Torn Away, by Jennifer Brown (2014)

Genre: Contemporary Realism
Interest Level: 14-21
Torn AwaySeventeen-year-old Jersey Cameron’s life is far from perfect, but then so is she. Jersey and her two best friends are looking forward to their final year of high school and especially drama club. It beats her life at home, which changed (and not for the better) when her single mother remarried and had a baby. Now four, little sister Marin is more annoying than anything. But then a tornado levels her neighbourhood and Jersey is lucky to be alive. Or is she? “[T]hat would actually have been better. I should have died with them. I wish I had died with them.” Honest, authentic, and riveting, this story grabbed me and didn’t let go. My heart was racing during the description of the tornado itself and the aftermath. Brown develops her characters with a frank and unflinching honesty – adults may be wise or make mistakes, teens can be brats and others can cruel, and parents sometimes put their own needs/interests first. Jersey’s emotions ring absolutely true, and I realized that had I been in her shoes, I would have picked up my backpack and walked out. Hmm. That would be an interesting alternative ending version! Strongly recommended for teens who enjoy dystopic or survival fiction, but not suitable for younger readers. There’s no romance to speak of (hey, priorities, right? survival first …) but Jersey’s pain, and the descriptions of the tornado’s destruction, demand a more mature reader. My thanks to NetGalley for the advance reading copy.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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