Released: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: egalley from publisher (thank you!!)
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I read this book in a day which is really not a thing I should do because it totally distorts my thoughts especially when it comes to pacing/depth. On the other hand, I read this book in a day which obviously means I really enjoyed it.
Jennifer Brown is one of those authors whose books I will automatically read no matter what. In fact, I had no clue what this book was about until I read it. I didn’t feel the need to look at the synopsis because hello Jennifer Brown. This woman is a goddess when it comes to writing heart wrenching and dark stories. I don’t know how she does it, but every single time I read something of hers I’m so absorbed in the story that I cannot. put. it. down. Torn Away was no different.
You guys, this book is dark. It’s depressing and sad and difficult to read because the subject matter is so heavy. When a tornado hits Jersey’s town, both her mother and sister are killed. The only person she has left is her step father, who refuses to take care of her, so she’s shipped off to random family members who don’t give a shit about her. And trust me, saying “don’t give a shit about her” is putting it lightly. I felt so terrible for this girl because it felt like nothing was going right for her. She lost everything. At one point, she almost loses herself to the grief and anger and pain that came as a result of so much loss. I literally wanted to reach into the book and hug Jersey and tell her it was going to be ok.
While much of this book is pretty dark, there’s also a glimmer of hope at the end. One of the big messages of this book is that family isn’t always those who are related to you by blood, but those who are in your heart. I can speak from personal experience and say that this is so incredibly true. Family isn’t always traditional, and that can be really difficult, especially when people you love are taken away from you, but it is possible to create a space where you feel safe and loved again. It takes Jersey a lot of time and A LOT of mistakes to learn this, but she does. And it’s not a magical “everything is good in the world” happy ending either, which made the story only that more realistic.
You guys, I loved this book. If you’re into darker contemporary that pulls at your heart, then this is a perfect choice.