Hardcover, 263 pages
Expected Publication: April 1, 2012 by Marshall Cavendish
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Stella Chavez is your classic good girl: straight As, clean-cut boyfriends, and soccer trophies . You’d never guess that Stella’s dad was a drug addict who walked out when she was a kid. Or that inside, Stella wishes for something more.
New girl Ruby Caroline seems like Stella’s polar opposite: cursing, smoking, and teetering in sky-high heels . But with Ruby, Stella gets a taste of another world—a world in which parents act like roommates, college men are way more interesting than high school boys, and there is nothing that shouldn’t be tried once.
It’s not long before Stella finds herself torn: between the best friend she’s ever had and the friends she’s known forever, between her family and her own independence, between who she was and who she wants to be.
But Ruby has a darker side, a side she doesn’t show anyone—not even Stella. As Stella watches her friend slowly unravel, she will have to search deep inside herself for the strength to be a true friend, even if it means committing the ultimate betrayal.
Torn was an engrossing read, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. It certainly captivated me, I couldn’t put it down, but “enjoyed” would not be the right word. But don’t take that as negativity, because Torn was certainly worth the read.
Ruby’s story is a train wreck you can’t look away from, told through Stella’s eyes. Stella has things going on in her own life but in this situation, they paled in comparison to what Ruby was going through. Or rather, what Ruby was putting herself through. These girls were hauntingly naïve—both of them—and it disturbs me to think that there are actually things like this going on out there. It was painfully realistic. I applaud Guerra for that. And now I can’t stop thinking about the fact that the world is a train wreck you really can’t look away from.
I thought the way the girls handled the bullying was a nice touch. Ruby was a lot of things—wild, self-destructive--but her impulsiveness was calculated and her retaliations were effective.
My only complaint about the book was the way it jumped lumps of time. Days or weeks would go by and Stella would tell us what happened in those weeks. Rather than seeing her relationship build with Ruby, we’re told about it later. Rather than seeing her relationship build with Mike, we’re told about it later. It made me feel a bit disconnected from the story.
There were moments in this story that disgusted me, but I think they were supposed to. Torn definitely made its mark, and I would recommend it.