Friday, July 4, 2014

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Synopsis: "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."

Title: Torn Away
Genre: Contemporary
Series: None
Pages: 276
Ages: 13+
My Rating: 3 stars
One Word: Inspiring
Fave Quote: "But then something really huge hit the house. I heard the tinkling of glass breaking upstairs, on the other end of the house, over where Marin's bedroom was. A loud metallic grating noise seared the air outside as something was pushed down the street. I only had seconds to think about Kolby, to wonder if he was still out there, when the basement window suddenly shattered, ushering in an enormous roar of noise" (20).

"I could see them, hand in hand, sprinting across he street tot the grocery store, ushering the little girls along in their sparkly leotards and their tightly bound updos. I could hear the girls' frightened voices, could smell the electricity in the air, could feel the sirens bleating through their bodies.
I could see them, eyes going wide as the tornado became visible, and then squinching down tight as debris and cars and streetlights and entire roofs looked like dots of little in the sky, before crashing down onto the streets.
I could feel them, fear sinking in-fear and the instinct for self-preservation-as they thrust themselves down the aisles at the grocery store, hoping to get far enough..." (237).


I was so frustrated reading this book, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. The grief and sadness (I cried more than once) felt so real, that I personally wanted to give the book 0 stars just because I was so depressed reading it. However, reading how Jersey goes through the trouble everyday waking up after her mom and sister died is so inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time.

I've always complained about my town and life. Too ordinary. Too boring. Too systematic; wake up, go to school, go to a sport, go home, do homework, repeat. But, this book made me reconsider what I have and it made me realize that I take the biggest things in my life for granted, like my mom, my house, my ordinary life in general. I would take this boring, uneventful life any day than a depressing one if it means that my family and friends will be safe and be in my life.

Jersey's tragic experience and her inspiring recovery from her mom and sister's lives sucked all the emotions out of me and left my staring blankly at the book, with tears running down my face. I told myself I wouldn't cry when I started the book, but God, putting Jersey's little sister, Marin, in the picture and all of her innocent memories just broke my heart. I can't imagine a little girl dying before she could have the opportunity to live her life.

This book was fascinating to read, but also heartbreaking, and that's what created the beauty of it. I usually never take those cheesy life quotes seriously, like "live every day to it's fullest", or "the smallest things in life have the biggest meaning". This book, however, made me rethink those little life lessons and actually put them to heart. All of the pain Jersey has to go through with Ronnie, Clay and his family, and then the tornado sirens at her grandmothers house just made me feel so sympathetic to her. But, it also made me able to point out the happier times easier, like with Kolby, and her grandparents, and Marin's purse. All of those little things pushed Jersey along, and I'll always remember this simple, yet powerful book when I experience little tragedies throughout my daily life.


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