Breathtakingly Honest and Painful | Review: What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

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What Unbreakable Looks Like tackles some seriously heavy topics and, as always, I encourage you to look into its content to avoid triggering any unwanted reactions/emotions. That being said: wow, this book is a force to be reckoned with.


What Unbreakable Looks Like
by Kate McLaughlin

Lex was taken – trafficked - and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again.

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn't trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that's what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things.

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life and learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.


What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin
Rating: ★★
  As always, a copy of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

There are so many books out there that tackle the same topics that What Unbreakable Looks Like. Not many of them do so as believably and gracefully as Kate McLaughlin manages to do. Make no mistake: this is not an easy book to read. Due to subject matter, it will be very triggering for some, and very stomach churning for the rest.

But, damn, does it make its point and leave the reader with a ton of emotions.

My mind has been reeling since I finished and there's no easy way to explain it. Here's what you need to know: What Unbreakable Looks Like is electrically charged in its honesty and is one of the most thought-provoking young adult novels I've read in my entire life. (And, obviously, I've read a lot.)

This book feels real and it's the type of painfully realistic that you cannot look away from. You cannot shake free of it. Not while you're reading it. Not after you've finished it. It'll leave its mark on you.

What strikes me most about this book is how much of a build we really and truly get. Part of this novel's allure is the honesty that takes your breath away. You'll find yourself listening to Lex's story. You'll get lost in her array of emotions. In the past. In the present. Sometimes, you will have to put What Unbreakable Looks Like down because the ache of it all is hard. But, McLaughlin's particular brand of hard honesty is what makes the story gorgeous and moving.

What Unbreakable Looks Like has so much going for it. McLaughlin takes her time in developing the novel's tone, expanding on it throughout every page and every plot. At so many moments, I felt my emotions growing higher and tenser; my eyes watering, my mind racing. What Unbreakable Looks Like is achingly honest and thought-provoking. The sheer depth of it all alone is what makes it a worthwhile and unforgettable read.

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