What Unbreakable Looks Like

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jun 2020

Member Reviews

A brutal, unflinching look at a subject which doesn't seem to get enough attention - human trafficking.
A hard read, emotionally challenging, but worth it. It felt like the author did her research so as to be able to write Lex/Poppy's story as realistically as possible, and shine more light on a subject which desperately needs it. 

This is my honest, uncompensated review. Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing the review copy.
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*Disclaimer: I have not been/do not know anyone who has been trafficked. This review is my opinion only.* 

I really liked this story because it gives insight into some of the challenges that are faced after someone is rescued from being trafficked. I loved the relationship that Lex was able to develop with her aunt throughout the story. This story was a tough one to read and know that this stuff (and worse) actually happens, but it was a good story about how things can change for the better. It is a book I would recommend as long as you are prepared for it, but it is definitely not for everyone.
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4.5 stars 

First there are a lot of trigger warnings for this book. This book contains human trafficking, rape, sexual abuse, pedophilia, talk of suicide, suicide and violence. The author mentions this at the beginning and I really like that! A book that comes with trigger warnings. 

This was a hard book to get through. I had to put it down a few times. Some of the things that Alexa goes through is just horrifying. What makes it even worse is that this actually happens in our world! Young girls and boys are tricked into trafficking and it’s just so horrible!! 

This is a story about Alexa, she is rescued from a human trafficking situation and is lucky to be able to go home with her aunt. At the beginning we see how Alexa struggles to even live a normal life and how the mind of a person that has gone through this trauma thinks. She feels she doesn’t deserve any kind of love or to have people that care about her. Things happen to her while she is supposed to be safe and healing and it just made me so upset! This is a strong story and an important story! It really touched my heart because this kind of thing happens and we should all be preventing it from happening and being there for each other. 

I totally recommend reading this book and I am very thankful for the opportunity of reading this before it comes out. As long as you are in the right head space to read then definitely do it!
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What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin tells the unflinching self-narrated story of Alexa and the aftereffects of human trafficking on a young person's life.

I loved this book in its entirety and am so happy to have gotten the chance to read it early. Lex as the narrator was raw and honest in her experiences with the sex trade and it was fascinating to see her integration back into society after such a horrible experience. Her supporting characters and also, her own strength, gave the book the hopefulness it needed in order to make this so much more than just a cautionary tale. I love that McLaughlin focused her story on someone who made it out on top as, like the reader learns, most who are human trafficked aren't as fortunate. This subject matter is so relevant and I'm glad to know that people will be reading (and learning) more about it in the coming months through this novel once it is widely released.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin in exchange for my honest review.
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This book deals with human trafficking and sexual assault. I was impressed by the way it managed to be both realistic and informative whilst appealing to young adults.
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OMG this book! It was absolutely amazing and so heart wrenching. I can count on one hand the amount of books that have made me cry, this one had me sobbing. It's so well written it feels real. It's such a powerful story of a teenager who was trafficked. It deals with trafficking, slut shaming, bullying, and assault. It's a must read book that should be discussed.

I could feel how unsure and distrustful Lex was of everyone around her after she was rescued and my heart broke for her. Krys is exactly the kind of person she needed after what she went through. Krys and Jamal were patient and supportive and did everything to help Lex as she learns she deserves more.

I love the support Lex got, from the detective to her teachers to her new friends. Her support system was fantastic. Elsa is exactly the kind of friend every girl needs; she's always there for her and stands up for her, always patient and understanding yet will give a little tough love when needed. Zack is the absolute perfect boy for someone who's been through something so traumatic. He sees her for who she is and has such a strong moral compass, he's amazing.

Her journey was rough, painful, and raw but Lex proved that she is unbreakable. I can't say enough good about this book to give it justice and I can't recommend it enough.
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What Unbreakable Looks Like 
By Kate McLaughlin
St. Martins Press
Wednesday Books
Publishing Date: June 23 2020
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
E-ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

“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.”

What Unbreakable Looks Like is a unflinchingly raw tale of the aftereffects of what human trafficking looks like. Im not going to lie, this novel was heartbreaking. Knowing that this story is a fictional story of what happens to so many teens and young adults all over the world is disturbingly sad. However, Lex’s journey of hope and reclaiming her power and story is a story that needs to be told. 

Disclaimer: There are very sexually graphic parts of this novel. There are many trigger warning that come with this book so please be aware of that before starting it. 

I cant explain how beautiful and heart wrenching this book is. I absolutely loved it and really feel that more people should be talking about it. I come from a community where young girls (and boys) are very vulnerable to becoming trafficking victims. Lex can not only be a cautionary tale for these young people, but also a story of hope and resilience. The way McLaughlin explains Lex’s inner thoughts and feelings without having the reader inflict judgment on her is brilliant. Another thing McLaughlin does so well is show how the journey of recovery isn’t easy or linear. There are ups and downs and peaks and valleys for Lex. And her journey is so beautifully heartbreaking. 

I would highly recommend this novel for the youth of today as well as adults. The more a light is shined on this horrific world, the more we can do to prevent it. I applaud McLaughlin for crafting a novel as timely as this one. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.
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Wow….what a ride! This book covers very serious topics like sex trafficking, rape, prostitution, and drug abuse. But despite the heavy topics, this book is very enjoyable to read. I really like how the author didn’t try to sugar coat what had happened to Lex, but at the same time had her be hopeful of her future.

Lex used to be your typical teen till she got sucked into sex trafficking by her much older boyfriend who then placed her in a motel for prostitution purposes. When the police find her, she’s unable to think that her life could possibly get much better as she feels she’s damaged goods. And just when she starts to feel better about her new life with her aunt and uncle, something equally harrowing as her past occurs once more, she’s sexually assaulted by five of her peers at school.

But this time Lex doesn’t back down. She stands up for herself and wishes to take down those who did her wrong. I think this book explores very dark topics but does it with so much poise and dignity that you can’t help but root for Lex and her journey.

This is a very timely novel and I recommend this for both adults and teens to read. Lex is a beacon of hope and light in a world that can too often be the darkest shades of black.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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Really loved this book! There needs to be more books that deal with this topic. I feel like there aren't many dealing with human trafficking. I love the main character and how strong she is and is able to love people again with a little help.
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This was a difficult but fantastic read.  I connected immediately and felt deeply for the characters in this book, I cried as well.  Living near to where this tale unfolds brought me in even farther and I couldn't put it down.  It's raw and powerful and I think it's so well written.  My heart broke a few times.  I would recommend this book (and might suggest is to my book club) and I would read more from this author without hesitation.  Thank you for the opportunity to read this advance copy and to offer my opinion.  I didn't find any errors and I didn't find anything that deterred from the story.
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It has been a few days since I have read this, and I still don’t know how to write my review for this. I keep thinking about it and how stuff like this happens all the time and how more things need to be done to stop it. 
Lexi is a 16-year-old girl who has red hair and blue eyes. She lived with her alcoholic mother and her boyfriend. Lexi was befriended by there friend Mitch and every time he came around; he would bring her gifts and compliment her. All the attention that she got from him she thought was love even though she was lied to.
To me the most horrible thing about this story and what intrigued me was that Lexi was part of a human sex trafficking ring and her new name was Poppy. All the things that Lexi goes through is horrible I couldn’t even fathom it all. The day comes when he finally gets rescued by a police officer and then moves into a loving home with her aunt. The title of the story is 
When you think of stories about sex trafficking you think that its woman from foreign countries but really its not its from all over the world. And this book should be read by all IMO. even if you think that you might not like it, I still think that it’s a book that describes what happens in that part of the world and needs to be stopped.
The author approached a topic that not many authors that I know would tackle, let alone a YA book about it. I think the author did an amazing job making Lexi a loveable character and making the story feel real like you are right there along with her.
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Wow, this is one of those books that rips your heart and soul out while reading, but also teaches you the disgusting this world possesses!  This is a book that may not be suitable for everyone, as it definitely has themes that are often triggering for some, if you are not triggered by sexual abuse then you should pick this book up.  Be sure to prepare for having your emotions pushed to a point you’d think is impossible.  Well written, characters developed amazingly, and chilling!  A must read for those who can stomach the disturbing darkness within the pages!  A must read; for those who want a look into the dark world of sex trafficking!  
I’ll make sure I buzz this book up on many platforms!
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This is probably one of the most profoundly painful books I’ve read in a decade. I will say that if reading- very in depth descriptions of sexual abuse and trafficking is a trigger to you- you ABSOLUTELY should not read this book. If you can handle it though? This book is very well written and accurate in its portrayals. “Watching” Lex work through her healing is so inspiring. The characters are well rounded and a true representation of the fullness of REAL humans. This book does a great job of exploring how people aren’t perfect, but at the end of the day most are not monsters. I’m thankful to have read this book and gotten to know Lex’s story.
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This was a tough read, but a good one. It has dark themes and heavy storylines, but it's SO worth reading. It blew me away.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Trigger Warnings: Rape, Sexual Assault, Miscarriage, Abuse, Suicide, Domestic Violence & Self Harm.

This book was a whirlwind and the subject matter was very heavy. You hear about the horrors of these online ads that women/men get trafficked through or use at their own volition. This reminds me of the true crime novel I read this year called Lost Girls. It revolved around their disappearances, accounts of their life through friends/family and the finding of their bodies. 

What this book does it show the other side. It shows you the perspective of someone from this situation, the thoughts and feelings one goes through during and after leaving, the struggle of feeling “normal” and accepting themselves to be enough to have a decent life. It’s a book that young adults should read to be aware of the horrors out there, to know what consent is, and know that actions have consequences.

The reason this book did not get the full 5 stars is the writing. The writing felt a little simplistic to me and everything ended wrapped nicely in a bow. As well, scenes were a bit jumpy. One moment she’d be at school then all of a sudden she’s back home with her aunt and you have to go back and re-read a few sentences in case you missed some. 

Something else that I thought this book should have added (note - I received an uncorrected proof before publishing) is resources to contact if a reader or someone they know finds themselves in a similar situation. 

**review posted to blog closer to release date**
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What Unbreakable Looks Like is a well researched novel on sex trafficking. Lex’s story is one of heartbreak and unspeakable horrors. Even though this is a work of fiction, I think Kate McLaughlin’s work will help bring focus to sex trafficking, a subject that hardly anybody seems to be talking about. This wasn’t an easy or fun book to read, and you should take care when reading it, but I also truly believe that everyone should read it and educate themselves about what is happening in our country.
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Thank you so much Wednesday Books, Netgalley, & Kate McLaughlin for early access to "What Unbreakable Looks Like!"

"What Unbreakable Looks Like" is a heartwrenching story of a teenager, Lex, who was lured and groomed into a human trafficking ring. When the ring gets busted, Lex finds herself in a difficult position. What will she do? 

This book is definitely one of my favorite reads for 2019! However it does not come out until June 2020. 

I was literally hooked by the story by the second chapter. The whole storyline was very interesting to me. I had to know if Lex makes it through the difficulties of her life. The friendships she makes were truly some of her lifelines in some of her changes. 

I think Kate McLaughlin did a wonderful job writing about human trafficking. It can be a difficult subject to touch but awareness of this issue is very important. This crime is horrendous and more common that people think. She has definitely gave readers a good inside look of survivors of human trafficking.

I highly recommend this book for teens and adults! It is a beautiful and yet horrifying story that can open a good discussion for a book club.
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What Unbreakable Looks Like
by Kate McLaughlin
Pub Date: 23 Jun 2020
Read courtesy of NetGalley.com

There's a group in my high school promoting the understanding of human trafficking. I think I now understand it more with this book than from the group's efforts alone to educate our community. What Unbreakable Looks Like brought the topic home, literally. I embarrassingly never realized how close to home it could be. Thank you, Kate McLaughlin, for this important story.

At first I was thinking this coverage of the topic was too much for some of my high schoolers, but I was self-censoring. If it could happen to my students, they should be able to read about it. I'm also going to recommend it as a book club title sponsored by the group in my school who have taken on this terrible topic.

What Unbreakable Looks Like is an accessible read. I read it in one day, which shows how well-written and well-told this compelling story is. I made a note at one point in the book at which Alexa (not Poppy) sees a familiar, i.e., threatening, car and speculates who is behind the wheel. McLaughlin deftly uses Alexa's thoughts juxtaposed with the reality of the situation to allow the reader to experience what Alexa experiences. Not once did I feel I encountered a character who did not have a part to play in this story; the characters were real, three-dimensional people. The flow of the story, which flashed back and forth in time, didn't confuse the reader and might have even helped to break the tensions in the action to allow the reader to process the intensities.

I highly recommend this visceral novel to high schoolers who are drawn to social issues or to the YA genre of realistic fiction that includes death, drugs, and disease (which is actually a genre-subsection in my library!) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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This is a book that goes deep into the after life of those were were sexually trafiiced. It shows how our young main character had to cope through what happened to her and how she must adjust to real life now that things are over. Or so they seem. This was a great read.
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Excellent book about sex trafficking in the US and what trauma can do to a person. Beware of triggers:  sex trafficking, rape, domestic violence, suicide, substance abuse.
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