In one afternoon everything changed for Jersey. Living in a Midwest, Missouri town, she was used to storms and tornado sirens, that afternoon wasn’t your average storm though, that afternoon’s tornado destroyed Jersey’s town and tore her life apart. Home alone at the time the tornado hit Jersey survived, but her mom and little sister, Marin were out and didn’t make it. Her step father Ronnie survived the storm, but can’t face life without his wife and daughter so he sends Jersey to live her biological father’s family. Still reeling from the tornado Jersey is stuck with a family who has made it clear they would rather her not be there (tornado or not) and Jersey herself just wants to go home. But her home has been destroyed, not just the physical place, but the family that created it. Her last chance is with her mother’s parents, a set of grandparents she has never known and who her mother stopped speaking to before Jersey was born. In spite of everything her mom said about them they do seem to want her around.
Torn Away is about getting through devastation, and sometimes everything falls apart when it feels like those left behind should be coming together. It’s about learning that even those you loved might not always have made the right decisions. Jersey has to deal with the things she said in anger or frustration that can never be apologized for, and for all the wonderful moments her family shared that she can’t get back. Brown‘s work is emotional on many levels, the reader gets not only Jersey’s grief, but also her frustration and anger. How Jersey and her community deal with the devastation is heart wrenching and authentic.