Torn Away

Torn Away

4.05 (4,698 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 172 x 217 x 27mm | 410g
  • Little, Brown Young Readers
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0316245534
  • 9780316245531
  • 950,242

Review quote

Praise for Jennifer Brown:

* "Brown skillfully navigates the emotional complexities and psychological minefields of her characters and their relationship." - Publishers Weekly on Perfect Escape, starred review

* "Startling, powerful, and poignant." - School Library Journal on Hate List, starred review

* "Brown demonstrates an expert ability to handle difficult subject matter....Entirely authentic." - Publishers Weekly on Bitter End, starred review
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About Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri, area with her husband and three children. She is the author of Thousand Words; Perfect Escape; Bitter End, which was named an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults title; and Hate List, which was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.
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Rating details

4,698 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 38% (1,780)
4 37% (1,719)
3 20% (917)
2 4% (205)
1 2% (77)

Our customer reviews

I wanted to read Torn Away because the aftermath of a devastating tornado sounds like the perfect storm of emotions, powerful grief and sense of loneliness and desperation. I have also read other books by Jennifer Brown and enjoyed so this would appeal to me for that reason even if the synopsis didn't grab me, which it did. We get a little snapshot of Jersey's life before the tornado hit, but it was a powerful one. It is a memory of telling her little sister to go away, and those words as well as how often she ignored her requests to play would haunt her after the storm hit her house and she is afraid of the fate of her sister and that of her mom. We see some exasperation with Jersey and her mom requesting her to do chores, and Jersey's reminiscing how she would feel less burdened by helping when it was just her and her mom, but it is harder on her know that her mom is remarried and the number of people have doubled. We can see that her and her mom had a close relationship even with the current teenage entitlement and bucking against what asked to do. When the tornado hits, there is automatic fear and a great sense of loss. Not only was Jersey worried about her whole family who wasn't at home, but seeing the devastation of the storm on their house and belongings. When the storm passes and she makes her way outside she sees so much of her neighborhood and everything she can see is torn up. Even the roads, so they are cut off from emergency vehicles. The neighbors band together as much as possible at first, searching for survivors in the wreckage and figuring out shelter from the following rain and thunderstorms. That knitting together in tragedy when so much in uncertain kept some lightness even though it was such a harrowing situation to be in. Helping and giving what's left of your possessions when you are dealing with your own sense of loss shows to the goodness that is in so many people. Jersey was a mix of strong and vulnerable. Opening up to her friends and neighbor who helped her too right after the tornado hit was where we could see how much she was struggling. But she just keeps dealing with each challenge and figuring out some way to survive. She has this honesty in her voice, where we know that she is going through a lot, but she somehow manages to keep some optimism. It was a long road for Jersey to even get to a place where she felt wanted and loved, but I was pleased at how the story wrapped up. Maybe a bit more time with her final living arrangements but I did like that it wasn't perfect for her right away and that she learned more of the young side of her mom who made mistakes in her life as well as how she portrayed extended family. Bottom Line: Powerful and emotional story about a town and in particular one strong teen devastated by a more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
Oh my! Wow! Wow! This may well be the best book I've read this year! Written unpretentiously with emotion and realism, this is a book that grabs you by the heart and doesn't let go until the final sigh. I love this book so much I don't have much to say that isn't just plain gushing. My most telling comment can be to explain that for several pages just past the middle of the book, I *actually* wept! This is not something I do. I don't cry at movies and certainly not over books. I'm autistic, Asperger's to be precise, a logical person who can talk and explain emotions without expressing any emotion and make-believe just *does not* bring me to tears. Yet there was a point in "Torn Away" when a lump formed in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes and for several pages they streamed down my face. My highest praise. Bravo, Jennifer Brown. I will most certainly be taking a look at her other more
by Nicola Mansfield
I didn�?�¢??t know what to expect going into reading Torn Away, all I knew was that it would be was quite devastating, and it was. Torn Away starts off like any normal day, but then devastation strikes and I felt all the pain. The writing style of Jennifer Brown was simply stunning. It captured me in so many different ways �?�¢?? the emotions that I experienced in Torn Away made it where I could not stop the tears from falling down, with the anger and the hurt. After the death of her mother and sister by a tragic tornado that hit her town, Jersey is shipped off to her biological father, whom she hasn�?�¢??t seen since she was a baby. Her family, her father�?�¢??s family are so frustrating and not understanding in any way. I cannot really explain how they acted in a way but let�?�¢??s just they made my blood boiled. She not only had to go through the journey of grief but with people that don�?�¢??t care, but people that don�?�¢??t feel the same. It�?�¢??s heartbreaking. Jersey is a very interesting protagonist. She is so strong, I wouldn't have managed the way she did. Her loss made me, most likely make other readers, realise what really is important in life. It might also re-define your priorities. There is no physical human in Torn Away that is the villain. The only villain here is the tornado - Their damage is unstoppable, even often unanticipated. They can destroy lives in a matter of seconds. Torn Away is a really hard book to review, not because it isn�?�¢??t good, but because it is so emotionally draining that you feel so torn and broken after reading it. It tells a tale of loneliness, loss and grief, but, fundamentally, it�?�¢??s not a tale of hopelessness. We as readers go on the grief journey with Jersey. We go through the hurt, frustration and finally understanding. The thing that hurt me the most was how Jersey dealt with the death of her sister. I have 3 siblings myself and I have no idea how I would manage in any way shape or form if they died. Jersey�?�¢??s memories of her little sister are so emotional. She held onto these memories, some positive and beautiful and some negative. You felt the hurt. I believed and felt every emotion of Jersey �?�¢?? The hurt, the loss, the anger. Then finally we get to see some happiness in her life. After her not so good experience with her father and his family, she moves in with her mother�?�¢??s parents. Even though she is going through the grief, she finally starts to see some light. The little moments with her grandfather were just beautiful. And the moment at the end with her grandmother brought tears to my eyes, in a good way. Then there is Kolby. He is the boy next door, he becomes Jersey's support along with her grandparents. Jennifer Brown is talented writer who builds situations and people that are not only convincing, but appropriate too. Overall, even though Torn Away was heartbreaking. The author reaches without much effort at all, breaks down your walls and touches you so you cry like a more
by Angelique
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