Book Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Torn Away
Author: Jennifer Brown
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Released: May 6th 2014
Review Source: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | NetGalley

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.

Well this is the kind of story that hits your heart and keeps it wounded the entire time. From the very beginning it was plagued with disaster and troubled times for Jersey. Although it was sad and I hurt every page for this girl I absolutely loved the story.

Torn Away follows a young girl named Jersey, who lives in Elizabeth, a small town in Missouri. While being raised in the Midwest you know a thing or two about tornados, and that most of the time when the sirens go off it’s no big deal, nothing will actually touch down. Unfortunately that was not the case one fateful day, Jersey was at home all by herself getting dinner ready for when her family comes home, and then the sirens go off. She wasn’t planning on going downstairs until the lights go out. After the storm ensued her entire house was destroyed, and the entire town was destroyed. Not only did Jersey lose her home and her belongings, she lost her family, her mom and sister Marin. A few days later her step-dad shows up, but he can barely hold himself together so he forces her to live with her estranged father that had abandoned Jersey and her mother. What Jersey goes through after the tornado is not only heartbreaking, but beautiful; she truly does have strength within.

Torn Away was just a beautiful contemporary story and I really felt like I was sucked into the story from the very beginning. For myself, I was raised in the Midwest and totally understood the whole tornado drills and not really believing one is actually coming, I couldn’t tell you how many times I just stood outside and watched the storm unravel. When Jersey is forced to live with her estranged drunk father and his entire family, I mean entire family; aunt, her three kids, grandma and grandpa, her father and fathers wife and their two kids, she is basically not cared about. Nobody other than her aunt cared about what she just went through and the amount of trauma she just endured, not only from the storm but being forced to live with someone who didn’t care that she lost everything. This story was absolutely touching and completely consumed me in her pain and grief.

This is definitely a book to add to your reading list. It was beautiful, sad, and a story that touched my soul to the very core. I could never imagine having to go through all of this loss and tragedy by myself and at such a young age.

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