Friday, February 6, 2015

Torn Away

Brown, J. (2014). Torn Away. NY: Hachette Audio.

YA / Realistic Fiction / Natural Disasters / Audiobook

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars

Living in the Midwest means storm sirens are a way of life; everyone knows the drill of what to do when sirens sound, but few take them seriously. After a tornado rips through her town and her life, sixteen-year-old Jersey Cameron rethinks the questiond of what does it really mean to lose everything? And can you ever truly lose everythingForced to live in unfamiliar places, with relatives who are strangers, Jersey discovers that the truths she never questioned were just versions of the truth.  Through her grief, fear, and anger, Jersey has to find the strength and courage to move on and unbury those things that even a tornado can't destroy. In Torn Away, author Jennifer Brown takes readers through an emotional journey of surviving a natural disaster -- and so much more. As an audiobook, the pacing was exactly right and the narrator nailed the voices of multiple characters and perfectly portrayed Jersey in her full range of moods.  

Torn Away operates on many different levels, dealing with many different issues. There is the obvious issue of losing one's home and belongings, but the more subtle issues of abandonment, disillusionment, betrayal, and profound loss are where Jennifer Brown's writing really pops.  Her portrayal of Jersey is perfect in how it captures the struggles of any girl this age, but also the struggles she's forced to deal with as a result of the catastrophe -- including reconciling the memory of the mother she thought she knew with the reality of her flaws, imperfections, and even deceptions.  Jersey must redefine every part of her life including who are really her friends and who is really her family.  Jennifer Brown's characters are richly described so that readers will have clear feelings about each of them.  

The author's notes at the end added another level of reality to the story, as she explains her inspiration for the story.  This is a powerful story, and I highly recommend it to young adult and adult readers alike.

This audiobook was provided free in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give.


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