Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review - Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Torn AwayTitle: Torn Away
Author: Jennifer Brown
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 288
Published: May 6th 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 9780316245531
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.  When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy? 

I Give This ...

One should not read books about the loss of loved ones when you've recently experienced it yourself.  Or maybe you should because it helps you come to better terms with how you are feeling about your own loss.  Whatever the case may be, I deeply felt the pain Jersey goes through in this book.

I enjoyed our brief introduction to Jersey before tragedy struck home.  I think the point of making her the typical girl made the story that much more devastating.  Her life isn't perfect, so that can make her anybody.  It shows that death knows no bounds and will take anybody.   I admired her courage as the tornado was ripping over her, her determination to stay put because she knew that's were her family would come looking for her. I felt her deep sorrow when she discovered her mother and sister were gone and the joy she felt when she found her step-father.  

And then the story turns some more because all that wasn't enough for Jersey to go through.  Part of me really wanted to hate Jersey's stepdad.  But, he wasn't coping well with his grief and thought the best thing for her was to live with her biological father.  This is a man she's never met and family who obviously resents everything about her.   They were awful is so many ways.  I had high hopes that her stepfather would recognize this and come and get her.  

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if Jersey would find some sort of peace in this chaos the world had left her in.  She ends up at her mother's parents house.  She's indifferent here and determined not to show any sort of emotion.  But, she's having a hard time matching these people with the imagine her mother left her.  Slowly she begins to understand that maybe family changes over time.  Her mother and sister may be gone, but they can still live on in her and the people around her.  How she chooses to remember them is up to her.

A beautifully written and powerful book.  I savored it until the last page was done.  I apparently need to  read more of Jennifer Brown.

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