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.
The first thing to talk about is Stella as a main character. Number one, she’s half Mexican (diversity!); number two, she’s a practicing Catholic. Those are two things that I don’t see enough in YA; most authors seem to be most comfortable with middle class white girls who are spiritually ambivalent. So I definitely liked that Stella was different, and besides that, she was really likeable and had a fantastic personality.
Stella a great example of what it means to be a strong heroine without being “kickass” or whatever.
Stephanie Guerra is really great with her character relationships, too. Stella had a younger sister and they didn’t get along, but at the end of the day they still loved each other. Stella’s mom was caring and real, as opposed to the typical dysfunctional YA parent, and Stella’s friends were all understandably peeved when Ruby walked on the scene. Throughout this, I was struck by how real the dynamic between Stella and her friends and family was, especially as that added to the story itself.
Torn’s plot was a bit different from what I’d expected, but in a good way. It wasn’t some dark and gloomy drug addiction/teen prostitution story or anything extreme. Yes, Stella’s new friend Ruby does drugs and has a questionable boyfriend, but the entire story felt a bit more realistic and down to earth than that. Stella was a high school senior, she did high schoolish things like balancing friendships and a boyfriend and paying for college on a low income, but it was never to the point where she was laying on the bathroom floor strung out and covered in her own vomit.
So really, I think that the image Guerra painted was more relatable to most teens, and I personally loved Torn for it’s simple portrayal of teen life.
This is the kind of contemporary YA that I want to read; not all that nonsense about evil cheerleaders and “true love.” Torn is real and endearing, featuring great characters and a wonderful plot. It’s definitely a book I’ll remember.
Stepanie Guerra created a book lots of teenage girls will love. Even though it's not the genre I like best, I loved this book, and want to read more by the author, Stephanie Guerra.
The main character in this book, Stella, really is a good girl, but will she turn into a good girl gone bad? She is someone I'dlove to be friends with! She takes care of her brother and sister, and acts as if she is an adult, but never complains to others how much her life sucks. Then there comes the new girl, that is completely different, and she decides to give her a shot, which immediately made me love her. No love at first sight for her, which is another + :D
Then there is the other important character, Ruby. She is the exact opposite of Stella, but I adored her too, or at least in some parts of the book. She is the one that always chooses dare with thruth or dare. She's the one that will never abandon you, and the one that loves you as a sister. She's the one with a hard life you don't know about until it's too late, just because she is such a great actor.
This book showed me the value of friendship. Also, boyfriends were not the #1 priority for Stella, and that was great. She had a life, even without a boyfriend. Some other YA books make me wonder if the characters would survive a week without their boyfriends. *FYI, that's a bad thing ;)*
The story starts happy, and everything's ok. But of course, it turns around, and drama takes over. And not only whiny-girl drama... Stella has to make some serious decisions, and will she choose the right thing. Will there even be a right thing to choose?
The writing style of Stephanie is great, and the pace of the story was perfect, there was happening enough, and not too much in each chapter.
A fun read that includes some difficult choices, a lot of drama and everything a teenage girl can ask for. A terrific debut novel!