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Torn Hardcover – July 30, 2013

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–Torn follows Ellie, a 19-year-old British medic, during her first few days in Afghanistan. Her squad is attached to a small troop of American SEALs who must find a hidden cache of arms and learn about a children's army that is fighting both the Western Coalition and the Taliban. Ellie becomes a surrogate big sister to a young prisoner of war and also deals with an intense attraction to the commander of the SEALs. This book covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time, which is probably realistic. Teen readers are dropped into the war alongside Ellie, and as she learns to find her feet, they do as well. Massey's writing is clear and down to earth. He conveys the horror of war, but never with gratuitous violence. He creates a solid sense of mood; wartime has intense energy, with almost constant fear and worry, yet there are also moments of calm and peace, and soldiers (and readers) grab onto those moments tightly when they appear. A thread of magical realism meanders through the tale, never enough to take readers out of the story, but enough to make one wonder: Is it the fog of war or something else? This only adds to the appeal of the book. An intriguing mystery and a terrific first novel.–Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Vivid and terrifying action sequences light up this intense page-turner featuring a young British medic, Elinor, assigned to a forward operating base in Afghanistan. As if her oddly hostile tent mate, a weak commanding officer, an ambush on patrol, and an RPG attack on the compound aren’t challenges enough, the arrival of an American SEAL team, led by a disturbingly attractive lieutenant, sends Elinor’s support unit deep into Taliban territory. The mission: to find both a secret arms cache and also a missing journalist and her teenage daughter, Aroush. But Elinor has already seen Aroush, walking unharmed through vicious firefights just before someone dies. Then Aroush disappears—one of several mysteries that ultimately unfold into a tragic, ugly tale involving child warriors, an entire village massacred by drones, and corruption in high places. Displaying the bravado to bill herself the love child of House and Lara Croft, but more than just a standard-issue action hero, Elinor makes a winningly courageous, tough-minded protagonist-narrator who is nonetheless deeply affected by what she sees and experiences. Readers will be, too. (An afterword about children of war not seen.) Grades 7-10. --John Peters

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House (July 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545496454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545496452
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Massey's varied career has taken him from teaching and music journalism to presenting, producing and writing for radio.

As the Romanian revolution was ending, David led a team taking supplies to Bucharest and Timisoara. On the way home he stopped near Checkpoint Charlie to help chip holes in the Berlin Wall. Rather fittingly, David and his wife Debi now run Globehuggers Emergency Supplies - a business specializing in bespoke grab bags and emergency equipment.

David's debut young adult novel TORN was published in August 2013 on the Chicken House/Scholastic label and went on to win the Lancashire Awards Book of the year 2013 and has been nominated in the UK for several other awards including the prestigious Brandford Boase, Leeds Award, and the Coventry Inspiration Award.

David's second novel TAKEN was released in the UK in March 2014 and has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Rogers ClarkIV on September 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What was she thinking? Nineteen year old Brit Elinor Nielson finds herself working as a medic in Afghanistan, warily partnered with American soldiers in the hinterlands. It's hotter than Hades during the day and cold enough to make her teeth chatter at night. Nobody's sure who the enemy is or whether they're making progress toward gaining trust and restoring peace. Her first morning finds her being spied upon by a bunch of male soldiers while showering and encountering inexplicable hostility from her tent mate corporal Heidi Larson, another medic.
This book doesn't waste any time. Right after breakfast, Ellie is sent out on patrol with her fellow soldiers, having achieved some sort of truce with the peeping toms. She realized very quickly that getting along and ignoring her anger over the shower incident is trumped by the need for everyone to have each others' backs. This is emphasized big time when they come under sniper fire right after her fellow grunt, Yugi realizes he's stepped on an IED and if he moves, it will blow him to bits. Ellie remembers how she and her dad used to play guessing games relating to how much things weighed back home. She doesn't stop to figure out what the rulebook says, but drops her rifle and starts looking for something that she can weigh down so it will approximate Yugi's body weight. She's successful, but in the midst of the firefight, she sees a burka clad girl in a bright blue dress with flowers on it. She tries warning her off, but the girl seems to be unaware that she's in the middle of a fire fight.
When the dust settles following the skirmish, Ellie is in hot water, even though she saved Yugi. Heidi seems intent on getting her disciplined.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vicky @ Books, Biscuits, and Tea on August 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Originally reviewed at: [...]
Rating: 5 out of 5 biscuits

When I first saw David Massey's Torn and what the story's about, I knew I had to read it. Even though the synopsis doesn't give too much away, I had a feeling I'd be in for an emotional ride. My only concern was that (and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way) I don't normally read war books so I was hoping it wouldn't be too... you know, war-like and all about politics. However, I shouldn't have worried - for David Massey makes this difficult subject accessible for the young adult generation with such ease that you just won't be able to put the book down.

Torn is narrated by a 19-year-old British medic called Ellie, who's recently joined the troops in Afghanistan. Ellie is likeable and funny but very down-to-earth and ordinary as well - just like any of us. Massey's aim by writing the story from a young girl's perspective was to raise awareness to the fact that many young adults have died in the Afghan war, as well as adults. In fact, most of the characters in Torn are around Ellie's age, and even younger. There are kids as young as 12 and soldiers around the age of 20-23. Reading what these people have been through was definitely an eye-opener for me. Even though it's not just about people dying but friendship, love, and forgiveness as well, you still can't help thinking about troops who are fighting in these circumstances day by day.

One of the things I loved the most was the friendship between Ellie and a young, twelve/thirteen year-old Afghan boy, Husna who the British troops hold captive after a gunfire attach in a nearby town. I loved the unlikely friendship between captor and captive and how much Husna changed by the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian Katcher on November 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a story about a real war that's still going on, but the author has evidently done little research, focusing instead on the plot and the characters. In the author's note, he actually lists playing 'Call of Duty' as research. And it shows. He has soldiers using bayonets, Navy SEALS referred to as Marines, and and a private who constantly argues with Lieutenants and Captains. The covers refers to a romance between the main character and an American soldier, but other than almost kissing on page 226, nothing of the sort ever happens. If this was about a fictitious war in an imaginary country, fine. The characters are likeable and the plot is engaging. But this is an actual conflict, people are still dying, and Massey decides to add ghosts (yes, ghosts) to the mix. Not cool.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Madam Librarian on July 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Striking and vivid this book seamlessly blends war accounts with fantasy in this riveting young adult novel. British medic, Ellie, gets more than she ever bargained for when she finds herself arriving at her new military base, not only is she in constant threat of danger but she has to have the capability and level-headedness to save the lives of her fellow soldiers. As if that weren't enough to shoulder, she soon finds herself seeing a young Afghan girl in the warzone. Ellie thinks her eyes are playing tricks on her, how can this girl survive the firestorms, landmines, and bullets? She soon realizes that this girl may be a bad omen, whereever she is, death follows; or is that just superstition?

Girl and boy teens alike will enjoy this read. It's gory, bloody, horrific, romantic, thrilling, etc. It's got something for everyone!

I received this novel for free from Librarything in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.
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