From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—A victim of serious abuse struggles to navigate her senior year of high school. Willow Rutherford has beauty, brains, and the love of her high school quarterback, Jaden. Underneath the exterior of her charmed life, however, lies a story of severe emotional and physical abuse. Her seemingly perfect boyfriend blackmails her into their relationship by threatening to reveal a damning secret, and her highly regarded stepfather is an alcoholic who supports Jaden's treatment of her, regularly beating Willow into submission. The teen is resigned to her misery until she falls for Brody, the gorgeous and enigmatic new student whose love and attention threatens the façade that Willow has worked so hard to maintain. Willow is a relatable and sympathetic protagonist who grows tremendously throughout the book, but her abusers and love interests exist in such polar extremes that they become immutable caricatures and unconvincing stereotypes. While Willow's story is told slowly, with painstaking detail, for much of the novel, there are large shifts in time that feel extremely rushed and create a jarring effect. Also troubling is the reaction of the main character's community to her frequent hospitalizations, unnoticed by inquisitive social workers and teachers, while Jaden faces no repercussions for punching Willow in full view of students and faculty on school grounds. VERDICT Although Unspeakable admirably tackles a serious and difficult topic, the stylistic flaws and poor characterization fail to create a well-developed story.—Maria Alegre, The Dalton School, New York
"You know those books that make your heart ache, and you wish you could read the last chapter really slowly so it won't end? Unspeakable is one of those...I can't say anything better than Go Read It!" ~Author, Meradeth Houston
Unspeakable is a beautiful tale of the cost we pay to keep secrets for the people we love. Woven with threads of mystery, romance, and suspense, it is a journey, from abuse, to freedom, from fear to courage. Willow's story is as complex as it is rich and decadent, yet somehow, despite the subject matter, remains tender. A must read!
" ~Bestselling Author, Sherry Ficklin"This is one of those books that will hook you from the first page and will hold you there until the very last words. I read A LOT of books and very few grabbed me the way that this one did. I defy anyone that enjoys to read to not find themselves completely captivated." ~ Book Reviewer
"A captivating story with quirky and serious elements that balance to make a breathtaking combination of love and suspense. This book will grab you by the heartstrings and emerge you into Willow's world of sass and secrets. I couldn't put it down. It is definitely one to get your hands on! ~ Beta ReaderA Crowned Heart from InD'tale magazine.
"A YA contemporary novel, "Unspeakable" explores the life of a teen dealing with abuse and what it takes to fight back. Although Willow is strong, it is Brody who really makes the story work. The story's conclusion allows for further development in book two while still tying up loose ends, including revealing Willow's secret which packs a punch itself. Between Willow's secret, her funny shirts, and the heart-wrenching moments between the main characters, readers will not be able to put this book down." Sarah E. Bradleyindtale.com