||Closet Case Press
||July 15 2009
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.
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Closet Case Press
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.
Outstanding Novel! Trackle Amber Lehman! by Glenda A.Bixler- IP Book Revievers
"The world is a difficult place for children. Thank God we turn out as well as we do."
In addition to loving to read, I appreciate books that have been obviously created with care. Amber Lehman, in Torn, gives credit to Jill Ronsley. Kudos to both of you for creating a truly beautiful book. Torn is a young adult novel (17+) based upon true stories gathered by the author during her own life. Readers will recognize the love and concern with which she heard and remembered those individuals and their lives, by reading the above beginning note from the author.
I quickly point out that this novel is erotic/sexy--a dramatized story of a young girl named Krista. It is an exciting adventure that many teens will enjoy and learn from through Lehman's subtle but excellent approach.
It may be a difficult book for parents to read; but, in my opinion, you must. Amber Lehman provides a well-written, truly realistic story of the lives of various teens at a local high school. It could be the school your children attend. It could be the lives your children are leading. It could be you, the absent parent(s). With proper guidance and discussions, if I had younger teens, I would also share this book with those mid-teens that are the true characters in this book!
Krista is 14 when her family moves from Ohio to Southern California. Throughout her early years of school she attended a private religious school for girls. Krista would be attending public school for the first time. Her mother is gone for a year, on a church mission in Nicaragua. During her absence, her older half-brother, Marc, a pediatrician, is living at home with Krista and her other half-brother Josh--both with whom she has had little experience in relating/living. Krista dreads starting school.
Krista is artistic, and in choosing a dance class, she finds she's also part of the cheerleaders. There she met Carrie, who became her best friend, and others. Through Carrie she met Brandon, or rather, she saw Brandon with Carrie as they were making out in the corridors near their lockers. Brandon had pulled back from Carrie, licked his lips at Krista, as if Carrie was no longer there! Quite a first impression about him!
It was only later that Krista learned that Brandon was gay.
Krista had never been kissed. Now she was meeting new boys all around her. So in sharing her fear with Carrie, they decided to learn by kissing each other. That first experiment led to many other sex-related encounters as Krista tries to become comfortable in this new world. All of the girls surrounding her were always talking about boys and what they could do to get their attention--even her brother Josh!
One of her friends then invited her to join a Bible study group at her home, taught by her brother, Daemon, who was twice Krista's age. He was Aeliese's guardian while their parents, who were also missionaries, were away from home. Krista also attended their church and found it quite different--where were the statues, the confession booth, the majesty of the priests in long robes? So much was so different! Krista had nowhere to turn to discuss all of these strange and new experiences, except older brothers and friends. And then Krista began to have other ideas about Aeliese's older brother.
This story is sexy, because the children in the story are surrounded by experiences that include sexuality--drinking, drugs, and what can happen under their influence; sexual orientation experimentation; early experiences of abuse; but, more importantly, the sharing and caring, and, yes, love, that grows between young teens when they have few, if any, adults with whom to relate and discuss such important issues. Torn by decisions that they must make each day.
Step into the lives of the teens you know and love! Read Torn by Amber Lehman. Reality awaits you in this inspiring, frank and, yet, sensitive love story. Meet Krista and her friends now!
G. A. Bixler
A book about growing up-- RebeccasReads.com
Reviewed by Kam Aures for RebeccasReads.com (09/09)
"TORN" by Amber Lehman begins as 14-year-old Krista moves to California and finds that life her at the public school is much different than the Catholic School that she went to back in Ohio. She quickly becomes friends with Carrie and Brandon and as they become closer the experimentation begins. In a simple juvenile game of Truth or Dare, a dare to kiss another girl causes her to question herself and her friends.
The "Note from the Author" at the start of the novel tells us that the author herself had a difficult childhood and this heightened her sensitivity to stories that were shared with her throughout her life. Instead of writing a book of "case studies" she chose to fictionalize the people involved. "By placing the characters in positions to interact with each other, it makes us care for them and for their hardships as multidimensional persons, and not just case numbers or studies."
In the book there are a lot of different relationships among the characters and each one is interesting in itself. Lehman does a wonderful job presenting each individual's story and conveying his or her thoughts and emotions. "TORN" is a story about young teenagers however the target audience for the book is for people over the age of eighteen which is very fitting due to the sexual nature and descriptive sexual scenes depicted throughout the novel. Unfortunately the experiences with alcohol, drugs (like cocaine and marijuana), and sexual experimentation presented in the book are a reality in many teenagers' lives and this book could definitely serve as an eye-opener to some parents. However, in itself, "TORN" is a very readable and engaging novel even if you want to read it and enjoy it purely as a work of fiction.
Everyone was young once. For some, times were easier - less peer pressure, less stress. Not so anymore. Sure, there's still the strange bewildering difference between guys and gals but sometimes there's a whole cultural shift to deal with.
Such is the case with our leading lady. Fresh in from Ohio, California is a bit daunting. Dance helps, as does some newly acquired friends. When sex, absent mothers and charming older brothers are thrown into the mix the stress is amped up considerably.
Amber Lehman's first novel is enthralling. And while your teenage years may be far in your past, your grandkids, neighbors or employees may be smack dab in the middle of it.
Regardless of age it's never easy to tear away your layers and get down to the rock solid truth about complicated situations. Lehman doesn't have all the answers but sussing things out with your friends, siblings or even a far-away Mom can help tremendously.
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