What Unbreakable Looks Like – Review

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press & Wednesday Books for providing me with an eARC of What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

About the Book

UnbreakableWhat Unbreakable Looks Like

by Kate McLaughlin
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: June 23rd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

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.


5 Stars

!! Trigger Warning !! 

Sexual Assault, Abuse, Drug Use, PTSD, Language

This is a heart-wrenching story of survival, finding love and trust in others, and learning to let go of the past in order to build a new future.

Lex has been a victim of human trafficking and now she finds herself walking the halls of her high school while trying to avoid reminders of her past life. When her “boyfriend” forces her into a situation she thought she’d never be in again she has to decide whether to let him get away with it or to speak up.

Lex doesn’t trust anyone, especially men, but with the support of her loving aunt and uncle, a therapist, and friends Elsa and Zack she may be able to find peace with her past and move forward by holding those who took from her, physically and mentally, accountable.

This novel was difficult at times to read. Kate does not sugar coat the experiences these young girls go through. You’ll find the content to be very real and in your face but to me that is what is important about Lex’s story. The novel goes back and forth between the past and present as Lex tries to navigate how to get through all the abuse she endured. I think that showing Lex going through therapy brings a positive light on mental health such as PTSD. She doesn’t see herself as a victim in the beginning but as you keep reading you see all the progress Lex makes and how she transforms into a beautiful and strong survivor.

If you struggle with the deeper issues, like human trafficking, than I wouldn’t recommend this to you, but if you really want to feel something and learn about the aftermath of being forced into such a situation than I would recommend this one.

About the Author

KM 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. What Unbreakable Looks Like is her debut novel.


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