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Thank you to the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth for awarding me the 2013 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award for a significant contribution to professional literature concerning multicultural literary experiences for youth.
“Guerra’s gritty novel (Amazon Children’s Pub., 2012) is a spectacularly realistic portrait of a teen torn between her former friends and the new girl in school, running the family household and having fun in high school . . . This is a wonderful story with real characters in real situations. Casey Holloway’s narration is as authentic as the story she is telling. A compelling listen that won’t stay on the self.– School Library Journal Audiobook Pick of the Day, starred review. (Joan Kindig) full review
“This is a fairly short but seriously intense read, with a couple of extremely strong scenes which are amongst the most gruelling I’ve ever read in a YA novel. It also benefits from some absolutely superb characters…as a modern coming-of-age story this ranks up there with the best of them. Guerra’s writing style is really readable and it’s a fast-paced book which had me completely gripped.” 5 stars — YA Yeah Yeah (full review)
“The author’s thoughtful and nonjudgmental approach creates an engaging, authentic portrayal of female friendship.” — The Horn Book Guide
“Strong voice and complex characters…” — Booklist
“This fast, compelling read emphasizes female empowerment, especially regarding female bullying and inappropriate relationships.” — VOYA
“Stephanie Guerra’s debut novel is a moving, authentic take on the complexities of female friendship. It’s an accessible, memorable read that will appeal to many teen readers. Surprising, edgy, and unflinchingly real, this book deserves some attention. Although the basic premise of Guerra’s novel is one that has been done before, it’s rare that it’s done as well as this one is. What is unique about Guerra’s story is that both her protagonist and the so-called bad-girl are remarkably well-drawn. Both Stella and Ruby are fully-formed characters. Both girls have appealing qualities to their personalities as well as legitimate, authentic flaws… While Ruby’s actions become increasingly hard to watch (both for Stella and the reader), there’s never a moment that rings false. — Clementine Bojangles, Early Nerd Special (full review)
“Stephanie Guerra’s Torn pits stability against the unfamiliar. It’s a question of friendship; do you remain loyal and help the other the best way you can, or do you walk away and return to the life you once had? I loved this book… Torn is a must-read.” 5 stars — EY Magazine (full review)
“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.” 4 stars — The Girl in a Cafe (full review)
“Stephanie is a writing teacher and her strong sense of craft shines through this unflinching and powerful novel.” — Writer on the Side
“By caring about someone who has leaped into the adult world and provides her with the chance to tag along, a young woman unwittingly finds herself moving away from the safe and predictable world of her early adolescence. Although the young women’s attendance in high school is central to the plot, this is not a book tied to place or time. The actions and the thoughts of the characters occur universally, and so the story holds interest for adults and has staying power, and is much bigger than a teen novel. It is about being true to oneself and handling complicated situations while being in a caring relationship. Major and minor characters alike are realistically complex, and continue to live in my mind. The events of the book are not overdone, but there are plenty of tense moments when you care about the people and what may happen, and so you are driven on to keep reading while wondering how you yourself might best respond. Without being pedantic or judgmental, the author enables the reader to care about the main characters and to rejoice in their authenticity and competence as friends and as human beings. I look forward to this author’s next publication. ” 5 stars — Victoria
Come visit me on READERGIRLZ, a cutting-edge literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Award for Innovations in Reading. I’m the Seattle Host, and I blog about author events in the Seattle area, as well as great new books I’ve read. Thank you for visiting! I hope you stay awhile.