Torn Away by Jennifer Brown, released May 2014. Well, Jennifer Brown has done it again! She is my favorite author when it comes to realistic teen fiction. Jennifer writes about the tough stuff: school shootings, dating abuse, mental health, sexting, and losing your family. All of these topics are addressed in a relatable and interesting way for teens. I fly through J. Brown’s books every time I get my hands on a new one and I crave them each time I know there is a new one coming. In Torn Away, Jersey is faced with a devastating reality after a tornado strikes her small Missouri town and destroys everything in its path. She must learn how to go on and get past all her new fears and sadness. As her mother says, “Family is not about blood, it’s about what’s in your heart”, so will Jersey find out what family really is, or will she be stuck with her useless father that she had never met before forced to stay with him after the tornado? As someone who has always had a fear of tornadoes, I found it interesting to read about Jersey’s thoughts and feelings after the storm hit. It also made me think of the tornado that went through Joplin, MO a few years ago and what those people must have gone through, which is also what inspired Jennifer’s story. While Jennifer does write about tough stuff, she is a master of wrapping up a story nicely and giving you the feel-goods. Let’s just say that I closed the book with a smile on my face, even though it was 11:30 at night and I was dead tired. This will definitely be another that I will be putting into the hands of as many students as possible next school year. I can’t wait to start sharing it with them!
Who would I recommend this to?: Any of my teens, especially my reluctant readers who want a relatable story
My rating (out of 5): 5
Language: Not an issue
Sex: Also not an issue
Drugs/Alcohol: References to alcoholism within the family, but no use of it by teens in the story