, myself, and find it sums up too much of the story. Not having a clue what’s coming next for Jersey makes this story all the more poignant. It’s about a tornado, and it’s a tragedy. That’s all you need to know.
Natural disasters are scarier than any villain. Their damage is unstoppable, even often unanticipated. They can destroy a life in a matter of seconds. This is what happens to Jersey. This is the kind of story that breaks your heart from the very start, and it continues to tear itself apart until the last page. This author has incredible talent in pulling the reader in, one hundred percent. She put my whole self inside Jersey’s head. I adopted her grief, her loneliness; her emotional state became my own. And let me tell you, walking in her shoes is one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. Jersey’s whole world is literally swept inside a twister and whisked away. It does not end there, either, the tornado is only the beginning of this downfall. Having no relatives to turn to, she finds herself completely and utterly alone. Imagine hitting rock bottom, yet somehow continuing to fall. Or pushed down, more like. Imagine being 16 years old and, from one day to the next, finding yourself with no family, no home, no belongings… So get your box of tissues ready, you will need them!
A potent story like this cannot be achieved without crafting an incredible character to display its heart and soul. Jersey’s situation is a worst case scenario in many ways. All stages of her grief from denial, to anger, to acceptance, is depicted realistically. Not only that, but her situation forces her to grab onto strength she didn’t know she had. I admired her throughout. With no one left to tell her what to do, to encourage her, to soothe her, to help her, her life is up to her now. She realized this, that she had to take control, even though all she wanted to do was curl up and cry – understandably so. I applauded her for taking charge of her life. Ultimately, it is not only pain and heartache, we eventually get some light at the end of this darker-than-night tunnel. But I can tell you one thing, it’s a book that will make you appreciate everything you have. It will make you want to hug every person you love and never let them go.
Torn Away is a story about tragedy, but more importantly, it’s a story about family, love, hope, and learning to climb up from rock bottom. I, for one, am a Jennifer Brown fan for life!
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