Sunday, March 9, 2014

TORN AWAY by Jennifer Brown

Torn AwayReview copy courtesy of
Due for release in May 2014

Watching her little sister Marin dance is the last thing Jersey wants to do.  She is trying to watch TV, and Marin will not leave her alone.  Jersey just wishes her mother and Marin would leave for the dance studio so she can relax in peace.  She never realized that these were the last few precious minutes she would be spending with both of them.

Shortly after her mother and little sister depart for Marin's dance class, an approaching storm threatens to become serious.  Jersey watches nervously as the sky darkens.  When the tornado siren begins to wail, she follows the family emergency procedure and heads to the basement.  Hoping her sister and mother have arrived at their destination safely and her stepfather has been able to pull over on his way home from work, she waits and worries.  The noise of the storm increases and with a roar, the tornado attacks Jersey's town.  The power and pressure of the twister are terrifying.  Jersey cowers under the pool table as her house is torn apart around her.

When the storm passes, Jersey makes her way out of the basement to find complete devastation.  Her neighborhood has been leveled for as far as she can see.  After learning that her best friend and neighbor has survived along with his family, she picks her way through the debris and makes her way to the dance studio in search of her mother and sister.  The studio is totally gone and there is no news of her loved ones.

Returning home, Jersey waits to hear from her stepfather.  He eventually makes his way home, but the news he brings with him is heartbreaking.  Jersey's mother and sister had left the dance studio to rush across the street to the safety of the grocery store.  Once in the store they were killed by falling shelving units before they could make it to the safety of the walk-in cooler.  How will they carry on with half their family gone?

Author Jennifer Brown captures the terror of surviving a powerful tornado and the difficulty of dealing with the aftermath.  The physical devastation is bad enough, but when Brown adds the complication of a homeless teen and her painful loss, readers will be caught in the grip of this all too real story. 

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