Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Torn Away - Jennifer Brown (+ Giveaway)

Torn Away - Jennifer Brown
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Little, Brown!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher for review. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in this review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

There are so many things I'd like to say about Torn Away. But what lingers the most with me when it comes to this remarkable book is the emotion. I empathized with Jersey so much that I experienced all her emotions right along with her, to the point where I found myself sobbing on the subway.

Yes, Torn Away is that sort of book - a quietly brilliant contemporary that will sneak up on the reader and perform an emotional assassination that will leave you reeling in the best way.

The level of tragedy in Torn Away is off the charts. A tornado sweeps through Jersey's hometown, and takes away the things she holds dear in her life - her mother, her sister, her home. The devastation of this natural disaster echoed many that I've born witness to in the news - earthquakes, typhoons, fires, tsunamis - and the same feeling of helplessness, desperation, grief, anger and fear made itself known right away. Brown excellently portrays the situation, clearly defining the sort of grief and anger survivors go through in the wake of something as tremendous as this.

In the midst of this maelstrom of emotions and ruin, Jersey lives. Her grief and her anger and her denial often threaten to overwhelm her, and it only worsens as she is sent away to live with people she has never even met before. The things that Jersey goes through are terrible, and just add to the heaping pile of emotions she's already trying to sort through. Her story is so sad and heartbreaking, and I could completely understand her actions and choices and what spurred them on. 

What she has to go through is so hard, so brutal, that I simply wanted to bundle her up and make sure she found a place where she could grieve, let go and find hope again. Thankfully, Torn Away does arrive at a point where Jersey, if not completely 100%, is getting better and finding hope again. While I'm sure that what she's lost will always linger, it's heartwarming to see how Jersey learns to separate herself from the grief and anger and find the will to hope and live and open her heart again.

Torn Away simply took my breath away with the emotional turmoil of Jersey's story. While it wasn't the easiest set of experiences to read about, it also felt like one of the most real tales I've encountered in a while. It's a story that will make you grateful for all your blessed with, and make you want to hold on a little tighter to all the people you love. Brown's ability to tackle emotions and relationships once again makes itself known, and I'm fast becoming a loyal fan of hers.

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See the full tour schedule here!
As part of my participation in the blog tour for Torn Away, I'm hosting a giveaway for a copy of the novel! Please note that this giveaway is US ONLY.

14 comments:

  1. New Follower - from www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com and can't wait to read Jennifer Brown's new book. I love her writings and her book "Hate List" is on my top ten favourites.

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    1. I haven't read Hate List yet, but I certainly intend to! I really love the way she's able to tap into her character's emotions and make the reader feel them as well.

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  2. Thank you for participating. Great review.

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  3. I loved Jennifer's book the Hate List. I will be reading this book because I read some great early reviews.

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  4. Although I enjoyed this one, I have to admit that it is my least favorite of her books I've read so far - Hate List and Thousand Words blew me away. I love Jennifer Brown though. I think she is amazing. The first 100 pages of this story were the epitome of everything i love about her writing - it was so emotional. But I got so angry at her biological father and couldn't wrap my head around the fact that people could be so terrible and that made me detach from the book a little, and then I got mad at Jersey for being so horrible to her mother's parents. I know I should give her some leeway but I am a sucker for old people. But despite my own personal problems, I know this was a great book. I would recommend any Jennifer Brown books!

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    1. I actually haven't read either of those two (Hate List or Thousand Words), but I definitely intend to. I really struggled with Jersey at times, even though I tried to make allowances for her grief and anger and all these new places and people being dragged into her life. Even though I don't think her actions were justifiable (and neither were the ones of her dad and his family), I think I just felt like it was acceptable under the circumstances. Really enjoyed this!

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  5. I think I want to read it because I'm terrified to read it! A couple years ago a tornado came through our town and wiped tons of it away. The damage is still here and the idea of a tornado is still terrifying and heartbreaking.

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    1. Oh my! I can't imagine how devastating an experience that must have been, and my heart goes out to you and your community just thinking about it. I hope that, should you choose to read it, you'll be able to focus more heavily on the hopefulness that lurks beneath Jersey's emotional journey!

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  6. An emotional assassination? WOW Alexa. You sure know just what to say to get me totally excited to read a book, don't you? I've never read a Jennifer Brown book, but I pretty much wanna get to all of hers. But this one. You made it sound AMAZING. :)

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    1. That phrase came to me out of thin air while I was writing my review, and I just had to include it because it described my feelings perfectly. I was seriously surprised by how emotional I got while reading Torn Away! Jersey's story is incredibly sad, and there's also a lot of anger there too. But there's a thread of hope that kept me going and helped the book end on a good note. Hope you enjoy it when you do get around to reading it!

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  7. This book looks so good! As a Midwest girl, we get a lot of tornado warnings. I've never experienced one firsthand, but I have had plenty of nights hunkered down in the basement, hoping that a tornado won't actually form. I feel like this book is going to be so emotional. I love books like that.

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    1. I've never had to experience a tornado warning, but I can imagine it must be pretty scary! You'll have to tell me if Brown manages to capture the feeling of a tornado warning and tornado if you do read this one.

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  8. I adore Jennifer Brown's writing.

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  9. I have been intending to read some Jennifer Brown but have never gotten around to it. Het novels sound amazing, so I think that I'll bee picking up Torn Away SOON. And the fact that my name is also Jennifer Brown means that's it's a must!

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