Review: Torn Away – Jennifer Brown (Blog Tour/Giveaway)

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tornaway

Title: Torn Away [Amazon]
Author: Jennifer Brown [website]
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Netgalley/Digital ARC
Stars: 4 of 5

Publisher Description:
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.

My Thoughts:
I have been a fan of Jennifer Brown’s books since I read Hate List what seems like forever ago. I have read every Young Adult book she has published and loved them all. She has a way about her writing that just gets the hard stuff right. Her stories are filled with heavy, emotional issues and she always seems to do them with class and grace and nothing preachy. So naturally when I saw she had a new one coming out, Torn Away, it was a no brainier that I had to read. And once again Brown came through.

Torn Away is about Jersey a Midwestern girl that has grown up with the threat of tornadoes her whole life. They’ve been trained and conditioned to know what to do in case one hits. However they have never experienced one so they all have become desensitized on what it will mean if one does hit. And hit it does. In one night Jersey loses everything that is important to her. Her mom, little sister, belongings and home all taken away by a tornado and she is left alone and scared and uncertain. When her step father thinks it’s best for her to be with family Jersey is first sent to live with the father she never knew and then to the grandparents she never wanted to know. Dealing with her loss and grief and changes to her life she didn’t expect Jersey learns stuff about her mom, her family and about herself she never could have imagined.

This book made my heart hurt. I hurt for Jersey. I hurt for Jersey’s sister. I hurt for Jersey’s mom. I just hurt. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to go through something like this. To have everything you know and love ripped away from you in the blink of an eye over wind and the being left at 16 to pick up the pieces. To be shuffled around because it felt like no one wants you. And on top of all of it to deal with the grief and guilt of losing the two you love most. At almost 35 I don’t think I could handle it. Jersey was just so utterly sad when it came down to it because to her she had no one but strangers and felt unloved and I really couldn’t blame her since I would have felt the same way.

Basically Torn Away was not about the tornado but about moving on and rebuilding afterwards. It was about recovery and holding on to what’s important and letting go when you don’t want to. Jersey was a character everyone will like and relate to.  Jennifer Brown once again brought words and emotion to the page and it is another book I highly recommend in her long list of greatness.

Other books by author:
hate  bitterend perfectthousand

 

 

 

 

 

brownABOUT 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.

 

*Click on the banner for more tour info.

The publisher has also been kind enough to offer each blog tour participant one paperback of Torn Away to giveaway to readers from the US. Below you will find a picture of the cover and when you click on it it will bring you to the Rafflecoppter giveaway. Unfortunately this is for US only and it will run from now until May 13th at 11:59pm. The winner will be notified by email and all information will be passed on to the tour copy which will then be passed on to the publisher. Good luck.

tornawaygiveaway

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Review: Thousand Words – Jennifer Brown

thousand

Title: Thousand Words [Amazon]
Author:  Jennifer Brown [website]
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre:  Contemporary
Source/Type: Library/Hardcover
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look.

My Thoughts:
To say I’m a huge Jennifer Brown fan is a major understatement. Ever since reading Hate List I have loved her and her style of writing. To me she writes the things that needs need to be reading about. Whether it is a school shooting, an abusive relationship, a brother with serve OCD, Brown gets it and lets her readers get it too. And Thousand Words falls right into that category. It is poignant and really makes you look at decisions teenagers make that can potentially effect the rest of their lives.

Thousand Words is the story of Ashleigh. Ashleigh is a typical teenager enjoying her summer before starting her junior year in high school. She is on the track team, had a core group of friends and a boyfriend that is off to college in the fall. At a party one night Ashleigh is convinced by her friends that she should text Kaleb, her boyfriend, a picture of herself naked so he has something to remember her by in college. Somewhat drunk Ashleigh does it never once thinking of the ramifications. When Kaleb breaks up with her and they have an argument he does the one thing he can think of that will mortify her beyond belief, her sends the picture to people. As more and more people pass the picture on Ashleigh’s life spirals out of control. She loses friends and her family no longer trusts her. And when the police get involved no one’s life will ever be the same.

My heart really went out to Ashleigh. There is no doubt in my mind that she made a dumb decision. She thought she was doing something amazing for her boyfriend. Thought she could trust him. She made a horrific mistake, and that mistake cost her dearly. She paid for that mistake with her privacy, her friends, her family, her life. But she also paid for it legally too and that just made me sad for her. Out of anyone involved I felt like she paid the biggest price and took responsibility unlike the other people involved. She owned up to her mistake and continued on with her head held high. She took the comments thrown at her, the looks shot her way, the abuse, and swallowed it down. She didn’t try to place the blame on others. She didn’t say it was all because of Kaleb. She knew her part in it and accepted it. All she wanted were the others involved to do the same and that was where my heart went out to her. Kaleb showed no remorse at all for his actions and that really angered me. Not to mention her friends for goading her, or the people that passed the picture on over and over again. Her life would never be the same from one mistake and I felt bad for her.

I also really liked Ashleigh’s relationship with Mack. I honestly found the after the photo Ashleigh to be better than the before the photo Ashleigh and I wonder if that was because of Mack and the friendship he gave her when she needed it most. There was something so innocent about the two of them that I really enjoyed. Mack was exactly what she needed and at a time when she had no support and no one to trust. And reading Mack’s story unfold and getting to know him better was perfectly done as well. And the bonus was that it wasn’t a romantic relationship which I was scared it would go there, but it didn’t. Brown stayed true to her main character which then stayed true to this avid reader.

Honestly I waited a really long time to read this book and it was worth every second of wait. Brown continued to do what I expect of her and what I look for out of her in the future. I’m not kidding when I say her books should be on summer reading lists everywhere because she gets it and I think teens will too. I know I did and I’m in my 30s. Bravo Ms. Brown!

Make sure to check out and enter my Giveaway for an autograph copy of Lauren Myracle’s new book, out next month, The Infinite Moment of Us, that goes until 8/4 at 11:59pm EST.

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The Author Auto-Buy List

Yes, I have a list, albeit it’s in my head, but I have a list of the authors that I would buy their books without even knowing what the book is about. All I have to see is their name and I’m ion immediate want of said book. And really that list is a complete testament to them and their style of writing and the AMAZING books they have given me in the past. So since May is a huge book release month and some of these authors have books coming out in May if not some point this year, I thought I would share 10 of my auto-buy authors in no particular order.

Sarah Ockler: (click on the book to purchase)
twentyfixing bitterbroken

Jennifer Brown: (click on the book to purchase)
hate bitterendperfectthousand

Kasie West: (click on the book to purchase or pre-order)
pivot distance

Veronica Roth: (click on the book to purchase or pre-order)
divergent1 insurgent alligient

Trish Doller: (click on the book to purchase or pre-order)
something wherethestars

Miranda Kenneally: (click on the book to purchase or pre-order)
Score_CVR.indd stealing things racing

Tiffany Schmidt: (click on the book to purchase)
send

Morgan Matson: (click on the book to purchase)
amy summer

Gayle Forman: (click on the book to purchase or pre-order)
sisters if where just1 just2

Hannah Harrington: (click on the book to purchase)
saving speechless

Honestly I could have added at least 5 more, but I just stuck with 10. So now I must ask, who are your auto-buy authors?

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Monopoly Money Monday and a Vote

Welcome to another installment of Monopoly Money Monday. This Monday I am going to spend my fake $100.00(okay, a tad over) on books. Well Pre-Order books from Amazon that is. It’s funny because you would think it would be easy to buy 100 bucks worth of books but it’s actually really hard. Not hard to pick out the books, but to narrow it down to just $100. But after much struggle I narrowed it down to 9 books** that come out over the next couple of months. Now under no circumstance is this list in any order or the only ones I’m dying for. These are just the ones I could “afford”. Without further ado:

madnessThe Madness Underneath(Shades of London Series) by Maureen Johnson
Price: $11.98
Release Date: February 26, 2013

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades— the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

thingsThings I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Price: $9.99
Release Date: March 1, 2013

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

imposterImposter(Slide series) by Jill Hathaway
Price: $11.98
Release Date: March 26, 2013

What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.

brokenThe Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Price: $11.46
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

criminalCriminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Price: $11.20
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime – a crime that ends in murder – Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about?

Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional . . . but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

rightRight of Way by Lauren Barnholdt
Price: $10.98
Release Date: July 9, 2013

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

thousandThousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Price: $10.98
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look.

15thFifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Price: $9.99
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Chelsea isn’t looking forward to her summer at the lake. It’s the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can’t break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny…and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can’t believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful.

But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She’ll be heading home at the end of the summer—and he’ll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea’s summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart?

annalolaIsla and the Happily Ever After(no cover available) by Stephanie Perkins
Price: $11.98
Release Date: September 17, 2013

Falling in love in the world’s most romantic city is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year at the School of America in Paris, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to deal with the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

So there you have it, the 9 books I would buy right now if a) the were all out already and b) I had $100.54 laying around(told you I went a little over budget). But really who are we kidding? You all know I will be buying all of these anyway. But man is it fun to pretend today.

*all book descriptions have come from goodreads.com

**Honorable mention: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, The Elite by Kiera Cass, Dare You To by Katie McGarry, How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler

And because I love books, I’m letting you all vote on which one I should buy. Please fill out the form below and I will pre-order the one with the most votes by February 11th.

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