Review: Torn by Stephanie Guerra

| Monday, June 25, 2012
TornTorn by Stephanie Guerra
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this ebook via Net Galley for an honest review.
Estella Chavez is a clean cut girl: straight A student, plays soccer, clean cut boyfriends. She comes from a broken home where her father left due to drug use. Ruby is Stella's opposite: cursing, smoking, cutting school, dating college and older men, wearing high heels, who believes there isn't anything that shouldn't be tried once. Stella suddenly finds herself torn between her new friendship with Ruby and the friends she has known almost all her life. Stella watches Ruby slowly unravel and eventually has to make a decision to interfere, even though it might cost her their friendship.
When I first started reading the book, I really liked it. It moved well. I quickly became acquainted with Stella and her life, understanding her relationship with her mother, sister, brother and the father who no longer is part of her life. Guerra created realistic characters. Stella being the typical middle of the road high-school girl, while Ruby is that make-up wearing, school cutting, smoking, outcast rocker type.
When Stella becomes friends with Ruby, she changes. We see her seeking more independence. She tries new things, such as dating a college guy named Mike, and is willing to step outside of her circle of comfort. Stella's friends quickly show their unhappiness with her pulling away, but Stella can't seem to stop herself. We watch her struggle with the push and pull of keeping her old friends while making new ones. We watch her become acquainted with a real relationship and all the turns it might take.
Ruby is a force that pulls Stella into another world. Some would say she's a bad influence, but really Stella freely makes her own decisions to do those things she has never done before.
The book is peppered with references to G-d and how Stella's relationship with G-d affects her decisions.
About half way through the book, the story reaches it's pinnacle and then quickly starts to deflate. The ending is nothing short of boring and unrealistic, in my opinion. Guerra took an otherwise engrossing, contemporary, realistic young adult story and blew it up with conclusion that is disappointing. Guerra leaves us with a completely open ending to a book that has no sequel. There is no resolution to the problems the characters encountered during the story.
I give this book 3/5 stars. Thank you Net Galley for the chance to read and review this book.
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