Thursday, May 08, 2014
REVIEW: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
In some ways, Torn Away is told in two separate parts. The first is finding out what happened when the main character, Jersey, finds herself in the middle of a tornado and how she tries to cope after the destruction it has caused. She was on her own at home when the tornado hits and Jersey has no idea how her mother and her little sister as they were on their way to a dance class in town. She also has no idea if her stepfather managed to survive the storm.
This is quite heart-breaking to read as the tornado that has hit Jersey's town wreaks such havoc in her area, there are so many houses and things that have blown away. Jersey is left scrambling for food and shelter and warmth as she awaits her mom or stepfather to come home and deal with things and obviously the emergency services are stretched thin with so many people needing attention. In this part of the story, I really liked the friendship between Jersey and her next door neighbour. It was nice to see Jersey with somebody around to help her with everything she is going through.
The second part of the story deals with the aftermath of the tornado and the death of Jersey's mother and sister. In many ways, this contains the bulk of the story as Jersey is passed around to different family members and really begins to question her own identity as it has been so tied into her family. Now that her mom and sister are dead and she begins to learn things about the rest of her family that contradicts what she had been told about her mom, Jersey begins to really struggle with who she is and how different her life has become.
Jersey feels so much guilt and grief over the loss of her family. Guilt because of the way she treated her little sister before she was gone. I found the little memories she writes on the gum wrappers tore my heart out one little illustration at a time. There's such a painful rawness in Jersey's feelings about her little sister. Jersey is also incredibly angry and bitter at the unfairness of everything.
I really loved this story about loss and finding a place to belong after losing everything important. I love that there is absolutely no romance in this book and that it focuses more on family and belonging and slowly becoming okay again after bereavement. I will always look forward to future books by Jennifer Brown!