Friday, June 8, 2012

June 8, 2012 – Book Review – Torn by Amber Lehman

Torn by Amber Lehman
Genre: Young Adult

Product Description from Amazon
It was different this time; we weren't acting on a dare. I knew our motive; we were practicing the act, hoping to impress the right boy when it came time. But then something happened in the mix of the moment, in the mix of the alcohol. It wasn't planned, but somehow our kissing experiment turned into something else. Things went further . . . and once they had, once I returned to earth from the euphoria . . . I wrestled with my feelings at that frank realization, questioning whether our said objective was entirely true.

When fourteen-year old Krista McKinley transfers from Catholic school in Ohio to California's public Crestmount High, she discovers she has a lot to learn. Luckily, she is befriended by Carrie and Brandon and things start to look up. But when a simple dare tests Krista's values, it sends her entire world spiraling into a confusing series of events that leaves her questioning her identity as well as the people around her.”

3 out of 5 stars

I had some very strong reactions to this story, most of which revolved around my being (a) shocked that a 14 year old would be in these kinds of situations and (b) the supposed adults needed to be smacked.  I think my reactions are what they would be if Krista was someone I knew in real life.  I think it’s rare that I have this kind of reaction to a work of fiction where my feelings about the story and the characters feel real.

The main character Krista is a 14 year old girl who after a dare in which she ends up kissing her friend Carrie seems to spiral into a series of incredibly bad decisions.  The reader is initially led to believe that Krista’s struggle revolves around her feelings for Carrie and if they are real or “just a phase.”  Which leads to a series of questionable decisions, including attending a party where Krista is about to have sex with a boy she does not know… because it seems like the thing to do. 

There were so many places in this story where I had to stop reading and wonder to myself if teenagers’ lives are even remotely like this, because it made my teenage years seem easy in comparison.  Needless to say there were a number of things that bothered me about the story, and left me questioning if the author could have possibly thrown one more horrible decision at Krista.   However, I can appreciate that a 14 year old who found herself in any one of the situations described, would be hard pressed to make an appropriate/safe decision: especially in this case when she does not have a true parent figure in her life.

All of the relationships in this story are dysfunctional but the one that disturbed me the most was between Krista and Daemon her bible study teacher.  Here was a relationship that should have been adult to teenager and yet Daemon finds himself manipulated into a bad situation and I was thoroughly disappointed that there were no real consequences to Krista’s actions.

Having said all of that, it was an interesting read and one that I think would evoke lots of discussions between readers.

Copyright © C.A. Bailey 2010 - 2012, All Rights Reserved.

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