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Review: Torn by David Massey

Title: Torn
Author: David Massey
Year Published: 2013

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 274
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): Afghanistan

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book):  In battle-scarred Afghanistan, a girl walks right into a hail of bullets: Elinor watches it with her own eyes. The young British army medic risks the line of fire to rescue her, only to realize the girl is gone. To find the missing, mysterious child, Elinor enlists the help of an American Navy SEAL. But in all the confusion, with coalition troops fighting every day to maintain a fragile peace, could Ben have something to hide? Elinor came to Afghanistan with the hope of changing hearts and minds: What she's about to discover will make her question everything she ever believed about love and war.

Review: This book is why I usually don't read the summary of the book close to when I read it. Except for the last sentence, this is not a good description of this book and it certainly doesn't do it justice. It feels like it was written to sell books rather than to correctly describe what is contained between the covers.

I really like the characters in this book! Elinor is caring, smart, not afraid to speak her mind, and is overwhelmed with her experiences in Afghanistan. She is also real: fighting for injustice while feeling like she doesn't know the right answers all the time. The supporting characters of Hunsa (a young Afghan boy), Ben (the American lieutenant), and the other male soldiers are all good. They believe in what they are doing in Afghanistan, but are also scared and unsure much of the time.

I liked the scenes that took place inside the British compound, which combined "regular" life of showers, meals and soccer games with attacks that seemed to come from nowhere. Living so closely and in such frightening conditions brings the characters close very quickly. Obviously, I have not been to Afghanistan nor fought in a war, but the descriptions of the scenery, the people, and the complexity of the issues in Afghanistan all felt very true and accurate to me as I read the story. In particular, the blurry lines between enemy and friend, Afghan and coalition forces was made very clear

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