Summary: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.
Growing up, we were taught over and over again what steps to take in case of an approaching tornado. Listen for sirens, go to your basement or cellar, or a closet in the center of your house, duck and cover, wait it out. We had drills twice a year, every year, in school. We talked about it in class. We talked about it at home. The newscasters reminded us. We went to the basement. We practiced, practiced, practiced.
But we’d never— not once— discussed what to do after.
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2014, and I am happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. It’s completely beautiful and utterly emotion and thought-provoking, and I found myself absolutely absorbed into Jersey’s powerful story.
17-year-old Jersey has lived her whole life in the Midwestern town of Elizabeth, Missouri. Being a Midwest girl, she thinks she knows everything there is to know about tornadoes. But she’s wrong. When her town is suddenly destroyed by a horrible tornado, Jersey is unprepared for it’s aftermath.
Losing her mother and younger sister Marin to the horrible storm, Jersey is devastated by grief. And she begins to realize that maybe there are some things- like the power of family and love – that are even too big for even a tornado to destroy.
What the news crews couldn’t show was the real damage Elizabeth’s monster tornado had left behind. How do you record the wreckage left in someone’s heart?
Jersey is a pheonominal protagonist. You can feel her pain, her emotions, her grief, and it’s all so wonderful. She’s someone you can’t help but feel sorry for. Every emotion Jersey feels – the good, the bad, and the ugly – you as a reader feel too.
However, I feel that some of the characters – her drunk father, her cousins, her aunt – were almost too mean to be true. It felt almost a bit unreal to me. Jersey is shipped off – after the tornado – to live with her abusive, drunk father who abandoned her when she was young. There, she’s treated absolutely horribly by her “family.” In a way, there were times when I felt that her treatment was just so mean that it was almost too unreal.
All in all, Torn Away is such a powerful and heartbreaking story and I’d highly recommend it. This novel is bound to make you realize how much you truly have in life and how thankful you should be. It reminds you that life is short, and is not something to take lightly.
I’m wondering if it’s even possible to lose “everything” or if you just have to keep redefining what “everything” is.