Title: Torn Away
Publication: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Blog Tour/Netgalley
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
This story touches home because I lived in one of the places that got hit by tornadoes in 2011. I can completely understand Jersey fear of storms now. She loses everything she's known and the one person that she thought would stand by her pushes her away. I don't like how her step father, Ronnie treats her, it was selfish of him to only think of his grief. Jersey moves in with her estranged father, Clay's parents and they treat her like the ugly step child. Only one person shows her some sympathy and that's her aunt Terry but even she doesn't help her much. She discovers she has two sisters Meg and Lexie, who are absolutely retched girls, who are horrible to Jersey the entire time. The grandparents are disgusting people as well as her father Clay and his wife Tonette. Things get so bad that she contemplates running away hoping she can reach her step father to change his mind about keeping her. Jersey has a lot of hurt, anger, and resentment but she gradually begins to see that the truth isn't what she thought and maybe she has an opportunity to begin again. Overall, I liked this story because it's one that I can identify with and I think others will as well because of the emotional aspect.
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.
I think we never thought it would be an after like this one.
It seemed like forever before the rain and wind stopped. It was still gray around me, but the sky had lightened up enough that I could see fine without a flashlight, which I'd dropped in my scramble to the pool table.Kolby. I would go get Kolby. See if he could call my mom from his phone. Slowly, I uncurled myself and, after a moment of hesitation, slid out from under the table and sat up.
At the opposite end of the basement, where Ronnie's workbench normally sat, there was no ceiling. The floor I had been standing on while rummaging for a flashlight just fifteen minutes before was now buried in a dusty pile of rubble-what used to be our kitchen, except the table was gone and the walls were gone and the plates had fallen out of their cabinets, which were also gone, and now lay in a heap on the concrete basement floor.
What was worse-I could see the sky where the kitchen used to be. Wires and broken pipes jutted out here and there. Water gushed from somewhere.
"Oh my God," I said, pulling myself up to standing, unsure whether my wobbly legs would keep me that way. "Oh my God."
I took a few steps to the rubble. The closer I got, the more sky I could see. The kitchen walls, they were gone. Completely and totally gone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist. Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.
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