15 March 2012
Torn by Stephanie Guerra
Release Date: April 1st 2012
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Add it: Goodreads
This book had me completely hooked from the very first page.
Stella is your average teenage girl. She is friendly with everybody, gets good grades, is on the Soccer team and has a pretty balanced social life... Stella's life is pretty good apart from having a father who left her mum and the kids when they were younger. Then Ruby shows up. Ruby is beautiful, edgy, cool and rebellious and ends up befriending Stella, causing Stella's life to be turned upside down.
This reminded me vaguely of the movie 'Thirteen'. Torn isn't a nice, comfortable story but it completely sucks you in. I don't know how she's done it, but Stephanie Guerra has written a teenage rebellion novel in such a realistic way.
As an MC, I loved Stella. She was fun, she had flaws, she was caring and in a way, she reminds me of my best friend. I really connected with Stella because she's a scarily accurate representation of a lot of teenagers. Stella wasn't considered perfect, things didn't always go her way and the problems she went through in her last year of high school with Ruby were pretty spot-on (if you occassionally rebelled and whatnot). She was feisty, protective, passionate but she had her issues too. I really admired her strength. She stood up for what she believed in and knew when to call it quits with certain uh, issues...
Ruby on the other hand is probably Stella's opposite. She is confronting, rebellious and has this awesome "Don't give a shit" attitude that just added so much spark and fire to her personality! The girls at school hate her because she didn't try to impress anybody. Ruby is a take it or leave it sort of character and I really appreciated this. The thing I loved the most is that while you'd expect yourself to hate Ruby for making such stupid decisions and being so direct, you just can't! In addition to Stella, Ruby is such a complex character and I don't know how she did it, but Stephanie Guerra manages to make you love Ruby although you know you should hate her.
This is probably one of my favourite contemporary novels so far (mind you, I'm very new to the genre). This is due to the fact that whilst I couldn't relate to Ruby (I could somewhat relate to Stella), I knew girls like that-and I knew them very well. Ruby was troubled, had her own way of dealing with things and Stella learnt what it means to be a true friend. The friendship between the girls was incredibly well portrayed. Some moments they had together reminded me of myself and my best friends. However, if you're looking for romance, this isn't going to do it for you! There are relationships, but there isn't romance (I appreciated this as well!). There isn't any, "I can't live without him" or "I was falling apart without him by my side" bull. The decisions made by some of the characters were stupid, but I could believe the situations they got themselves into because I've seen it firsthand.
There is swearing, drugs and law-breaking in this novel and whilst I didn't care (I thought it was well-done and a realistic, "THIS IS LIFE. IT HAPPENS" message), some others might. Due to the tone of the novel, I completely understood the swearing, it made me feel like I was in freaking high school again myself! I even understood the drugs and the law-breaking content because again, I've seen it happen and I think it's an unrealistic expectation that you won't get any of that in a novel as raw, gripping and edgy as this. I'm not saying that all teenagers are like those in Torn, but as one representation, I thought it was accurate and well-done.
Torn was gripping and edgy with a heart warming ending that hopefully gives hope to anybody who's been bullied. It teaches us that yes, karma can be a bitch and that not all things in life should be easy.
I received this from Netgalley and this has not affected my review