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ARC Review: What Unbreakable Looks Like [Blog Tour]

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: What Unbreakable Looks Like
Author: Kate McLaughlin
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Content Warnings: Details about human trafficking, sexual assault and sexual harrassment (on page), non-consensual, manipulative/toxic relationship between a minor and an adult, absentee parents, PTSD, anxiety
Publication date: June 23, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

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.


Hello book nerds! Today is my stop for the blog tour of What Unbreakable Looks Like! Thank you so much Wednesday Books for including me in this blog tour!

What Unbreakable Looks Like was raw and gritty, heartbreaking, and beautiful. It’s a book that explores overcoming trauma, learning to trust, and finding hope.

My thoughts on What Unbreakable Looks Like

Right from the get-go, I knew this was going to be a hard and emotional read. And I was right. This book tackled a lot of issues, the main character went through several traumatic events, and it was such a journey to see the story and the characters progress.

The writing style was great. Reading through Lex’s perspective gave me such a personal and emotional view of the story and the real-life dangers of human trafficking. I could tell the author also did a lot of research for this—to talk about human trafficking, the methodologies of (disgusting) traffickers, the trauma that victims go through, and the aftermath for victims and their families.

The characters were also compelling for me and they made the story more real and heartfelt. We see different kinds of people who are dealing with traumatic events in different ways, families and friends showing support, and more.

I also love that this book also tackled sexual harassment, the importance of consent, the nuances of being a woman and how others unfairly believe women less when it comes to sexual harassment cases.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the fact that the main character kept using AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) when trying to look tough or when conversing with people from her old life. Reading the book last month, I remember noticing this, too, but it wasn’t until recently that I came across a tweet from another reader pointing out that the main character (a white girl) was using AAVE.

Overall, What Unbreakable Looks Like is a great read, a gripping tale that will mess with your emotions and make you think about society.

What Unbreakable Looks Like
Buy Link

Buy What Unbreakable Looks Like here!

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About the Author 

KATE McLAUGHLIN likes people, so much so that she spends her days making up her own. She likes writing about characters who are bent, but not broken – people who find their internal strength through friends, strife and sometimes humor. When she’s not writing, she likes studying people, both real and fictional. She also likes playing board games with friends, talking and discovering new music. A proud Nova Scotian, she’ll gladly tell you all about the highest tides in the world, the magical creation known as a donair, and people who have sofas in their kitchens. Currently, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and four cats. She’s the author of What Unbreakable Looks Like. Find her on Twitter.

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