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Torn Away by [Brown, Jennifer]
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Torn Away Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Length: 297 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—Jersey's entire life falls apart in a matter of minutes: a tornado kills her mother and her half-sister Marin and destroys their house. Though Jersey's stepfather, Ronnie, survives, he's too shocked to think about parenting, and so the teen is dispatched to live with the extended paternal family she's never met. Her biological father abandoned her years ago and shows no sign of wanting to mend their relationship, and the rest of the family—her stepmother, stepsisters, and paternal grandparents—either ignore or belittle her. Jersey nourishes herself with sporadic cell phone conversations from friends but fears that the foundation her old life was built on is quickly disappearing. Brown depicts Jersey's reaction to a frightening, life-altering situation expertly, and the protagonist's voice is authentic. For instance, a moment where one member of the family extends a rare kindness by offering to take her for a haircut prompts Jersey to realize that from now on, every decision, whether getting a haircut or deciding to take driver's ed lessons, she's truly on her own—something that will resonate with readers. However, secondary characters are not as fleshed out. Because the book opens with the life-changing tornado, it's hard to get a true sense of her friends, and the new family members tend to be stock types (a brusque, sullen father; a cleavage-baring, party-loving stepmother). The book wraps up a little fast, considering how bleak Jersey's situation is throughout, but readers will be heartened to see glimpses of hope on the horizon. Overall, this is a wrenching story of the will to survive at any cost.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

From Booklist

Whenever something horrible happens, you hear people say they ‘lost everything’ . . . But they have no idea what it’s really like to lose everything. Jersey, like many midwesterners, is jaded by frequent tornado warnings. But when a storm really does rip through her town, her home, and her family, it leaves in its wake an unimaginable hole in each of those areas of her life. As she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to mourn the death of her mother and little sister, she is confronted by another crisis when her stepfather forces her into the volatile home of her long-estranged father. Out of personal and public tragedy, Jersey struggles to find a path forward, a home, and a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other. This is a gut-wrenching and poignant look at the aftermath of natural disaster and the secrets that families keep, written with raw honesty and deep emotion. Grades 7-10. --Heather Booth

Product details

  • File Size: 1458 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 6, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 6, 2014
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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