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Torn Perfect Paperback – July 15, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

WINNER - 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards - GLBT category, If a bisexual coming-of-age novel like Torn had been written when I was coming of age in the mid-1970s, it would have gone a long way toward helping me feel sane. In fact, if I could have read this book when I was 14 (the age at which we meet the book s protagonist, Krista McKinley), I probably would have become addicted to this book and carried it with me wherever I went; bisexuals let alone teenaged bisexuals get very few reliable toeholds in our society even today. Torn is a brave and memorable achievement in teen fiction. It is unflinching in its accurate depiction of the curious lust for experience that is basically synonymous with being a teenager. The characters delve into drugs, drinking, and sex just as zealously and carelessly as teenagers do in real life, and they careen into the wall of consequences just as hard. Krista and her friends Carrie, Brandon, Ryan, Nick, and Aeleise (in varying combinations throughout the book) have access to plenty of booze when they want it; they try cocaine and ecstasy; they play football, they re cheerleaders, they attend the homecoming dance as well as bible study groups; some are victims of incest and rape, while others carefully choose when they will lose their virginity and to whom; they have co-ed sleepovers where they kiss and sometimes have sex with each other; they shop a lot and, since this is Southern California, they also go surfing. However, when the characters err in judgment, they get caught and are forced to examine their actions along with their motivations and must somehow make amends. Perhaps most importantly, Torn tackles that complicated identity question of am I bisexual, or [gay or lesbian], or just experimenting? with a huge heart and an honest appraisal, and best yet for bisexuals the answer resounds with hope for teenagers who find themselves genuinely attracted to both sexes. The characters in Torn may seem torrid on the surface, yet Lehman has crafted her characters with such kindness and with such attention to realistic detail that they are easy to become addicted to, even as an adult reader. These are insecure gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters who are fiercely devoted to each other, who hold one another accountable for everything. The few parents depicted in Torn are rich, ineffectual and self-involved. The other parents are curiously absent, with two families being overseen by older brothers. This helps create a world where the teenagers take center stage and are forced to look out for one another. The older brothers (Krista s brother Marc, a doctor; and Aeleise s brother Daemon, a pilot, a devout Christian and a thirty-year-old virgin) are so well-grounded in morals and discipline that they wind up being more effective and more respected than most real-life parents . . . Torn is a page-turner whose ending might possibly astound you. This is a terrific first novel that deserves an open-minded read. You ll make fast friends with the teenagers in this book and if you re already an adult you ll perhaps find yourself feeling friendlier toward the questioning teenager you once were. ----Marilyn Jaye Lewis, Lambda Literary Foundation

A radical shift in environment changes one's world. Torn is the story of Krista McKinley, a Catholic school student who is sent to a public high school by her family. As she finds new friends, her world and her values will still be roughly tested. Torn is an intriguing coming of age story that many teenagers will relate to. ----Midwest Book Review

One of the most difficult periods in a person's life is spent in high school, and TORN, through its excellent character portrayals reinforce just how difficult those few years can be. As a new student, Krista McKinley is deluged with easy opportunities to experiment with alcohol, drugs and sex. This f --E. Elkinson, Wise Owl Book Review

A radical shift in environment changes one's world. Torn is the story of Krista McKinley, a Catholic school student who is sent to a public high school by her family. As she finds new friends, her world and her values will still be roughly tested. Torn is an intriguing coming of age story that many teenagers will relate to. ----Midwest Book Review

One of the most difficult periods in a person's life is spent in high school, and TORN, through its excellent character portrayals reinforce just how difficult those few years can be. As a new student, Krista McKinley is deluged with easy opportunities to experiment with alcohol, drugs and sex. This fourteen year old protagonist faces them head on and makes adult decisions much earlier than she should have to. She emerges knowing a lot more than she did in the beginning: that being true to be true to yourself may not please all of the people all of the time. I was reminded of the TV series My So Called Life, which was a big hit, as I fully expect this book to be. ----E. Elkinson, Wise Owl Book Review

From the Publisher

WINNER - 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards - GLBT category,

2010 Lambda Literary Finalist - Bisexual Fiction

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Closet Case Press; First edition (July 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979593360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979593369
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,444,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Perfect Paperback
"The world is a difficult place for children. Thank God we turn out as well as we do."

In addition to loving to read, I appreciate books that have been obviously created with care. Amber Lehman, in Torn, gives credit to Jill Ronsley. Kudos to both of you for creating a truly beautiful book. Torn is a young adult novel (17+) based upon true stories gathered by the author during her own life. Readers will recognize the love and concern with which she heard and remembered those individuals and their lives, by reading the above beginning note from the author.

I quickly point out that this novel is erotic/sexy--a dramatized story of a young girl named Krista. It is an exciting adventure that many teens will enjoy and learn from through Lehman's subtle but excellent approach.

It may be a difficult book for parents to read; but, in my opinion, you must. Amber Lehman provides a well-written, truly realistic story of the lives of various teens at a local high school. It could be the school your children attend. It could be the lives your children are leading. It could be you, the absent parent(s). With proper guidance and discussions, if I had younger teens, I would also share this book with those mid-teens that are the true characters in this book!

Krista is 14 when her family moves from Ohio to Southern California. Throughout her early years of school she attended a private religious school for girls. Krista would be attending public school for the first time. Her mother is gone for a year, on a church mission in Nicaragua. During her absence, her older half-brother, Marc, a pediatrician, is living at home with Krista and her other half-brother Josh--both with whom she has had little experience in relating/living. Krista dreads starting school.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
Torn is a quick read, but it's not an easy read. I found the subject-matter compelling, and more so given that Amber Lehman doesn't hold back details or sugar-coat her characters' experiences.

In a note from the author, Lehman says "I have never ceased to be amazed at the gentle intimacy that we humans can have for each other, and on the contrary, have never ceased to be shocked at the tendency for brutal inhumanity."

This short reflection is truly sums up the over-arching theme of the story that follows. Torn is centered on Krista, a fourteen-year-old girl who just moved to California from the Midwest and her struggles to find a sense of identity and value in her new community. Our protagonist does what teenagers--like it or not--do: she experiments. She embarks on a familiar but nuanced story of sexual awakening as she faces an abundance of temptation, while trying to figure out her personal sense of what is right and wrong as well as a clear definition of her sense-of-self.

Lehman recounts very realistic scenes with vivid intimacy and candor, scenes that are not uncommon to those "coming-of-age" years and should not be ignored for the courtesy of fragile ears. I recommend this book highly. It is a well-written story with the edge of real life.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
I was a little taken aback when I opened the box which contained "Torn." The first thing I saw was a sticker saying "Winner, Next Generation Indie Book Awards" and then I saw that the book was over 400 pages long. I figured I was in for some long dull reading...but was I wrong.
From the time I read "A Note from the Author" and saw the words "If I had been successful in this task, I have created a place in which hearing these stories is as intimate and personal, as confusing and saddening, as the moments when these stories were first shared with me." I was hooked. And author Amber Lehman didn't fail.
Krista is fourteen and new to Southern California, having moved from Ohio...a completely different world. From the time she stepped out of Our Holy Sisters private school and into Crestmount, her new public school in California things were extremely complicated for her...from the clothes she would have to wear to the fact that boys now were on campus. Not to mention, here she was a fourteen year old trying to find her place in the world without the constant supervision of a mom. Krista was being watched by her older brother while she was away on business.
Being the new kid in school isn't easy, (is anything when you're a teenager?) Luckily Krista meets Carrie, who soon becomes her best friend. Carrie introduces her to Brandon, a dreamboat who all the girls adore, but does he feel the same? Along the way Krista also befriends Nick, Aeleise and Ryan. These friends, especially Carrie, Brandon and Krista, are typical teenagers. Or are they?
Growing up is hard trying to figure out who and what you are. Throughout "Torn" the characters each take turns at figuring out their place in this world.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
A radical shift in environment changes one's world. "Torn" is the story of Krista McKinley, a Catholic school student who is sent to a public high school by her family. As she finds new friends, her world and her values will still be roughly tested. "Torn" is an intriguing coming of age story that many teenagers will relate to.
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