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Torn by Stephanie Guerra
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Stella Chavez has always been the good girl who never attracted attention. She is on the soccer team so she does have a jock boyfriend but other than that she's not popular but she's not a total loser too. Her mother works tirelessly to feed her and her younger brother and sister that she has had to raise when she is gone. Her brother is a gaming addict and she makes sure he doesn't just eat junk food all day. She needs to make sure her sister doesn't hang out with the wrong people and be with someone in a gang. She wouldn't have to do this if her father was around. She can remember her father being loving but there was also that split personality that came in with drugs. He ended up in the end leaving the family to fend for themselves.

Insert new girl Ruby who's a wild child, uses and abuses men, drinks, curses, and does anything she wants to. It's not like her mother is going to do anything about her. She doesn't even seem to care. With Ruby, Stella can be someone else completely. She's been with the same friend's since kindergarten and they are boring and safe. With Ruby she gets to experience life a whole nother way. But what happens when her friend crosses the line with a man who is older than your average High School boy or even college boy. She has always been in control until now. Will she able to help her friend get away from him before she gets seriously hurt or will she fade away out of her life like her father?

First of all a round of applause for a Hispanic who wrote a story with a Hispanic as a main character. *Applause* I know there are other books where that happens like Matt de la Pena writing the amazing story of Danny in Mexican Whiteboy but I don't usually come across a YA book where the main character is anything other than white. It's not a bad thing because those books are great but it's nice to have some diversity. And then she incorporated her being Catholic so that made me happy as well.

Everyone thinks Stella is so nice and safe in the beginning but she must have some wild child in her to want to be friends with Ruby. Either that or she's a follower. She drank too already. More out of courtesy in the beginning but later on... At least she had a line that she didn't cross. Ruby on the other hand got handed into her by a smooth talker who's a thirty four year old man with gray hair. In the beginning she would make guys chase her and I was as dumbfounded as Stella when I saw her change. I thought this book was absolutely brilliant. Very engaging. I loved Stella and even Ruby even though she bugged me because she was just... everywhere. She's not the greatest person. Let me leave it at that. Awesome book and highly recommended. ( )
  AdrianaGarcia | Jul 10, 2018 |
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 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:14 -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)

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