Torn Away

Jennifer Brown. Little, Brown, $18 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-24553-1
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. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Release date: 05/06/2014
Genre: Children's
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