Review: Torn Away

Author: Jennifer Brown
Date of Publication: May 6 2014
Pages: 288
Source: Library ebook

Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.

When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?

In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.


Please note that this review was written in early August. 

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown blew me away. It's the type of contemporary I always hope to read, because it's one that I can connect to emotionally.

I read Torn Away at the perfect time. Jersey goes through a traumatic experience- a tornado that kills her mom and sister, and she's left coping with the loss of her family. Now, I haven't experienced a natural disaster (knock on wood!!!) but it's currently the summer before university, and I will be moving away, and I guess I'm coping with the thought of moving away from my family, especially my mom and sister, like Jersey. Jersey's dynamic with her sister is so similar to my own, because my sister is nine years younger (Jersey is ten years older) and I'm extremely protective of her. So, I understand Jersey and her voice was authentic to me, especially at the beginning.

Jersey is a very normal girl. She tries to be kind, and she loves her family, and sometimes she doesn't treat them the way she would like to. Her reaction to the tornado, and then the realization that she lost her mom and sister rocked me. In fact, I had a hard time reading Torn Away because even the smallest passages resonated with me and I would end up tearing up in public. The writing was so raw and expressive that it felt like thoughts I could easily have, and although the story seems to be a reasonable amount of Kobo pages long, 200, it always kept me on edge.

The beginning was insane, and it's one of the few books that impacted my actions. I considered DNFing Torn Away because it made me sad, and in fact, every moment I read Torn Away made me want to stop reading and play with my sister. But, I figured that I needed to figure out how Jersey dealt with her pain and her rough go at life. I desperately needed her to have a happy ending.

The ending was a little more sugary than I would want, but still very believable. I was surprised during reading that it wasn't just the obvious tragedy that hurt to read about, but I truly cared for Jersey and was rooting for her when she was faced with so many awful people. Jersey learns a bit, and maybe I want what I consider the last third of the story to be expanded upon a little, but I feel like Torn Away was still a great story.

It's a book I'm considering buying (I have no money, this is a big deal!) just because some of the passages need to be highlighted and sticky noted and read every day, because they're so powerful and real. The parts about Jersey's sister, the last epiphany, all the thoughts Jersey had, they were all extremely poignant. So much happened that broke my heart but I feel like the story was very realistic too because everything was written in such a way that it was never all good or all bad.

See, I'm raving about a contemporary! Trust me, this doesn't happen very often, so you need to read Torn Away. It's a great book, it would be a great movie, and I'm planning to read more Jennifer Brown! 5 stars.



  1. Thanks for your review! It's always wonderful when a book speaks right to your heart like Torn Away did for you!

  2. I agree 100% with you on this one! I read it at night while I was at the cottage with my parents and I was bawling by the end and feeling like waking them up (at 3 am) just to hug them and tell them I love them!
    The ending seemed a lil sugary as you said, but damned if she didn't deserved it after all she went through!
    Great review, P.E.!

    1. Aww that's exactly how I felt. And I'm really conflicted about the ending because I want it like that, but I don't know if it actually happens like that. I'll choose to believe in the story though!



What do you think?