fiction · young adult

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Torn Away

Author : jennifer brown

pages : [hardcover] 288

memorable quote Growing up, we were taught over and over again what steps to take in case of an approaching tornado. Listen for sirens, go to your basement or cellar, or a closet in the center of your house, duck and cover, wait it out. We had drills twice a year, every year, in school. We talked about it in class. We talked about it at home. The newscasters reminded us. We went to the basement. We practiced, practiced, practiced.

But we’d never— not once— discussed what to do after.

favorite characters : marin & jersey

summary :

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?

In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.

review :

This story was absolutely beautiful and wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story about a tornado before and I wasn’t ready for how emotional it would make me. As soon as I started reading I was sucked into Jersey’s world and couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if a tornado affected my life in this way. Now, I live on the East Coast, where the chances of a tornado occurring are so much smaller than they are in the Midwest. But it’s too easy to picture any natural disaster taking out everything I’ve known and loved, leaving me in it’s wake. There’s nothing that can stop the forces of nature but we live our lives every day not knowing which will be our last . . or which will drastically alter our lives forever. I’m definitely going to be showing my family some extra love after reading this book.

Jersey is your typical teenage girl. Not skinny, not rich, no excitingly charming boyfriend. She’s so relatable because she’s a normal girl. It made her story that much more powerful. The book begins on the day of the tornado and Jersey has no idea what’s coming for her. She doesn’t say anything she might have said to her family if she’d known what was going to happen while she was home alone the fateful day the tornado sirens weren’t going off for a false alarm. That was one detail I loved in a bittersweet way, how Jersey heard the sirens but didn’t want them to interrupt her activities for the evening because of a false alarm. The tornado the book is based on had such a high casualty rate because people became desensitized to the sirens.

The book has a great pacing as it draws you through the aftermath and Jersey’s life after. The book says “we’d never-not once-discussed what to do after”. Half of the town is just gone. No trees are left after the tornado rips through. And Jersey is forced to move in with family she’s never met, family that never wanted to know her. I felt her pain and anger at her situation. I couldn’t wait for her to get out of it but like her was helpless to come up with a better solution.

Marin was my favorite character of this book, even though she’s mostly seen through Jersey’s memories. That little girl is absolutely adorable and was a shining light even when my eyes were blurry with tears. Torn Away made me cry so much. I have to admit that I do tend to cry over sad books but I don’t think I’ve read many that made me tear up throughout the entire novel. If you’re going to read this-and you should, because I want to recommend this to everyone-be prepared with tissues and maybe don’t read in public if you’re afraid of crying in front of others!

This is the first book I’ve read by Jennifer Brown and I’m definitely going to read more because this book was just fantastic. It’s been a very long time since I’ve loved a contemporary book so much; this is probably going to be one of my favorite books of the year! If you’re looking for a great (and fairly short!) read, pick up this book. You won’t regret it. Torn Away will leave you in awe of the devastation nature can cause and you’ll appreciate the life and love you have while it’s here with you.

5/5 stars

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