I was sent this eBook by Ashley S. Morgan to read and review. I started it almost straight away but it took me a while to finish as I was reading it at the same time as a couple of other books. Right now it only seems to be available on Amazon U.S. on the kindle for $5.13, I’m not sure if they’ll be putting elsewhere or in other formats.
Isadora Rivers feels trapped. Her small town high school is suffocating her.
Another day of wannabe gangsters, dumb jocks, and Barbie clones, and she’ll just lose it. Her keen emotional sensitivity is to blame. She sees through all of the poser behavior to the pain and insecurity simmering just below the surface, and it’s overwhelming. She feels like she’s literally drowning in other people’s emotions.
This same sensitivity, however, makes her a great actress. Suffocating or not, her high school is one of the top arts schools in the country. Acting is not only her passion, but it also looks like her way out. If she can just score the lead role in the school play, she might get herself noticed by a Hollywood agent. But she’s got a strong reckless streak, and it keeps getting her in trouble and jeopardizing her chances.
Riding her bike at top speed, she swerves in front of a car and nearly gets hit. The driver, Tristan Blake, turns out to be the mysterious new boy at school. He’s rebellious, broody, and wise beyond his years. He’s also devastatingly gorgeous. From the moment their eyes meet, Isadora is irresistibly drawn to him. But as soon as he enters her life, things go horribly wrong. She begins having disturbing visions full of unimaginable glamour and unbearable darkness. He knows things about her he shouldn’t. And he’s somehow so familiar. As he at turns pulls her close, and then pushes her away, Isadora feels like her heart is being twisted and torn.
She soon discovers that her whole future is in jeopardy, and her only hope is to stay away from Tristan. But how can she turn away from the only boy she has ever loved? As a harrowing event looms closer, one that threatens to rip apart her psyche, Isadora must reach deep inside herself and find the strength to change her own destiny. But is she strong enough to do it?
The following review doesn’t contain any direct spoilers, but if you want to go in reading it cold turkey, I’d skip to the last two paragraphs just in case!
The synopsis gives you a lot of the story line to the book which is off-putting in my opinion. I like to be surprised (sometimes) with my books so after reading the story line beforehand I didn’t feel much suspense whilst reading the actual book. My first impressions were pretty good when I started the book though. In fact, I found the beginning chapters to be the most enjoyable part of the book. Ashley Morgan is gifted in her ability to describe abstract moments between her character and nature. Her descriptions are vivid enough for me to be able to feel the same experiences as Isadora riding her bike, within just the second paragraph. Written from Isadora’s perspective, we’re taken into her average teenage life of highschool classes and highschool problems. A lot of the information we get in the story is from dialogue between the characters which both helps to put us in Isadora’s shoes but also minimalises Morgan’s use of description – which is something that upset me throughout the book. To begin with, Torn actually reminded me of the first Wicca book (which I absolutely loved!) so I was floating on air in the first few chapters.
Yet once my honeymoon period at the beginning was over, the chapters started to become repetitive and very quickly I found myself bored. There was a lot of unnecessary detail which didn’t actually add to the story, to the relationships or to anything at all. It was irrelevant and frankly infuriating for me as I was constantly hoping for movement and action at which point I took a break and stopped reading. Thinking back, I realise that the book is very much a “the beginning”, “the middle” and “the end” story. Additionally, the love story itself lacked any sort of build up. We all know the boy and the girl end up together in the end, but I enjoy reading the process of them falling in love more than anything else. Sadly, Isadora falls for Tristan instantly so their love often felt artificial. Just like her parents, I felt like she experiencing teenage lust more than an emotional connection to Tristan.
When I came back to the book, the synopsis had long ago become a blur in my mind. At almost exactly the half way point, I started to put all of the pieces together and figure out what was happening and felt thoroughly disappointed. The premise of the story and the paranormal aspects are pretty damn awesome, but for some reason they took a back seat for more or less the whole of the first half and only became sort of important in the latter half. The paranormal aspects of the book are not explained to the reader, though Tristan does seem to understand it. I wish we’d been able to meet Selma or Louise and see their characters in action because it would have made my connection to the story a lot stronger. For example, Isadora could have spontaneously stalked Tristan – out of jealousy or maybe even curiousity – during one of his visits to Selma and had one of her “visions” shortly after. The whole scene would have so much more interesting than Tristan simply telling Isadora what to believe.
Honestly, I feel like I would have enjoyed this book more when I was in highschool. I know some YA books are appropriate for even adults but this one I think is aimed more at highschool age group. There were a lot of funny and realistic school moments, I loved the fact that the students re-named Dick the security guard to Dickhead because I know it’s something that would have happened back when I was in school. At the same time though, the book made references to up-to-date technology and celebrities so it could easily be relevant to any teenager now. My favourite character was definitely Sarah, who seemed like a breath of fresh air during Isadora’s more immature moments. To me, Isadora only became bearable at the end once she’d figured out who/what she wanted to be – which may say more about my lack of patience with immaturity more than anything else!
This book had so much potential and I feel like it could have been a lot better than it was. I don’t know if the book was rushed (I got that impression when I read a reference to Kim Kardashian’s divorce which happened just last November) but I think it could still go through revisions and become an amazing book. That being said, it’s still an interesting story of the journey of a young girl trying to find herself in an adult world, so I’d still recommend it to a teen interested in YA fiction.
Edit: The cover of Torn has been updated since my book review! Here’s the new cover:
I have to say, I prefer the old one since it was a lot cleaner but I understand the concept behind this one more so I guess it makes sense!