Saturday, December 12, 2009
Torn by Amber Lehman
Torn by Amber Lehman is the story of fourteen year-old Krista McKinley, who has transferred from Catholic school in Ohio to public school in California. Talk about culture shock! But she quickly finds friends in Carrie and Brandon and makes her place in the school society.
Those early teenage years are already confusing enough as it is. But add sexual ambiguity and experimentation to the mix, and welcome to a scary spiral of self-doubt and questioning.
Krista's first bout with confusion comes when she realizes that Brandon is actually gay, even though every girl in school seems to want him. He throws men and boys away as easily as he throws his money around, seeming to not care what damage is created. Yet, she is highly devoted to him.
Then comes an intoxicated experiment with Carrie, that brings their relationship to a new level for them both. How should it really be defined now? What do they really owe each other? What is normal?
Seeking answers is difficult, as her father has long disappeared, her mother is doing missionary work overseas. Her brothers are wrapped up in their own worlds, and would freak out if they knew what she was really doing. And then she is highly attracted to her virginal almost-30 year-old Bible Study leader, who is also the older brother of one of her other friends.
Relationships between the friends become increasingly complex as they struggle to answer these and many other questions about life, love, and lust. Their predicaments, while possibly extreme in the wealthy California setting, can probably found in just about any town in America, though it used to not be at such a young age. These types of games and experiments used to only happen during the freedom of college.
Amber Lehman herself said that though the characters in this book are in high school, it is actually written for the 17 and older crowd. The topics presented within are quite mature and would probably be better for a slightly younger crowd if read with a trusted adult.
Nevertheless, I found it to be a very good read. I had a hard time putting it down once I got started. And I am sure I will read it again some day.
I received a copy of this book for the purposes of reviewing it, from the author, Amber Lehman.