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Torn Away
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Torn Away
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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,...
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,...
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Description-

  • 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.

About the Author-

  • Jennifer Brown writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area with her family. She is the author of Hate List, Torn Away, Thousand Words, Perfect Escape, and Bitter End.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 24, 2014
    When a tornado strikes Jersey’s hometown in Missouri, her house and neighborhood are destroyed, but her losses cut much deeper: her mother and five-year-old sister are among the many killed in the storm. Jersey counts on her stepfather to help her pick up the pieces, but a shell-shocked Donnie claims he can’t raise her, sending her to live with her biological father, an alcoholic who abandoned Jersey’s mother when Jersey was a baby. Jersey is horribly mistreated by his family, and after she runs away, she ends up with her last chance: her estranged maternal grandparents. Jersey was raised to hate them, but she begins to understand that her mother’s version of events may have omitted some crucial information. Brown (Thousand Words) gives readers a true sense of the horror wrought by the storm and the agony of its aftermath; her ability to create rich, complex characters is once again in evidence. While the cruelty of Jersey’s father’s family is somewhat over the top, Jersey’s feelings are achingly real and relatable. Ages 12–up. Agent: Cori Deyoe, 3 Seas Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2014
    Jersey Cameron has lived her whole life in Elizabeth, Mo., where the weather is unpredictable, and complaining about it is a full-time job. When Jersey's mother and little sister perish in a tornado, Jersey finds herself rejected by her guilt-ridden, emotionally paralyzed stepfather. He sends her to live in a house full of hostile strangers comprising her alcoholic biological father, who left Jersey and her mother when Jersey was a baby; his boorish wife and her two spoiled daughters (the Cinderella connection won't be lost on readers); and Jersey's heartless grandparents. Jersey is immediately put to work washing everyone else's dishes and is made to sleep on a sofa on the porch (sleeping among the ashes must have been considered too obvious). After a particularly nasty fight with the evil stepsisters, Jersey runs away and finds herself with another set of strangers: her mother's estranged parents. Readers may find themselves wanting to throttle Jersey by the middle of the book; while Brown starts off doing a wonderful job depicting the grief and depression that comes with such a catastrophic loss, Jersey ends up sounding whiny. The novel's didacticism--Jersey continually reflects on how good she had it before the tornado, regretting sharp words she can't take back--also causes it to lose its edge. A lukewarm story about finding family and starting over. (Fiction. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2014

    Gr 8 Up-Jersey's entire life falls apart in a matter of minutes: a tornado kills her mother and her half-sister Marin and destroys their house. Though Jersey's stepfather, Ronnie, survives, he's too shocked to think about parenting, and so the teen is dispatched to live with the extended paternal family she's never met. Her biological father abandoned her years ago and shows no sign of wanting to mend their relationship, and the rest of the family-her stepmother, stepsisters, and paternal grandparents-either ignore or belittle her. Jersey nourishes herself with sporadic cell phone conversations from friends but fears that the foundation her old life was built on is quickly disappearing. Brown depicts Jersey's reaction to a frightening, life-altering situation expertly, and the protagonist's voice is authentic. For instance, a moment where one member of the family extends a rare kindness by offering to take her for a haircut prompts Jersey to realize that from now on, every decision, whether getting a haircut or deciding to take driver's ed lessons, she's truly on her own-something that will resonate with readers. However, secondary characters are not as fleshed out. Because the book opens with the life-changing tornado, it's hard to get a true sense of her friends, and the new family members tend to be stock types (a brusque, sullen father; a cleavage-baring, party-loving stepmother). The book wraps up a little fast, considering how bleak Jersey's situation is throughout, but readers will be heartened to see glimpses of hope on the horizon. Overall, this is a wrenching story of the will to survive at any cost.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    May 15, 2014
    Grades 7-10 Whenever something horrible happens, you hear people say they lost everything' . . . But they have no idea what it's really like to lose everything. Jersey, like many midwesterners, is jaded by frequent tornado warnings. But when a storm really does rip through her town, her home, and her family, it leaves in its wake an unimaginable hole in each of those areas of her life. As she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to mourn the death of her mother and little sister, she is confronted by another crisis when her stepfather forces her into the volatile home of her long-estranged father. Out of personal and public tragedy, Jersey struggles to find a path forward, a home, and a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other. This is a gut-wrenching and poignant look at the aftermath of natural disaster and the secrets that families keep, written with raw honesty and deep emotion.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

  • VOYA, starred review Vivid and emotional...Torn Away is a superb read.
  • Publishers Weekly Brown gives readers a true sense of the horror wrought by the storm and the agony of its aftermath; her ability to create rich, complex characters is once again in evidence.
  • Library Media Connection This is a satisfying book that explores an intriguing situation: what happens to a girl who loses everything that meant anything, and who learns that there may be more love left in the world.

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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