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Torn by Stephanie Guerra
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Torn (edition 2012)

by Stephanie Guerra

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329347,362 (3.13)None
Member:EstherShaindel
Title:Torn
Authors:Stephanie Guerra
Info:Amazon Children's Publishing (2012), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Torn by Stephanie Guerra

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Review from ARC from NetGalley

Is it better to follow a friend into a bad situation in the hopes that maybe you can help instead of just getting dragged down into the mess, or walk away? ( )
  kcarrigan | Aug 26, 2013 |
Initial Thoughts: This is yet another book I'm conflicted about. On one hand, Stella shows tremendous growth throughout the novel, there's a great familial element with a wonderful mother-daughter relationship, and Ruby was definitely an interesting character. But from the description, I was expecting something more, something darker.

What I liked: I liked Stella. She is a half Mexican girl who came from a rough upbringing in a community full of well to do white people. But she never let the racial divide stop her and never apologized for being different. She has a steady group of friends dating back to elementary school. She wasn't too boring and bland like some heroines are, yet she wasn't too far off her rocker either. When the book starts out she is a little worried about her reputation and what other people think of her, but by the end Stella shows some maturity in that department and doesn't measure her self-worth against her popularity.

Stella's relationship with her mother was heartwarming. The pair struggled a little with taking care of the two younger children, especially after Stella's father, a cocaine addict, skipped town on them. You could tell there was a bond forged from trust and loyalty between Stella and her mother, and I loved how her mom still tried to be as involved as she could, even though she worked a crazy amount of hours.

I adored Ruby. She makes a grand entrance on page one and doesn't stop from there. She doesn't care what other people think of her, she a little impulsive, but mostly calculated, and she never turns away from an adventure. She smokes and drinks a little too much, but it didn't seem out of place. Everything about her just worked -- from her going to bars and dating older men and doing drugs on the roof of her house. It was just perfectly Ruby.

What I didn't like: There was a lot of showing rather than telling. Especially when it came to Stella's boyfriend, Mike. We barely even saw him, and I'm still not really sure why Stella even liked him. They really had nothing in common and it turns out he's pretty racist. And a wimp. Also, when there were passages of time where not much happened, we kind of get a pile of info dumped into our laps about Stella's and Ruby's friendship. I'd rather be shown how close they were instead of being told.

There was a lot of slut-shaming going on in this book. I really, REALLY, hate that, and eventually I'm going to get around to writing a post about why slut-shaming is so dangerous. I don't know how many times the word 'slut' and 'whore' was used -- even from Stella herself! -- about girls, from girls. It's disgusting.

Now that I think of it, there's a lot of judging going on in this book. Whether it's the popular girls bullying Ruby, the boys betting on 'who gets to nail her first,' Stella judging Ruby for dating an older guy, or Mike lying about Stella and saying she's Spanish and not Mexican. None of it really sat well with me.

Finally, there's some weird sex stuff in the book. Ruby partakes in sex where there's some pain. And Stella totally wigs out. I get that Stella freaks over Ruby dating a 30 year old, but that should have been the end of it. I would have been fine if the sex thing was left out, and Stella freaked over the age difference ONLY. Instead, Stella was calling Kenneth, Ruby, and everyone else who likes a little pain with their pleasure, sadistic sexual deviant freaks. That is not okay. I'm sorry. But no. No. No one should be judged for how they like their sex. No one should feel ashamed for liking BDSM, no one should feel ashamed for liking vanilla sex, no one should be shamed for being a virgin, no one should be shamed for getting it in daily. I've had enough of that.

Final words: Now that I've really though about it, the bad outweighed the good with this one. I liked the characters for the most part, but the author's judgments seemed to bleed into the book, and it just didn't sit well with me. I'm not okay with bullying, or slut-shaming, or girls attacking girls for whatever reason. The story was a little bland, and honestly did not hold up against all the negatives in the book. ( )
  PrettyDeadly | Mar 31, 2013 |
Full review on Reader's Dialogue: http://readersdialogue.blogspot.com/2012/12/torn.html

I love the way Stella's descent into madness is so vividly and realistically portrayed. It's gradual, one little thing at a time, so it feels natural, and I felt the whole time like I was watching it happen. Ruby is definitely a fun character to read about, but she also pulls at your heartstrings quite a bit. Stella's home life also plays on your emotions, and the way she balances everything adds to the complexity of the story.

Though I do wish some points had been more developed - like her home life, particularly her relationship with her mother. Her sister's relationship with Stella is fully developed, but I feel like there are some points with her mother that could have been explored more. Her relationship with Mike also. That's laden with psychological possibilities, but it gets superficial treatment.

Stella's relationship with Ruby, though, is so real, so believable. And the way everything wraps up at the end - beautiful! ( )
  EstherShaindel | Dec 14, 2012 |
Initial Thoughts: This is yet another book I'm conflicted about. On one hand, Stella shows tremendous growth throughout the novel, there's a great familial element with a wonderful mother-daughter relationship, and Ruby was definitely an interesting character. But from the description, I was expecting something more, something darker.

What I liked: I liked Stella. She is a half Mexican girl who came from a rough upbringing in a community full of well to do white people. But she never let the racial divide stop her and never apologized for being different. She has a steady group of friends dating back to elementary school. She wasn't too boring and bland like some heroines are, yet she wasn't too far off her rocker either. When the book starts out she is a little worried about her reputation and what other people think of her, but by the end Stella shows some maturity in that department and doesn't measure her self-worth against her popularity.

Stella's relationship with her mother was heartwarming. The pair struggled a little with taking care of the two younger children, especially after Stella's father, a cocaine addict, skipped town on them. You could tell there was a bond forged from trust and loyalty between Stella and her mother, and I loved how her mom still tried to be as involved as she could, even though she worked a crazy amount of hours.

I adored Ruby. She makes a grand entrance on page one and doesn't stop from there. She doesn't care what other people think of her, she a little impulsive, but mostly calculated, and she never turns away from an adventure. She smokes and drinks a little too much, but it didn't seem out of place. Everything about her just worked -- from her going to bars and dating older men and doing drugs on the roof of her house. It was just perfectly Ruby.

What I didn't like: There was a lot of showing rather than telling. Especially when it came to Stella's boyfriend, Mike. We barely even saw him, and I'm still not really sure why Stella even liked him. They really had nothing in common and it turns out he's pretty racist. And a wimp. Also, when there were passages of time where not much happened, we kind of get a pile of info dumped into our laps about Stella's and Ruby's friendship. I'd rather be shown how close they were instead of being told.

There was a lot of slut-shaming going on in this book. I really, REALLY, hate that, and eventually I'm going to get around to writing a post about why slut-shaming is so dangerous. I don't know how many times the word 'slut' and 'whore' was used -- even from Stella herself! -- about girls, from girls. It's disgusting.

Now that I think of it, there's a lot of judging going on in this book. Whether it's the popular girls bullying Ruby, the boys betting on 'who gets to nail her first,' Stella judging Ruby for dating an older guy, or Mike lying about Stella and saying she's Spanish and not Mexican. None of it really sat well with me.

Finally, there's some weird sex stuff in the book. Ruby partakes in sex where there's some pain. And Stella totally wigs out. I get that Stella freaks over Ruby dating a 30 year old, but that should have been the end of it. I would have been fine if the sex thing was left out, and Stella freaked over the age difference ONLY. Instead, Stella was calling Kenneth, Ruby, and everyone else who likes a little pain with their pleasure, sadistic sexual deviant freaks. That is not okay. I'm sorry. But no. No. No one should be judged for how they like their sex. No one should feel ashamed for liking BDSM, no one should feel ashamed for liking vanilla sex, no one should be shamed for being a virgin, no one should be shamed for getting it in daily. I've had enough of that.

Final words: Now that I've really though about it, the bad outweighed the good with this one. I liked the characters for the most part, but the author's judgments seemed to bleed into the book, and it just didn't sit well with me. I'm not okay with bullying, or slut-shaming, or girls attacking girls for whatever reason. The story was a little bland, and honestly did not hold up against all the negatives in the book. ( )
  PrettyDeadlyReviews | Nov 27, 2012 |
I received this ebook via Net Galley for an honest review.
Estella Chavez is a clean cut girl: straight A student, plays soccer, clean cut boyfriends. She comes from a broken home where her father left due to drug use. Ruby is Stella's opposite: cursing, smoking, cutting school, dating college and older men, wearing high heels, who believes there isn't anything that shouldn't be tried once. Stella suddenly finds herself torn between her new friendship with Ruby and the friends she has known almost all her life. Stella watches Ruby slowly unravel and eventually has to make a decision to interfere, even though it might cost her their friendship.
When I first started reading the book, I really liked it. It moved well. I quickly became acquainted with Stella and her life, understanding her relationship with her mother, sister, brother and the father who no longer is part of her life. Guerra created realistic characters. Stella being the typical middle of the road high-school girl, while Ruby is that make-up wearing, school cutting, smoking, outcast rocker type.
When Stella becomes friends with Ruby, she changes. We see her seeking more independence. She tries new things, such as dating a college guy named Mike, and is willing to step outside of her circle of comfort. Stella's friends quickly show their unhappiness with her pulling away, but Stella can't seem to stop herself. We watch her struggle with the push and pull of keeping her old friends while making new ones. We watch her become acquainted with a real relationship and all the turns it might take.
Ruby is a force that pulls Stella into another world. Some would say she's a bad influence, but really Stella freely makes her own decisions to do those things she has never done before.
The book is peppered with references to G-d and how Stella's relationship with G-d affects her decisions.
About half way through the book, the story reaches it's pinnacle and then quickly starts to deflate. The ending is nothing short of boring and unrealistic, in my opinion. Guerra took an otherwise engrossing, contemporary, realistic young adult story and blew it up with conclusion that is disappointing. Guerra leaves us with a completely open ending to a book that has no sequel. There is no resolution to the problems the characters encountered during the story.
I give this book 3/5 stars. Thank you Net Galley for the chance to read and review this book.
My review can also be found on the following sites:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/torn-...
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761...
http://thecovercontessa.blogspot.com/ ( )
  bhwrn1 | Jun 25, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0761462724, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:44 -0400)

High school senior Estelle Chavez's life in South Bend, Indiana centers on helping her mother raise her younger brother and sister, AP classes, and soccer until a new student, Ruby, draws her into a friendship that includes sneaking out out of the house, dating college boys, and worse.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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