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The Girl in a Cafe

Loving Books Since Before It Was Cool! All reviews can also be found on my main blog!

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Torn - Stephanie Guerra Stella Chavez is your ordinary high school senior girl. Get good grades, remain friendly with everyone, have a potential boyfriend and keep a spot on the soccer team. It’s a world that Stella has gradually become a part of, where her Latino blood and drug user father have been hidden deep in her past. Then Stella meets new girl Ruby, who is all fire and attitude. Ruby introduces Stella to a whole new world beyond high school - college boys, non-existent parents just to name a few. Soon Stella finds herself caught between the thrill of hanging out with Ruby and the people that she’s leaving behind, and whether or not it’s all worth it for friendship.I loved this book. It was like nothing I’ve read before; mainly because Stephanie has created such a realistic novel that you just jump in and relate to everything that is going on. Stella is an ordinary character with her own problems, just like everyone else. As she’s growing up, she starts to challenge parts of her life, especially when introduced to Ruby, who shakes things up a bit. I think what I enjoyed most was when Ruby first decides to befriend Stella and asks her to do things like cutting school, or driving to Chicago, Stella doesn’t automatically think, “What will my friends think of me?” She thinks more about herself and what she believes in, rather than what others expect of her, and make her decisions that way. She’s a loyal friend, even to Ruby who she’s only just met. Stella’s not a perfect character, and that’s one of the qualities that makes this such a good read. You want to strangle her at times; you want to strangle her old friends for not sticking up for Stella more. It’s those emotions that make you connect with a book that makes it enjoyable.Torn isn’t about finding out what’s right and wrong, it’s about making judgements and decisions yourself and what friendship really means. Ruby becomes out of control and makes decisions that Stella knows are wrong, but how do you tell that to some-one who’s never had to restrain herself before? It starts off innocently enough - meeting college boys and the occasional lie about where she’s really going to be. Then it progresses into more - stealing from department stores to drug use. All things that Stella knows are wrong. That Ruby knows is wrong. The ending fell a little flat for me, and it was all over too quickly with quite a twee Mean Girls style finish, although it was a good laugh. I would have liked to see more on the romance front, especially what happened with Mike, who turned from having a major role in the book to being sidelined completely. However this book was one read I’m looking forward to having on my shelf for real. It was guenine, moving and very touching and real in today’s world where to a girl, who your friends are means everything.