Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 with 13 comments
Title: Torn Away
Author: Jennifer Brown
Series: n/a
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Source: From Publisher via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

There is one thing that drew me to this book and that was the promise of tornadoes. Tornadoes are fascinating. Maybe not to those of you who live out west, but for this little Pennsylvania chick, they are the unknown. Hubby and I used to watch that show storm chasers all the time, and I grew up listening to all my moms stories of the tornadoes she’s lived through. (She grew up in Texas). I'm so sad that show got canceled.

But anyway, when the blurb promised a Tornado, I jumped on it. I suppose it’s not just tornadoes that do it for me, it’s the whole natural disaster and aftermath that intrigues me.

In Torn Away, there is definitely a tornado. You get to live through it from start to end, which I really appreciated. I was afraid it would start off afterward and we would only get tidbits, but you are right there in the basement with Jersey when shit gets real. And boy does it get real.

Tornado's are destructive. They ruin lives. While I loved watching them rip through towns on Storm Chasers, I was always a little heart broken when they wrapped up the show with shots of people crying over the rubble. In Torn Away, the show continues and you get a front seat to Jersey’s feelings while she deals with the loss of her family.

You won’t find swoon in this story. Jersey is much too distraught for that. She’s taken everything for granted. She would have arguments with her Mom, ignore her little sister all the time… and bam.. they are gone. That is a tough pill to swallow. It’s so sad. She deals with so much crap after it all clears up, and the people in her life aren’t who she thought they were. I liked the realness in that, especially with her Step Fathers reaction to it all.

She has essentially lost everything that matters to her. She learns things about her mother she never knew before, and she gets a good look at why her biological father hasn’t been a part of her life. She goes through hell, but there’s hope in there too. I loved all the focus on how she worked through her grief.

The only thing I didn’t like is the cover, and that’s only because I’ve seen her face on so many covers lately and honestly, she doesn’t look anything like the main character. Aside from that, it was perfect. I really loved Torn Away. It was a total me book. It had the natural disaster stuff I like, along with the contemporary base.

Jennifer BrownAbout 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's debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA "Perfect Ten," and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association's Thumbs Up! Award, the Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award, the 2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association's Taysha's high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association's Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been chosen to represent the state of Missouri in the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Jennifer's second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha's high school reading list pick as well.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.

Find Jennifer:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. I can't wait to read this book, it sounds amazing!

  2. And the similarities just keep coming...I have a "thing" for tornadoes, too! I actually wanted to be a storm chaser when I was younger. Wanted to go to school to be a meteorologist and stuff. Sounds like a hard-hitting contemporary. I'm definitely adding it to my TBR since you loved it, but it'll have to wait till I'm in the mood for something deep so I can fully appreciate it.

    1. You two win for most adorable (tornado obsessed) blogging team. :)

      And this review is SO intriguing. I may have a thing for tornadoes soon too~

    2. LoL Jen. I love that we still find new things we have in common! I used to make those tornado's in a bottle with water and oil. They were like my favorite thing. I never went as far as to want to be a meteorologist, but I've always loved weather stuff. Brian is pretty obsessed with it all. He's always on reading charts. Torn Away is deep, but I wasn't bawling or anything. So I don't think you'll be overcome with sadness. but I'm not as big a crier as most. so who knows. I'm glad you will be reading it in the future though!

      and Sabrina, lol. Thank you <3

  3. I've heard such good things about this one. I want the audio since Lauren Fort-something narrates it. Great review. I like tornado/storm books too for some reason...

    1. Cool!! I can't wait to see what you think of the audio. I saw it on Audible, but I had the galley so I just stuck with that.

  4. I haven't heard about this book but now I know I'm going to have to check it out! I don't think I've ever read a book where a tornado and the devastation was described in great detail.

  5. Ha - you two tornado-philes should read The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin. It's another YA tornado book.

  6. Texan here, and one of my dream jobs is to chase tornadoes. That is one of the main reasons why I want to grab up this book. I do see the aftermath of the destruction afterwards, and it is horrible, and can take years to bounce back from such a disaster.

    Now I am burning for this book!

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