Saturday, 11 August 2012


Torn by David Massey
Paperback, 259 pages

Published 2nd August 2012 by Chicken House

My shelves:
arc-or-review, books-i-own, cover-appeal, historical, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, to-be-reviewed, young-adult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Afghanistan. In the heat and dust, young British army medic Elinor Nielson watches an Afghan girl walk into a hail of bullets. But when she runs to help, Ellie finds her gone. Who is she? And what's happened to her? What Ellie discovers makes her question everything she believes in, even her feelings for the American lieutenant who takes her side.

Buy this book:
My thanks go to Chicken House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as I saw the cover for Torn, I knew that I had to read it. I absolutely adore the cover and anything about war really intrigues me. The lovely people at Chicken House provided me with a review copy. As soon as it landed in my postbox, it was taken and put on the top of my reading pile. I was very, very, very eager to pick this one up!

Torn was a good read. The writing was enjoyable and accessible and the story was certainly not boring. I personally have an issue where I like to hype myself up for books and so I have great expectations - I think that may have been the case with this book - though I did enjoy it, I felt that it was lacking a certain something. I can't actually pick out what this book was lacking in, but it didn't pack a massive punch for me and so I don't think this will be a story that will stay with me for a long time. 

I thought that Massey did a absolutely wonderful job of introducing us to the war front of Afghanistan - in simple yet effective and descriptive terms, he introduced us to a foreign an very different land compared to the reasonably safe one that most of us live in. Though the beginning of the book wasn't exactly fast paced, for me it was the most impressive part of the book and it gave us a good introduction to Ellie, our main character who is starting out as an army medic.

Most of the characters in Torn were well formed and played good parts. Though it wasn't explicitly written, the emotional trouble of both the soldiers and the civilians in Afghanistan was portrayed quite well. We were introduced to some rather interesting characters. For me, the relationship between Ellie and a child prisoner of war, Husna, was certainly the most effective. However, I also enjoyed reading about Heidi, Ellie's colleague, trying to figure out more about her and what she'd do next - even if she did irritate me at points! I also liked reading about Ellie's friendship with Chip and Yugi. I wasn't all that bothered about the romantic side to this story - it didn't feel all that natural and it was a bit rushed for my liking - against the backdrop of war, it just didn't feel right nor did it seem entertaining. 

Learning about the war in Afghanistan was intriguing, but to be honest it was all a little bit too political for me - I understand that war is certainly a political thing, but the politics of it felt a little forced upon me in this book. I found the story of the child soldiers and the mysterious little girl to be very interesting, but the story behind it did get a little too political for me - I do think that some people will enjoy the political aspect, especially as it throws some mystery into the book, but I personally didn't.

Overall, Torn was a good, interesting book. It is certainly different to many of the other choices of Young Adult books out there and I'm glad that Massey decided to approach the subject of war as it's certainly something to be written about! I will look forward to more work by Massey in the future and I hope to read more books about this subject, too!


  1. Definitely a bit of a different choice, and too bad this one fell a bit flat for you, but it still sounds like quite an interesting read! Hmmm, any feeling of something being forced can hurt a reading experience but I agree. Maybe lay off the politic background and let the child soldier story shine through and it would've been good. Thanks for the honest and fair review!

    and yay! your blog is working for me again! A bit late, sorry >_<

  2. Hi Stephanie!
    Oooh, I love books set in the Middle East: they always have a certain charm to them. And you're right, the cover is beautifully done! I understand what you mean about the romance part, but I would've enjoyed it if it were done right. I think I'll still give this book a go, it sounds lovely :D

    This is a well-written review! Thanks!

  3. Yes, I find that politics in books are definitely a love-or-hate issue with most people--unless they are in the hands of a freaking amazing author. Margaret Mitchell, for example, did a stellar job of interweaving politics and emotion in Gone With the Wind. Nevertheless, I'll definitely check this one out!


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