Originally reviewed at: booksbiscuitsandtea.co.uk
Rating: 5 out of 5 biscuits
When I first saw David Massey's Torn and what the story's about, I knew I had to read it. Even though the synopsis doesn't give too much away, I had a feeling I'd be in for an emotional ride. My only concern was that (and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way) I don't normally read war books so I was hoping it wouldn't be too... you know, war-like and all about politics. However, I shouldn't have worried - for David Massey makes this difficult subject accessible for the young adult generation with such ease that you just won't be able to put the book down.
Torn is narrated by a 19-year-old British medic called Ellie, who's recently joined the troops in Afghanistan. Ellie is likeable and funny but very down-to-earth and ordinary as well - just like any of us. Massey's aim by writing the story from a young girl's perspective was to raise awareness to the fact that many young adults have died in the Afghan war, as well as adults. In fact, most of the characters in Torn are around Ellie's age, and even younger. There are kids as young as 12 and soldiers around the age of 20-23. Reading what these people have been through was definitely an eye-opener for me. Even though it's not just about people dying but friendship, love, and forgiveness as well, you still can't help thinking about troops who are fighting in these circumstances day by day.
One of the things I loved the most was the friendship between Ellie and a young, twelve/thirteen year-old Afghan boy, Husna who the British troops hold captive after a gunfire attach in a nearby town. I loved the unlikely friendship between captor and captive and how much Husna changed by the end. How he didn't trust anyone at first and slowly but surely he opened up and started to trust the girl. Husna's by far my favourite character, although Ellie is a close second.
All in all, Torn is a definite must read. Don't let the war subject put you off - it's nothing like what you'd expect from a book about such a serious topic. It's fully of mysteries, it's funny, charming and it'll bring tears to your eyes at the same time. It's a heart-pounding adventure about friendship, loyalty, courage, but most importantly, hope.