Torn by Amber Lehman reviewed by Chris Phillips
Torn by Amber Lehman ISBN 978-0-9795933-6-9
Review by Chris Phillips
Lehman has written a very good coming-of-age book. She confronts issues both common to teenagers and uncommon. As the publicity said, Gay and Lesbian issues are core to the plot and handled openly and honestly throughout.
Krista is the main character. The story begins with her moving to Southern California from Ohio, going from a parochial school to a public one and her mother going on a mission trip all at the same time. Even though she has no friends when the book begins, she quickly finds some in Carrie, Ryan and Brandon. The tale continues through her sophomore year and the situations she through the school year.
From these four and a few others the plot and character develop, particularly Krista, thoroughly, believably, and consistently. There are concrete and common problems of teen years, but also coping with gender and orientation issues. There is sexually active and gay, Brandon, who is the bright and beautiful Southern California prep. Ryan is the boyfriend that seems perpetually frustrated and inept. Carrie is the best friend and also becomes a love interest for Krista.
The plot mechanism is Krista adjusting and settling into the new school and the new neighborhood. Her brothers are older and involved in their own lives but keep up with what she is doing. There are other friends and people that show up in the plot. There is sufficient variety to give a good balance and yet keep the plot moving.
Issues covered in the book about sexual orientation are seeking definition for same-sex relationship and hetero-relationships. Krista’s questions and discoveries keep the reader involved. Doubts and fears come for Krista, but she finds out that her friends and her own upbringing serve her well. The Gay and Lesbian issue hinted at on the teasers is definitely part of the plot and issues dealt with in this book, but it seems that there is nothing new for persons who actually are Gay or Lesbian or dealing with the identity issues of such. In fact the biggest disappointment is that Krista does the ultimate hetero fantasy and converts a gay guy to bi-sexuality. This is definitely not guide to coping with that, but more of a romantic depiction from a 16-year-old’s perspective.
With the publicity and the back cover there should be more depth to the situation. The final resolution left this reviewer disappointed. The story is directed at this very specific audience and those concerned with teenagers in this age group, but do not expect any major revelations nor earth shattering truths to be revealed. Gays and lesbians, GLBT community members all will have to look elsewhere for a banner novel helping to deal with teenagers coming to grips with their sexuality and sexual orientation.
This should be read for the balanced perspective and acceptance of the characters to GLBT issues, but not as a how-to manual nor as a lesson guide for practical solutions. It is a good romance and should be viewed as such. This is one book that can be read and passed on to someone else that might enjoy it.
Published by Closet Case Press, PO Box 12961, Newport Beach, CA 92658 (http://www.closetcasepress.com) (SRP $15.00/Amazon $15.00) Review copy sent by author.