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What Unbreakable Looks Like

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  37 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: June 23rd 2020 by Wednesday Books
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PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WHAT UNBREAKABLE LOOKS LIKE by Kate McLaughlin in exchange for my honest review.***

Reading the first page of WHAT UNBREAKABLE LOOKS LIKE, I felt a rare tingle in my stomach letting my know I was reading something special. A few chapters in, I realized WHAT UNBREAKABLE LOOKS LIKE might be one of my all time favorite books.

Kate McLaughlin blew me away with this special, poignant story of Alexa, a teenager trafficked, now living with
Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ❤️
This looks emotional and deep. I just got an ARC and it is now in my TBR.

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
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Her name was Alexa. She was a blue eyed red hair barely sixteen year old virgin. She was surrounded by her alcoholic mother and boyfriend. She was befriended by their friend, Mitch, who visited bearing gifts and flattering compliments. She was shown attention and what she perceived as love. She was manipulated and lied to. She was trapped. She was trafficked. She became known as Poppy and entered a world where sex, drugs, beatings, and abuse were everyday occurrences. But then one day, Poppy was ...more

Superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL

I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do .

Lex was taken – trafficked - and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a
I received a digital arc from netgalley, so here's my honest review:

Cw: abuse, sexual abuse, human trafficking, physical abuse, domestic violence, miscarriage, suicide, self harm, addiction

I'm writing this review, assuming the author is not black, because there's no photo of her on the internet and the underlying racism in this book let's me believe she isn't. Which leads me to think this book is problematic. Our main character, Alexa/Poppy, is a girl who's been trafficked and abused. Which are
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Netgalley + St Martin's Press!

*This YA novel included a warning at the start that it contains graphic content. If sexual abuse / trafficking are topics you do not want to read about, this is not the book for you.

"What Unbreakable Looks Like" is the story of a sex-trafficking survivor - a teenage girl living in Connecticut named Alexa - and how she rebuilds her life the year following her
Andrea Pole
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin is a raw and uncensored look at the world of sex trafficking, and the fictitious account of a teenage girl who has been to hell and back, but somehow manages to come out on the other side. This was a difficult read due to the graphic nature of the subject matter, yet the author adeptly manages to create an empathetic figure in Lex, while at the same time shining a light on the realities, and sheer brutality, of human trafficking.

This is a novel that
Kali Thomas
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 perfect stars!

I finished What Unbreakable Looks Like half an hour ago and I'm still emotional. Going into it, I didn't expect it to hit me this hard. I've gone through a lot of trauma - including sexual assault - and this is one of the first book I've read involving these topics that feels "real".

It was an emotional roller coaster. Lex, the narrator, is a victim and a survivor of sex trafficking. When you think about sex trafficking you might picture girls being kidnapped in foreign countries
Belle Ellrich
Nov 18, 2019 rated it did not like it

I made it through about 7% of this book before I started getting bored.

Firstly, I want to take a moment to point out the pacing of this novel. It's all over the place. And when I say that, I *mean* it. This book started out quick, and it continued on quick. Half of what occurred in the first few chapters didn't even make sense with the pacing that was used, and it really threw me off.

Elle Rudy
Nov 03, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
*Thanks to St. Martin’s Press & Netgalley for an advance copy!
gwendalyn _books_
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like, is a dramatic, raw in your face fictional account of human trafficking. Alexa, is a innocent 16 year old, with red hair and blued girl, who’s home life is dysfunctional. Living with an alcoholic mother and her mothers boyfriend, has made her an easy target. Vulnerable and looking for attention, she attracts a guy who zones in on her. He brings her gifts and feeds into self esteem by complimenting her. All the while he is actually grooming her, and ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The human body's a resilient thing. It heals with very little memory of what's been done to it...The mind that gets twisted and broken."

(a note here: I really want to put a comma after mind in that quote, so I do hope that gets fixed in editing)

Poppy was once known as Lex, and her childhood was less than ideal. So when she's wooed by Mitch, a friend of her mother's boyfriend, it's with stars in her eyes that she follows him and finds herself trafficked and addicted to drugs. The life is
Rebekah Gonzalez
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
***I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

This book tackles a very difficult topic: human trafficking. The book felt very well-researched, and it goes into a lot of detail about how young women (and men) are groomed and eventually coerced into sexual slavery. What I liked about this book is that this process is shown through what happens to Lex, rather than the author simply explaining it. It can be difficult to understand why people fall into these traps, but when
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was asked to review this book and was given a free ARC from NetGalley.

This book is about a girl rescued from trafficking and sex work and how she rebuilds herself afterward. I have a lot of good things to say about this book. Honestly, some of it was difficult to read, but it’s a very difficult, hard-to-digest topic. Parts of this book are fairly graphic, but also represents the stories of those who have been trafficked quite well (based on some of the stories I have read and heard—but
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher by invitation in exchange for an honest review. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email on vacation inviting me to access the ARC. I had limited WiFi so I downloaded the book with little attention to the subject of the book. As there should be with this book, there are trigger warnings at the beginning of the book. Based on the subject of human trafficking, this warning doesn't give anything away. While it is a ...more
Amanda Lee
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Hebridean Reader
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After a neglectful childhood results in 17 year old Alexa being trafficked by a man she trusted, she grows accustomed to the dark and horrific side of humanity. Then she's suddenly rescued and has to figure out how to reintegrate back into society andbegin the process of healing.

What follows is a heartbreaking, emotional and at times harrowing account of Alexa trying to find a way of living with what she has been through, and yet I have no doubt that it barely glances across the reality of
Terina Atkins
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin is an incredibly raw read about a young lady who was formally trafficked trying to assimilate back into the “normal” world of being a teenager. The book is definitely an eye-opener, showing how victims are manipulated into becoming trapped in the horrible world of sex trafficking which has become all too common place. Lexi, or Poppy as she is known in the trafficking world, has been through it all, yet when the police raid the hotel where she has ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
What a beautiful story of resilience and recovery! Alexa is a wonderfully written, fully-fleshed protagonist surrounded by lovable characters who make up her support system. The story is well-paced and is perfectly woven with flashbacks of Alexa's time at the motel.
TW for sexual assault, self-harm/suicide, and addiction.

Huge thanks to Alexis at St. Martin's for inviting me to read this title via NetGalley!

If you liked this book, also read: Jane Anonymous, The Lovely and the Lost, Full
Mark Cofta
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Goodreads and Wednesday Books for this ARC.
I really enjoyed What Unbreakable Looks Like. It's a fast and engrossing read, and author Kate McLaughlin's first-person narrator Lex grows convincingly from sex-trafficked teen "Polly" to a more stable and focused young woman. She draws the supporting characters well, and doesn't hold back on the harrowing details of her life as a sex slave or her difficult re-entry into normal life including the worst: high school -- so much so that while
Nov 23, 2019 added it
Shelves: reviewed, 2k19
I read an ARC of this book through NetGalley.

What Unbreakable Looks Like deals with the emotional aftermath of a girl being trafficked and does a good job exploring her feelings and damaged sense of self-worth. It provides a good template for what supports can help young people recovering from similar situations. One thing that stood out was how consistently horrific it was whenever the main character alludes to her experiences; all too often that would be sensationalized, almost eroticized in
Rachel Finney
Dec 02, 2019 marked it as to-read
Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this beautiful book.

This book is heavy- there's no doubt about it. It touches on difficult topics such as human trafficking, suicide, sexual and physical assault, as well as harassment. It's very hard to read a book about these topics without glamorization or fetishization; however, each subject was treated with respect. While the author doesn't shy away from the events and consequences of human trafficking, I didn't feel like I was reading
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview this ARC of What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin.

When she was rescued from the hotel where she was sex trafficked, she was Poppy. Now she's Lex again and after months of drug use and perpetual abuse, she is expected to re-enter the world and experience normalcy again, but is that even possible? School peers are cruel, the boys even crueler, and the flashbacks are unbearable. Lex acts out and pushes away people that are trying to help
Traci Wilmoth
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was very excited to read this book. One of the topics for my high school students to research for our major paper is human trafficking in the US. I feel that it is an issue that is not discussed enough, so I am very excited that this novel has been written and is coming out. I will definitely have one in my classroom.

The main character, Alexa (Poppy) is not kidnapped overseas, and is not a run away. She is a young lady of an alcoholic and negligent parent whose boyfriend sells her into human
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I do not even know where to start with this review that will do it justice.

First of all, I you have a hard time reading about tough subjects, please do not read this book. While it is not a true story, what happens in it is all too real and prevalent in today’s world.

Lex....what a strong amazing female character. Unlike so many in her position, she overcame her past and what she was put thru.

Zack...everyone who goes thru something traumatic needs a Zack. Someone to be patient with them and let
Jen Juenke
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Grab yourself a hot cocoa, recipe is in the book, and get settled. You are going to need a box of kleenex and a strong stomach to get through this detailed book on sex trafficking.
THIS IS A MUST READ BOOK FOR EVERYONE! Especially teenage girls, their parents, anyone who is around children should read this book...FULL STOP! READ THIS BOOK!
Alexa was groomed as a young adult to fall in "love" with an older man who needed a favor. This favor turned her into a drug addict and led to her being raped
Isabelle N
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve just finished reading “What Unbreakable Love Looks Like” and I’m absolutely stunned. It was so heartbreaking and beautiful and unexpected.

Oh my dear. Lex, how I wished I could have given her a hug or a voice of support as well. Though I know I can do that for someone in my life, in reality.

The way this book was written was done so, so very beautifully and eloquently.

The only challenges I had with it was that there was no clear distinction between time jumps, and the ending — while
Deborah Maroulis
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. In fact, I read it in one day! Lex, the main character, took me through all the emotions. One moment I'm angry at her situation, the next I'm crying for her pain. Most of all, I love how she answers people's questions truthfully in her head then says what she thinks they want her to say.

I've seen a few people comment on how the book jumps around, and it does, sort of. I think the way the ARC is formatted is to blame for the shock between scenes. I'm sure the final structure
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC of this book that I was given in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This book was a gut punch. Hard to read, brutal, the kind of book that makes the mother in me want to hold my kids, the woman in me be a warrior, the teacher in me make sure everyone reads this story. It is incredibly well written and the character of Lex is horribly, painfully authentic. I can't speak on the authenticity of the trafficking angle and Im so, so glad of
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was an emotional roller coaster that everyone will want to ride! Trigger warnings for rape and sexual assault though. I wouldn’t recommend reading it if you’ve been through that. Otherwise this book was absolutely amazing and I couldn’t put it down. The characters were developed really well and the plot was definitely intense. As soon as I finished this book I went ahead and preordered a copy!
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