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Torn by Amber Lehman
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Torn (2010)

by Amber Lehman

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Review for Tour
  Chris.BlogEmporium | May 6, 2014 |
Reviewed by LadyJay for TeensReadToo.com

14-year-old Krista is in for some major changes. After attending a private Catholic school in Ohio, her family moves to sunny California, and Krista is thrust into the completely foreign world of public education.

These kids are very different from her. They all dress well, drive fancy cars, and act much older than they appear to be. It is all a little overwhelming to Krista - especially since she comes from a rather religious family. Her parents are usually away on some type of mission trip, helping to build a church or handing out Bibles to those who can't afford them.

Krista is eventually befriended by two teens, Cassie and Brandon. They take her under their collective wing and begin to show her the ropes. Krista begins to open herself to new ideas and experiences. She is starting to discover her own identity, and the process is frightening yet exhilarating at the same time.

Krista's world is different now, but she doesn't want to lose the values that she was brought up with. Her dilemma is finding a balance between her new life and the one that she left behind.

TORN is definitely a coming-of-age novel. All of the characters are searching for their niche in the world. There are all forms of experimentation in this novel, including sex, drugs, and alcohol. Some of the content may be a little mature for younger readers, so tread carefully if you decide to pick this one up. ( )
  GeniusJen | May 17, 2010 |
"Torn" by Amber Lehman ISBN 978-0-9795933-6-9

Review by Chris Phillips

Lehman has written a very good coming-of-age book. She confronts issues both common to teenagers and uncommon. As the publicity said, Gay and Lesbian issues are core to the plot and handled openly and honestly throughout.

Krista is the main character. The story begins with her moving to Southern California from Ohio, going from a parochial school to a public one and her mother going on a mission trip all at the same time. Even though she has no friends when the book begins, she quickly finds some in Carrie, Ryan and Brandon. The tale continues through her sophomore year and the situations she through the school year.

From these four and a few others the plot and character develop, particularly Krista, thoroughly, believably, and consistently. There are concrete and common problems of teen years, but also coping with gender and orientation issues. There is sexually active and gay, Brandon, who is the bright and beautiful Southern California prep. Ryan is the boyfriend that seems perpetually frustrated and inept. Carrie is the best friend and also becomes a love interest for Krista.

The plot mechanism is Krista adjusting and settling into the new school and the new neighborhood. Her brothers are older and involved in their own lives but keep up with what she is doing. There are other friends and people that show up in the plot. There is sufficient variety to give a good balance and yet keep the plot moving.

Issues covered in the book about sexual orientation are seeking definition for same-sex relationship and hetero-relationships. Krista’s questions and discoveries keep the reader involved. Doubts and fears come for Krista, but she finds out that her friends and her own upbringing serve her well. The Gay and Lesbian issue hinted at on the teasers is definitely part of the plot and issues dealt with in this book, but it seems that there is nothing new for persons who actually are Gay or Lesbian or dealing with the identity issues of such. In fact the biggest disappointment is that Krista does the ultimate hetero fantasy and converts a gay guy to bi-sexuality. This is definitely not guide to coping with that, but more of a romantic depiction from a 16-year-old’s perspective.

With the publicity and the back cover there should be more depth to the situation. The final resolution left this reviewer disappointed. The story is directed at this very specific audience and those concerned with teenagers in this age group, but do not expect any major revelations nor earth shattering truths to be revealed. Gays and lesbians, GLBT community members all will have to look elsewhere for a banner novel helping to deal with teenagers coming to grips with their sexuality and sexual orientation.

This should be read for the balanced perspective and acceptance of the characters to GLBT issues, but not as a how-to manual nor as a lesson guide for practical solutions. It is a good romance and should be viewed as such. This is one book that can be read and passed on to someone else that might enjoy it.

Published by Closet Case Press, PO Box 12961, Newport Beach, CA 92658 (http://www.closetcasepress.com) (SRP $15.00/Amazon $15.00) Review copy sent by author. ( )
  ChrisPhillips | Dec 25, 2009 |
The first year of High School is tough enough with all the changes and challenges of education, but the new social environment can be confusing even for the most popular of kids. Krista was dealing with extra. Coming to a new school, in a new state, a dad out of the picture, a mom out of the country, living with her older brothers and then she ends up in Public School for the first time in her life. Having come straight from Catholic schooling, boys as friends was a new concept and being attracted to them was just plain scary, but being dared to kiss her new best friend Carrie, just left her confused about her own newly awakening feelings and desires. With no mother around to talk to, she confided in her gay friend, Brandon. Hoping that with his help she would be able to figure out her feelings and if her attractions for both boys and girls was real, but the help that she asks Brandon for could either give her the information she needs or make things even worse.

This book has so many elements and levels to it, it is difficult to decide which to focus on. As a love (teen love) story, it shows the teen angst, emotions and feelings that some high school students might really feel. It made me remember my own high school days (it was a different time). I wonder now if some of those “popular” kids had similar struggles with their own relationships and/or sexuality, like that portrayed here. As a parent, I can hope that the kids today (my kids included) will not have such struggles. That they can find the acceptance, protection and answers that they need, and that I can help to keep them from some of these types of experiences. It reminds me (as a parent) to have those conversations about drugs and violence (including rape and coercion), while being there as the ‘adult supervision’ that all kids that age still need - whether they like it, or think so.

There was a lot of characters in this book. I understand some of the decisions Krista made, and why, but I “felt” more for Brandon. His bad boy persona covered so much, and after all, he was just another screwed up teenager. I did enjoy the different take on the ever present high school social drama. Probably to serious, candid and explicit for a young adult (13 - 17 years old) reader, but a good coming of age story about young adults. ( )
  onyx95 | Nov 12, 2009 |
Torn, a new book by Amber Lehman is a complex story that sheds light on the angst and joy that is common in the life of modern teens. A story that could have degenerated into a simple expose of modern teen morals, it is told with honesty and feeling. I was taken aback at first by the young age of the lead character until I realized that this is a modern teen's life. As modern society has evolved, we have made our children grow up faster than at any time in history, and then we decry their lack of innocence.

Ms Lehman, embraces what it means to be a young teen age woman in our modern society and," Tells it like it is". I found myself caring deeply about these characters and the many different lifestyles they embody. Their story is the story of the modern teen and the world as they live in it. I highly recommend this as a book that will shed light into what it means to be a young person in America today, and the choices we require them to make earlier in life than ever before. ( )
  dongow | Nov 2, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0979593360, Perfect Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

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, and 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.… (more)

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