Publisher: Little Brown BfYR

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Posted by • 11 Comments

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.

Review: Torn Away by Jennifer BrownTorn Away by Jennifer Brown
Published by Little Brown BfYR on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
Buy on Amazon

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.

I grew up in a city where we had one devastating tornado in our history.  I’ve heard stories about the tornado of ’88 more times than I can count and I have always been fascinated by them.  After reading Torn Away I don’t think tornadoes are that cool anymore.  This novel brings to light the devastation that lays in their aftermath and shows you how people truly lose everything.  

Torn Away starts out with a bang.  We meet our MC Jersey as she is heading home from school on the day that a tornado rips through her community in the mid-western city of Elizabeth.  We see that she is frustrated with her little sister, Marin, and even annoyed at her mother as they head out to Marin’s dance class.  This leaves a lot of regret for Jersey to deal with because the last time she ever sees them she wasn’t exactly the nicest she could have been.  Reading as Jersey went through the horrific event and found safety in her basement was downright frightening.  The darkening of the sky, the sounds of her house being torn apart and the force pulling things around is conveyed really well by Brown.  I felt like my stomach was in my throat and I was just so nervous as I read through what the people of Elizabeth go through.

The expertly conveyed emotion does not stop there, it continues through the entirety of the novel as we see Jersey’s life do a complete 180.  I’m not sure I have ever felt as much empathy for a character in a novel as I did for Jersey.  I literally looked around my home and was so grateful for everything I have because of what she goes through.  Not only does she lose all of her possessions but she loses any sense of family that she had ever had.  Her stepfather can’t deal so he ships her off to live with her estranged father and that is just the most unhealthy situation I could imagine.  It seems her father’s whole family lives in one home with his parents and there definitely isn’t enough room for every one nor does anyone go out of their way to make Jersey’s life any easier or to make her feel at home.  There is scene where her two stepsisters (who are just the WORST) go too far with Jersey’s belongings and the ensuing frustration and outburst from her was so palpable.  I was there right along with her on that porch and I felt all of the anger that she felt.  

 Helping me to connect with Jersey as a character was how honest she was with all of her emotions.  I really enjoyed her inner dialogue and I loved the flashbacks that she has throughout the novel.  Those serve to really show us what she has lost as she reminisces on the good times that she had with her mother and younger sister.  Another thing I loved about her, and the novel in general was that there was really no romance to be seen.  It easily could have been (and probably would have been by many other authors) cheapened by the inclusion of a romance that takes over the story. But, while there is some sweetness between her and an old friend, there is really no romance to be seen here at all.  What a fantastic choice that was by Brown and it’s one that I must thank her for because I have seen one too many stories get ruined by a romance being thrown in.

Torn away is full of emotion and it features a fantastic set of characters.  Brown has once again amazed me with her ability to write incredibly honest stories that I connect with deeply.


5 Hot Espressos

Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Posted by on 04/22/2014 • 29 Comments

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,…

Review: Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr

Review: Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr

Posted by on 11/29/2013 • 17 Comments

An effortless, light read about college, friendship, family, and romance, Roomies is your everyday chick-lit that offers a few hours of entertainment.

I’ve always enjoyed stories that take place during the summer right before college. A time where you’re still young and mostly clueless, but starting to get out of your shell. That was Roomies’ main charm for me. We get two parallel stories with two separate girls who are leaving behind two completely different teenage lives. With that said, it’s a bit unfortunate how similar the character voices are. Still, both girls are easy to fall in-tune with, having that easy-going narration that makes it a breezy read. We’ve got Elizabeth – EB – who’s leaving a strained relationship with her mother who dates married men. Whereas Lauren is…

Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King

Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King

Posted by on 10/11/2013 • 21 Comments

This story was absolutely messed up and also incredibly fascinating, with one of the most dysfunctional family units I have yet to come across. Reality shows are all the rave in the recent years, Reality Boy is the best example of how these shows are the opposite of reality. Do we ever stop to think of the psychological toll they take on a child? Especially when too young to understand how life can be so unfair. Network Nanny, the show in this book, is not very far off from our own running Reality shows. How do you think the kids in Supernanny will grow up with everyone at school, in their whole town, have seen them at their worst? Imagine your childhood tantrums shown on national TV! More often than…

Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Posted by on 09/25/2013 • 19 Comments

What a nail biter! Unbreakable has a creepy cover with an equally freaky story. For all of you supernatural thriller fans out there this one is not to be missed!

I made the mistake of starting this book at midnight; a book that has crazy happenings and intense goosebump-worthy scenes right from the beginning. Every page had me delving deeper and deeper under the covers just so I would stop imagining hellish demon ghosts at the foot of my bed! And by hellish demon ghosts I mean exactly that! You won’t find Casper in here. By page 32 my heart was already pounding from the horror of this unexplained supernatural evil that started to haunt Kennedy. Ok if I’m being honest, I kind of loved it. I’m a sucker for…

Waiting on Wednesday (93)

Waiting on Wednesday (93)

Posted by on 09/18/2013 • 26 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:

Jennifer Brown is a fantastic contemporary author and every time I see a new book of hers coming out I know I just have to have it! I saw this one just recently and just the blurb alone breaks my heart so I think I will need to mentally prepare for it, but I think it will be well worth it!

What are you waiting on?

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Tour Stop – Interview + Giveaway

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Tour Stop – Interview + Giveaway

Posted by on 09/01/2013 • 21 Comments

Today I’m very excited to have one of my favorite authors drop by the blog! Holly Black is here to talk to use about the mysterious Gavriel, and there’s a sweet giveaway for you all as well! 😉 Also, Holly is touring a few states, her schedule is here if you want to see if she’ll be going near you!

For my fellow audiobook listeners, I have a clip here to share for you if you’re considering the audio version – can be pre-ordered via Audible or Downpour. Having read the book I can already tell the narrator has the perfect voice for the MC I think she’ll do her justice! 🙂

Interview with Holly Black

Hi Holly! Thanks so much for…

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Posted by on 08/19/2013 • 35 Comments

“What are they? Are they diseased or demonic? Are they citizens who have become ill, deserving hospitals and care, as some have argued? Or are they the bodies of our loved ones animated by some dark force that we ought to seek to destroy?”

And here I thought originality was gone from vampire stories! It takes none other than Holly Black to prove me wrong. Coldest Girl in Coldtown is not only unique, it’s a fun, exciting story full of horror and blood with a little flair of post apocalyptic.

Ever since a sudden outbreak of vampirism spread throughout the world, vampires are out and feared; even though they’re kept quarantined in gated cities, you’re never quite safe from the stray ones. Tana learns how true this is when…