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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.

Unbreak Me

Unbreak Me - Lexi Ryan Wow! Lexi Ryan’s Unbreak Me was so much more emotional and intense than I was expecting. I’ll admit I was a tiny bit taken aback at the beginning because, while this book is marketed as NA and main character Maggie is twenty-one, it really read to me more like a contemporary romance. Which is fine, and once I adjusted my expectations, I was completely on board. Lexi Ryan’s writing is smooth, well-paced and a pleasure to read, and many of her descriptions and imagery in this novel are really beautiful.Unbreak Me is told from three alternating points-of-view, but the story really belongs to Maggie, who has returned to her small hometown after dropping out of college and breaking off an engagement a year earlier. I really liked the use of all three viewpoints, and I felt that seeing the two male perspectives—one from a character who grew up with Maggie, and another from a man who’s getting to know her for the first time—gave us a more complete picture of Maggie’s character. Maggie judges herself very harshly, and I appreciated the chance to get to know her not only through her own thoughts, but through outside eyes. While some reviewers called the relationship between these three characters a love triangle, it didn’t read that way to me—one character was a part of Maggie’s past, the other her future. So even for readers who normally avoid love triangles, I don’t think the romance in Unbreak Me would prove too bothersome.One of my favorite things about this book was the setting: a small, working-class town that’s also home to an elite private college. The often uncomfortable coexistence of “townies” and wealthy college students added a very interesting dimension to the novel, and I felt it was portrayed quite realistically. I was also impressed by the depth of Maggie’s character development. Due to a traumatic incident at the age of fifteen, Maggie is labeled the town “slut,” a label that haunts her and influences her actions and decisions throughout her life. The author did a great job of illustrating how the roles others try to force us into do have a huge impact, even if we know those labels aren’t true. They still become a part of us, and they still hurt. In a way, they often become a self-fulfilling prophecy.Watching Maggie’s transformation throughout Unbreak Me was satisfying, and the romance was definitely swoon-worthy. Unbreak Me is a good choice for readers who want emotional depth along with their angst and romance—and, of course, a happy ending. I received a review copy of this book from ATOMR Tours.