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.
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult
This story is a tragic tale about what happens when a teenage girl loses everything when a tornado rips through her town, only to find something she never knew she had.
Jersey’s grown up in the midwest her whole life and thinks she knows all about tornadoes. When she ends up huddled under a pool table as a category 5 destroyed her town, she had no idea of the power and destruction they were capable of.
With the loss of her mother and sister, Jersey’s stepfather shuttles her off to live with her biological father a few hours away. What she finds upon arrival is a less than warm and inviting welcome. Jersey tries to fit in all the while grieving her old life that was swept away in the blink of an eye. Her new family is a stark comparison to the love and support she’d received so openly from her mother. Jersey’s struggle is heartbreaking to read, but in the end, she grows up and finds a family who ultimately loves, understands and grieves with her.
The story was a bit slow at first, and took me a while to get into. Once Jersey makes her way to live with her dad, the story moves along nicely and it sucked me in from that point forward.
Having lost a parent suddenly, I could relate and understand all of Jersey’s emotions and actions. She’s just a teenager forced to deal with a tragic event that flips her entire world upside down. Jennifer Brown did a lovely job showing all the facets of grief and longing for a life that no longer exists.
A really moving story and well worth the read.
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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.