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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.

Unbreakable (Unbreakable, #1)

Unbreakable (Unbreakable, #1) - Rebecca Shea Unbreakable is a unique, beautiful, and emotional debut novel from Rebecca Shea. Shea does something very unusual and risky here, and she pulls it off amazingly well: she starts her novel with what seems like a happily-ever-after situation, the kind we usually get at the end of a book. Our two point of view characters, Jess and Gabe, have lived across the street from each other their entire lives, and Gabe’s parents are like surrogate parents for Jess as well. As Jess and Gabe have grown older, their friendship has blossomed into something more, and they get together very quickly at the beginning of Unbreakable. It’s clear that Jess and Gabe have a strong, once-in-a-lifetime connection, and while they do face some struggles—Jess’s dad has always chosen work over his daughter, and Gabe seems to be heading in the same direction, though he does have a good reason—their relationship is a pretty idyllic one. This should make for painfully dull reading—after all, it’s conflict that keeps us turning pages—but instead I found this beginning sweet and sexy, yes, but also unbearably suspenseful, because I just knew the other shoe was going to drop.And when it did, it was so much worse than I expected. The author did an amazing job of depicting a terrible trauma and the way it can totally change a person, and his or her world, overnight. The trauma in Unbreakable was treated with depth, seriousness and responsibility, and was never just a plot device. The way post-trauma Jess couldn’t help but sabotage herself and the people she loves was heartbreakingly realistic.The author also adds a third point of view in the second half of the novel, and while this character is someone readers should dislike or at least be distrustful of, Shea manages to make him more likeable and layered as the story goes on. This character is getting his own story, Undone, and now that I’ve read Jess and Gabe’s story, I can’t wait to read Landon’s story next!