BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
by Jennifer Brown
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.
MY THOUGHTS: 5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
OH MY GOD….The same day I started reading this book, I woke up in the middle of the night and decided I had to finish it because it was all I could think about. It has been a long time, if ever, since a book has emotionally wrecked me like this one did. But happily, it also lifted me back up.
Jersey lives in the town of Elizabeth, which experiences so many tornado scares every year that they don’t even really pay attention any more. But this time, it’s not a false alarm. This time, there is a real, unimaginable twister that changes Jersey’s life forever.
Although Jersey loves her mother very much, she couldn’t help but be resentful when after so many years of it being just the two of them, her mom got remarried and gave Jersey a baby sister. She doesn’t really love the big sister role, and often finds her 5 year old little sis annoying. Then, the tornado leaves her mom and sister dead, and Jersey would give anything to be annoyed by her again.
After bouncing around to a couple places and finding nothing but cruelty, Jersey begins to face the facts that maybe the real reasons her mom was alone weren’t the same reasons she gave to Jersey.
I cried through the entire second half of this book. And not just a few tears. Big, ugly sobs complete with a snotty nose. Yeah, I know that’s an attractive image…but that is how much I could relate to the pain and sorrow of the main character. It absolutely tore me up to see this sixteen year old girl go through losing everything, then not being able to pick up the pieces because she is so utterly alone.
What makes this book so beautiful and so different from every other young adult novel out there, is that there is no romance. No girl trying to get a cute guy to notice her, no makeovers, no witty dialogue, no comedic moments. The plot is just laying out Jersey’s emotions in a raw way, as she experiences them. The reader goes through all this with her, feeling low and ashamed when she is, and timidly hopeful when she is as well.
I really don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I will say that the characters and situations all felt very real to me, even though I couldn’t believe the way some people acted towards Jersey. Family doesn’t always behave like they should, unfortunately, and this is definitely one lesson that is still ringing true for me in my adulthood. But I’ve found my circle of people who love me, and I can only hope that Jersey has found hers as well.
This book is a must read, and I would recommend it to absolutely EVERYONE.
About the Author
Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer’s weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.
Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.
To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you have ever had any experience with a tornado, hurricane, or other extreme weather event!