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.
First sentence: “Marin wanted to teach me the East Coast Swing. “
Oh, Torn Away, I wish I was swept away with emotions, but alas, that wasn’t the case.
Torn Away tells a story about Jersey Cameron, who loses everything she’s ever loved—her mother, her sister, her house, comfort, security—to a tornado that destroyed her town. It is essentially broken down into three parts—when the tornado occurs, when Jersey is sent to her biological father’s house (where everybody hates her), and when Jersery is sent to live with her maternal grandparents who have not spoken to Jersey or her mother for the past 16 years.
Am I coldhearted that I didn’t feel particularly sad for Jersey when tragedy struck her family? I just felt disconnected and indifferent. Here is this horrible thing that happened, and that’s it. I didn’t particularly care for Jersey since I didn’t connect with her on an emotional level. If you were to ask me what stood out about Jersey (besides the things that happened to her) a week from now, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything. She’s quite a forgettable character; there’s nothing about her that makes her standout—not her interests or her personality. She was just normal. She did and expressed her emotions in a way that was understandable. I wanted to feel her grief, her anger, her every emotion, but the lack of emotional connection to her character formed a barrier I couldn’t get past.
I never felt rooted in the story, nor did I feel like I understood the characters. The characters didn’t have any depth that made me understand them. Everything I knew about them was on a surface level. What do I know about her father? Besides the fact he’s a ridiculous and horrible person? Nothing. And what about her maternal grandmother? Uhhhh, I can’t say too much about her. It doesn’t help that the book is broken down into parts, and in them, I feel like I’m watching them behind a glass, never close enough to feel the emotions, the loss, the fear.
Torn Away would’ve been a book I loved, if I connected with the characters. Unfortunately, I did not. The book was like a case study to me. It was creating awareness for what can happen in the case of a natural disaster, and what can happen to those people who are suddenly without a home or a family, instead of connecting emotionally with the characters and what is happening.