Review: Torn – David Massey

Cover of Torn by David Massey

Title: Torn
Author: David Massey
Publication date: 2 August, 2012
Publisher: Chicken House
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-908435-1-70
Length: 259 pages
Genre: Action / Adventure
Age group: Young Adult
Source: For review
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository


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 leads her to question everything she believes in – even her feelings for the American lieutenant who takes her side…

My thoughts

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.


“My heart flutters in my chest. I’ve left it too late. When I look back again there’s no sign that the others are still with us and we have lost sight of Heidi’s section. I open my mouth to warn the guys that we need to wait for them to catch up. That’s when it happens.
A loud metallic click.

5 star rating*Thank you to Chicken House for sending me a review copy of this book*


    • says

      Me too and exactly! That’s why I liked this one so much. The fact that it’s written for a young-adult audience makes it so much easier to read and it’s more optimistic as well.

  1. says

    Lovely review, Vicky. I know we here in America all too often forget the daily struggles are soliders are making over there. This sounds like a book we all need to read. I am glad it is different and unexpected. I know that I would love to get to know more about the Afghan people. Thanks for sharing!
    Heidi recently posted..The Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene StockmanMy Profile

  2. says

    This sounds like a great character driven novel set against the backdrop of war. Adding to my list. I would recommend you read Sandcastle Girls. check my review if you want, but I think this is the type of book you would enjoy :)Awesome review :)
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted..Burn by Heath GibsonMy Profile

  3. says

    “Don’t let the war subject put you off” – I think that was what I needed to read, to persuade me to get this.
    I’ve been undecided about this one for a while… I actually did an entire year of ‘Literature of the Great War’ for the end of my English Literature A-Levels, a few years back, and haven’t been able to look war fiction in the eye, ever since!
    So yeah, I let the war thing put me off.

    Excellent review though – you’ve persuaded me to give it a try!

    Much love, hun :)
    Dani xx
    Dani (Pen to Paper) recently posted..Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry **Review & Guest Post** [Blog Tour]My Profile


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