Series: The Freedom Series, Book 1
Author: Michelle K. Pickett
Published: February 10th, 2015
Genre: YA Mature Contemporary Romance
Content Warning: Abuse, adult language, non-explicit sexual situations, and mild drug use
Age Recommendation: 14+
“Breathe. No one will break me. I’m strong. Breathe. Just breathe.”
On the outside, Willow appears to have it all. She’s beautiful, smart, from an influential family, and she dates the most popular guy in school—Jaden. But she would walk away from it all in a second. Willow is tormented by lies and suffocating guilt, not the hearts and flowers people believe her life is full of.
She carries a dark secret. Plagued by nightmares and pain, the secret dominates her life. If she hadn’t walked away. If she had just…but she didn’t. And now she has to live with her choice. But when someone uncovers her family’s past, they use it against her, crushing her spirit little by little. She tells herself she just has to make it to graduation. Then she can leave Middleton, and her secret, far behind.
When Brody transfers to Cassidy High, he turns Willow’s life upside down. He shows her what it feels like to live again, really live. And suddenly, she isn’t satisfied with just surviving until graduation. She wants a normal life—with Brody—and he wants her. But the closer they become, the more it threatens to unravel the secret she’s worked so hard to hide.
Willow finds true love with Brody. Will she let his love save her, or walk away from him to keep her secret safe?
Review by Maribel
This is one of those books. The kind of book which reels you in like a fish on a line. I was skeptical about this book in the beginning, mostly because I have read many books with a similar synopsis as this one. First thing that came to my mind was, "Oh no. Not another book where the heroine acts like her world is crumbling around her and it really isn't." But this book isn't like that at all. Unspeakable is a book showing the darker sides of life, a side not many people talk about. It's about betrayal and loss of trust in someone who should have protected you; it's about trying to deal with the cards life has given you, even if the burden is not yours to carry.
I was hooked from the first page. It's not a predictable plot, and when you think, "Yes, finally she gets a break!" it's only to be shoved back into the storm and ripped apart into a gagillion pieces. The main character, Willow, is relatable and likeable, and I wished at times I could have jumped into the book and given her a hug when the person who was supposed to help her didn't. Not many books get to me like this one did, and I think it's because I have known people who have been in Willow's situation.
There were only two issues (and a couple more teensy, tiny issues) that I had with this book. One was the character of Tim, one of Willow's friends. Though he is mentioned throughout the book and is given dialogue here and there, he felt more to me like a filler character. I would have liked to see him given a bigger role in helping Willow, like Jenna does throughout the book.
My second issue is certain stereotypes that made an appearance in this book. Specifically, it was the portrayal/description of the football players and cheerleaders that bothered me. I know a lot of fiction portrays jocks as dumb and cheerleaders as airhead bimbos, but that's not something that flies with me. Being stereotyped in real life is bad enough and I think it would be nice if it could be left out of books, as all it does is foster those negative stereotypes in real life.
There are some things that I noticed were left unresolved, but I hope since this is described as being the 1st book of a series that the issues are resolved/answered in later books.
Overall, this is a heart-wrenching read, and was docked a platypire for issues mentioned above. I'll be looking for the second book whenever it becomes available. Also, there is a prequel novella to this book available on Amazon, called Finding Willow.
Finally, I give this book 4 out of 5 well deserved Platypires.
She was well-developed and three-dimensional as well. Because the book is told from her perspective, we really got to know her and the thoughts and fears she had as the story continued. If there's ever a character that not only needed but completely deserved happiness, it was Willow. She had a jerk of a boyfriend in Jared, who I definitely wanted to strangle on a number of occasions. I didn't really care that much for her mother either, not to mention her stepfather (another character I wanted to slap). She sees and knows what's going on, but really doesn't say anything and prefers to remain in the background most of the time, so as not to rock the boat. Then again, she was forced into a very bad situation, and I think she was a victim of circumstances.
And Brody? What can I say about him? He walks into her life one evening after a football game, and there was no doubt who the better match for her was. I loved the relationship that formed between the two, and the fact that he treats her the way a boyfriend should treat his girlfriend. I'll also state there were plenty of times when I had the feels because of what was going on, and while I didn't tear up, this book certainly evoked emotions as I read it.
This is the first in a series, and I'm interested to see how it continues. My rating is 5/5 platypires.
I was lying across my bed, working on my calculus, when my phone chimed. I grabbed the phone off the table next to my bed and smiled.
BRODY: whatcha doing?
ME: calc. you?
BRODY: same. wanna talk?
My phone rang just a few seconds later. “Hello?”
“Hey,” Brody said, his voice sliding over me like velvet rope. It caressed me as it squeezed the air from my lungs.
“Hi.” I cringed when my voice came out all squeaky and breathy. “When you asked if I wanted to talk, I thought you meant texting.”
“Oh. Sorry, we can hang up and just text.”
“No! No, it just surprised me when the phone rang. So, what did you want to talk about?” I asked him.
“What are you wearing?” he whispered.
He laughed loudly into the phone. “I’m kidding, Willow,” he said when his chuckles faded.
“Oh, you were kidding? I was totally gonna to tell you if you told me…” I let my words trail off.
I heard him inhale. “Um, I think we need to move on to safer, more friend appropriate topics.”
I laughed. “Okay, you pick the topic.”
“Do you have a TV in your room with satellite?” Brody asked.
“Good. Turn to channel 235.” I flipped to the channel Brody suggested. “Oh, I’ve wanted to see this movie.” I pulled the blankets back on my bed and slipped under them, bunching the pillows behind my back.
“Good, I haven’t seen it yet either. We can watch it together.”
“Are you in bed?” I asked.
“Yeah.” His voice came out huskier than normal. “This is new. It’s kinda fun. Only, there’s one thing missing,” Brody murmured.
“It is fun. What’s missing?”
“You. I wish you were here, not there.”
“Oh.” I wasn’t sure what to say. I was glad he couldn’t see me because I was grinning like a fool. “Look. That’s just cheesy,” I said.
“It’s a movie about zombie aliens. I think we passed cheesy a long time ago. Oh, look at her. Now we’re getting somewhere.”
“You’re such a perv.”
“What? I’m a guy and she’s hot. If she’s going to walk around naked, I’m gonna look and appreciate the fine job God did assembling her.”
“Ugh. Whatever.” I rolled my eyes.
“Stop rolling your eyes.”
“Yes, you did. I heard it in your voice,” he said with a laugh.
“Oh! What do we have here? It’s the male species joining the bimbo in the shower. Mmm, he’s nice to look at. Great butt.” I sighed.
“Now who’s the perv?”
“Me. I never said I wasn’t.”
Brody laughed. “Good to know.” He cleared his throat, and his voice was a little huskier than normal when he said, “Love scene.”
Our easy teasing ended while the television played a very hot love scene—how it got only an R-rating was a miracle. I watched it on my television, hearing the moans and sighs from Brody’s television echoing through the phone. Awkward.
I could hear every breath Brody took. I could tell when his breathing sped up. I heard the small groan he made and the rustle of blankets and I wondered what was making him uncomfortable, the love scene or watching it with me on the other end of the phone.
“You want to know a secret?” I whispered.
I should stop talking now. Shut up! Shut up!
He sighed. “About you? Always.”
“I really do want to know what you’re wearing.” I bit my lip, waiting for him to say something. The sounds of the love scene still filtered through the phone.
“Mm. You’re making it very difficult for me to keep things G-rated between us,” he murmured.
“I know. I feel the same.”
“Fight scene. Ooh, did you see that arm fly across the screen?” Brody asked a little too loudly.
Finally. That love scene was killing me. I never thought I’d be so happy to see arms and legs blown off.
About the Author
Red Bull or Monster Khaos are her coffee of choice, and she can’t write without peanut butter M&Ms and a hoodie. A hopeful romantic; she loves a swoon-worthy ending that will give her butterflies for days. She writes across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups. She loves to hear from her readers.
Michelle signed her new young adult contemporary novel— Unspeakable, with Clean Teen Publishing in 2014.
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