Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Review: Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan

“If you’re broken, I’ll fix you…”

I’m only twenty-one and already damaged goods. A slut. A failure. A disappointment to my picture-perfect family as long as I can remember. I called off my wedding to William Bailey, the only man who thought I was worth fixing. A year later, he’s marrying my sister. Unless I ask him not to…

“If you shatter, I’ll find you…”

But now there’s Asher Logan, a broken man who sees the fractures in my façade and doesn’t want to fix me at all. Asher wants me to stop hiding, to stop pretending. Asher wants to break down my walls. But that means letting him see my ugly secrets and forgiving him for his. 

With my past weighing down on me, do I want the man who holds me together or the man who gives me permission to break?

I received an ARC from ATOMR Tours.

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.  

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