Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Torn Away

I have always liked author, Jennifer Brown.  Torn Away is her newest!

Please don't read this book if you have a fear of tornadoes.  Sixteen-year-old Jersey loses her mom and step-sister in a powerful storm. I shed tears....first for the loss of the material possessions, then the loss of life, then for the family relationships that Jersey never knew she had.

Jersey lives with her family; mom, step-dad and step-sister, in a small Missouri town.  Her entire world "blows apart" in Chapter One.  The gray clouds and humid weather, kind of like today, gives way to a powerful storm.  The tornado sirens start. Reluctantly Jersey, who is home alone, heads to the basement. She rides out the storm underneath her step-dad's pool table.  The entire home is destroyed by the tornado.

As the nightmare sinks in, so does the desperation.  Jersey finds that the storm has claimed over 100 deaths, and that her mom and Marin are two of those.  Jersey tries to find a  home with her estranged biological father; to be honest, he and his family are awful! That "home" doesn't last long. Next she moves in with her maternal grandparents who she has never met.  You will have to read the book to find out the resolution.

Overcoming adversity and dealing with loss are two major themes in this heartbreaking book.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

This new book is very raw and very emotional.  I am only going to suggest it for mature readers.  Ellen
Hopkins has a quote on the front cover, "I wish every young woman could gain the wisdom found in these pages.  Quiet. Stark. Possibly life-changing."

My heart aches for ten-year-old Anna. In the beginning of the book mom is chasing after another "potential husband and stepfather", leaving Anna home alone all too often.  She grows up alone and lonely.

As a young teenager Anna discovers that boys will fill the void left by her mother.  She is searching for a family and for the love she couldn't get from her mother.  She makes many, many poor decisions involving sex, drugs, dropping out of school and alcohol.....she is defeated, but honest.  When Anna meets Sam she finally finds the kind of family she has craved.  And while that relationship does end abruptly,  she finally realizes she is in charge of her life and that she can break from all the past mistakes.  It is hopeful.