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TORN by Amber Lehman

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message 1: by Amber (last edited Nov 28, 2010 03:39PM) (new)

Amber Lehman (amber_lehman73) | 2 comments WINNER - 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards - GLBT category, 

Torn is a 2009 Lambda Literary Award Finalist/Bisexual Fiction 

If a bisexual coming-of-age novel like Torn had been written when I was written when I was coming of age in the mid-1970s, it would have gone a long way toward helping me feel sane. In fact, if I could have read this book when I was 14 (the age at which we meet the book s protagonist, Krista McKinley), I probably would have become addicted to this book and carried it with me wherever I went; bisexuals let alone teenaged bisexuals get very few reliable toeholds in our society even today. Torn is a brave and memorable achievement in teen fiction. It is unflinching in its accurate depiction of the curious lust for experience that is basically synonymous with being a teenager. The characters delve into drugs, drinking, and sex just as zealously and carelessly as teenagers do in real life, and they careen into the wall of consequences just as hard. Krista and her friends Carrie, Brandon, Ryan, Nick, and Aeleise (in varying combinations throughout the book) have access to plenty of booze when they want it; they try cocaine and ecstasy; they play football, they re cheerleaders, they attend the homecoming dance as well as bible study groups; some are victims of incest and rape, while others carefully choose when they will lose their virginity and to whom; they have co-ed sleepovers where they kiss and sometimes have sex with each other; they shop a lot and, since this is Southern California, they also go surfing. However, when the characters err in judgment, they get caught and are forced to examine their actions along with their motivations and must somehow make amends. Perhaps most importantly, Torn tackles that complicated identity question of am I bisexual, or [gay or lesbian], or just experimenting? with a huge heart and an honest appraisal, and best yet for bisexuals the answer resounds with hope for teenagers who find themselves genuinely attracted to both sexes. The characters in Torn may seem torrid on the surface, yet Lehman has crafted her characters with such kindness and with such attention to realistic detail that they are easy to become addicted to, even as an adult reader. These are insecure gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters who are fiercely devoted to each other, who hold one another accountable for everything. The few parents depicted in Torn are rich, ineffectual and self-involved. The other parents are curiously absent, with two families being overseen by older brothers. This helps create a world where the teenagers take center stage and are forced to look out for one another. The older brothers (Krista s brother Marc, a doctor; and Aeleise s brother Daemon, a pilot, a devout Christian and a thirty-year-old virgin) are so well-grounded in morals and discipline that they wind up being more effective and more respected than most real-life parents. My one complaint about Torn is that it is too long. The attention paid to the details of what everyone is wearing, eating, or drinking frequently adds too much clutter to the story. Otherwise, Torn is a page-turner whose ending might possibly astound you. This is a terrific first novel that deserves an open-minded read. You ll make fast friends with the teenagers in this book and if you re already an adult you ll perhaps find yourself feeling friendlier toward the questioning teenager you once were. --Marilyn Jaye Lewis-Lambda Literary Foundation

A radical shift in environment changes one's world. "Torn" is the story of Krista McKinley, a Catholic school student who is sent to a public high school by her family. As she finds new friends, her world and her values will still be roughly tested. "Torn" is an intriguing coming of age story that many teenagers will relate to. --Midwest Book Review

One of the most difficult periods in a person's life is spent in high school, and TORN, through its excellent character portrayals reinforce just how difficult those few years can be. As a new student, Krista McKinley is deluged with easy opportunities to experiment with alcohol, drugs and sex. This fourteen year old protagonist faces them head on and makes adult decisions much earlier than she should have to. She emerges knowing a lot more than she did in the beginning: that being true to be true to yourself may not please all of the people all of the time. I was reminded of the TV series My So Called Life, which was a big hit, as I fully expect this book to be. --E. Elkinson "Wise Owl Book Review"

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.


message 2: by Amber (new)

Amber Lehman (amber_lehman73) | 2 comments Hi everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve been on any of the Goodreads boards. Mostly because I’m back in school and my workload is crazy. But I did want to stop by and let you know that I finally got around to renovating my website—or rather, I hired someone to renovate it for me. LOL. Anyway, I’d like to invite you to look around my new and much improved site at I’ve also completed another book that I hope to release shortly, and I’ll be sure to keep you abreast of that as well. I hope everyone has been doing well, and I will do my best to stop in whenever homework hasn’t taken over my life. Take care!
Amber :)

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