Blog Tour: What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

I’m so excited to be participating in the Blog Tour for What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin! This recent YA release brings up so many important discussions, and I’m sure it will speak to so many readers, regardless of whether they have gone through the traumas brought up in the book or not.

Please keep in mind that this book discusses and portrays domestic and sexual abuse in addition to numerous other serious topics. If you are sensitive to and/or easily triggered by this type of content, please wait until you are in a better head space to read it. ❤

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.

At the time I’m writing this review, it’s been a couple of days since I finished What Unbreakable Looks Like, and I still haven’t fully processed it. I knew coming into this book that it was inevitably going to hit me hard, but nothing could have prepared me for the gushing waterfall of emotions it made me feel… Future readers, stock up on the tissues, and keep them handy at all times while reading. You’ll need them!

Let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t a story about abuse. It’s a story about the trauma it leaves behind, as well as the many ups and downs that come with the journey to recovery. As readers, we don’t need to witness the horrors Lex, our main character, goes through to empathize with her trauma.

Without spoiling the plot, I want to warn you that this book focuses heavily on child abuse and sexual assault, and it is broken down in the most honest, agonizing ways. There’s also a solid portrayal of how deceptive abusers can be, as throughout the story, we see how Lex’s abuser has completely manipulated her and stripped her of her own identity.

I like how Lex’s story doesn’t end with her being fully “recovered” from the abuse she faced for so many years. After all, that would be completely unrealistic. Instead, it ends with something else: Hope. By the end of the book, though Lex is still scarred from the past, she has hope for a better future with the family and friends she has come to love. Not only that, but she has also reclaimed her identity and taken control of her own life and body, which were such beautiful things to see her do.

To be frank, What Unbreakable Looks Like is not an easy book to read. There’s a lot of shockingly heartbreaking content to get through, and so many parts of the book left me so emotionally drained that I had to put it down for a while. Topics discussed and portrayed are disturbing and sensitive and dark, but they are also real and thought-provoking and honest… Which is why Lex’s story is such an important one to read.

This book is not for the faint-hearted, but it is truly a powerful read. What Unbreakable Looks Like is a phenomenal story, and I know that I will be thinking about it for a long, long time to come.

Four out of five stars rating | Premium Photo

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