September 21, 2017

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Pick of the Day: Torn (Audiobook)

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Torn. By Stephanie Guerra. 6 CDs. 7:12 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4692-1522-8. $49.97.
Gr 9 Up–Guerra’s gritty novel (Amazon Children’s Pub., 2012) is a spectacularly realistic portrait of a teen torn between her former friends and the new girl in school, running the family household and having fun in high school, and being a friend who goes along with anything or one who really cares. Often stories like this are moralistic, with the good girl celebrated and the bad one shunned. But sometimes the choices aren’t so clear-cut. Stella is a senior, a soccer player, and has hung around with the same group of girls since elementary school. When Ruby arrives in school one day, Stella is intrigued by her aloofness and her disregard for the rules. Ruby is a wild child—she sneaks out, smokes weed, dates college guys, and seemingly has no parental oversight. Stella is a good kid and, despite knowing Ruby is “trouble,” she likes her and begins taking on the role of parent when Ruby acts out. Both girls have good hearts, and that’s the basis for their friendship. With Stella’s responsibilities at home, a little wildness is just what she needs and Ruby can provide it. However, when Ruby begins dating an older man and turns to drugs, Stella begins looking into his life. What she finds out is dangerous. Does she intervene to save Ruby and risk losing a friendship in order to save her friend? This is a wonderful story with real characters in real situations. Casey Holloway’s narration is as authentic as the story she is telling. A compelling listen that won’t stay on the self.–Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA