I recently read a book called Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton. The book was wonderful and compelling, and quickly entrances the reader in its words.
The biggest thing I noted about the book was the fact that it involved LGBT(+) characters, and LGBT(+) struggles. Living in an age where more and more people are becoming more and more tired of the basic “boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love,” kind of plot, it is always refreshing to find an author who writes LGBT(+) characters, as they do need a lot more representation in anything, really. Media, books, movies, TV shows, and so on. Seeing the LGBT(+) struggles in the book would be wonderfully relatable for LGBT(+) people, who would be thankful to see that they aren’t alone, even if they need to connect with book characters to see so, but that’s fine, too. It’s probably harder to find LGBT(+) books than a , heteronormative one, so I am very glad that this book was written. The two LGBT(+) characters are the main character/s Megan and Jasmine.
The writing is exquisite, and flows very well sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, and chapter to chapter. Since the book is in the point of view of a sixteen year old girl, the writing really shows the character through it, which made it much easier to conform with, in my opinion, since I am also a sixteen year old girl, but I think many other teenagers (or even young adults) would agree. The writing is simple, and good. Relatable, and beautiful.
Throughout the book, there is usually lines of bold text, which is in a different font, and serves the purpose of our main character’s (Megan) darker thoughts. However, I saw the “darker thoughts” a bit deeper. I thought, that perhaps, the resembled something akin to anxiety or depression. People with anxiety or depression usually have thoughts like those I have seen sprinkled throughout the story. So to top it off, not only was there LGBT(+) representation, but also representation for those who may suffer from mentally illness, too. It does not end sourly, Megan gets her happy ending, so I believe this could show the simple message of: Everything gets better. Because it does. It does get better.
The characters are varied, and complex, and mysterious. Our main character, Megan, can’t speak. She is mute. After an incident us readers know very little about as it is hinted at more and more as the story progresses, we start to understand with every passing page why Megan is the way she is. I, especially, became particularly attached to Megan. She is a very lovable character with a past that you wish you could fix for her. You hope that her problems get resolved, and that she is okay. Her life seems to be filled with more downs than ups, and you see how those events take their toll on her and her well-being. She has a secret involving the “incident”, not the best of family situations, and not the greatest school situations, either. You hope beyond hope that she is okay.
Another character, Jasmine, is a mysterious girl who moved to Megan’s small town, and once again, us readers are left in the dark as to why, only being able to latch on to the hints given and speculate beyond what we really see. She is very bubbly and talkative, and easily befriends Megan, who is very much the opposite of her, but they get along very well. Her and Megan’s dynamic is lovely, and surprising. She moved from Cyprus, and loves to tell wonderful stories about the place, and loves to tell Megan just how beautiful it is there.
Another character I really liked was a character named Luke. Luke knows Megan’s secret involving the “incident”, but they are still friends against the rest of the world. He has a dreary family situation, but is still able to smile. However, he is complicated, with emotions that the readers can’t really, well, read. He seems to change suddenly, laugh it off and apologise, and go back to how he was. He has a big secret of his own, and his entire character is wonderfully mystifying, crucial, and massively remarkable.
Another character I really like was a minor character called Callum who we only ever saw as our main characters were waiting for the school bus. We only ever saw him getting bullied for his sexuality, that as far as I have seen was not confirmed. We see Megan (who also got bullied a few times in the story) sometimes giving him small bouts of reassurance, which I really took a shine to. I, while feeling bad for him because he was bullied, really enjoyed the mutual reassurance from both Megan and himself as a dynamic.
Megan’s home life was also an interesting one. Her mother had her when she was about sixteen, and there is little to no mention of the father. However, grandparents were around, which made things all the better, until they passed away. As a new mother, Megan’s mum often got things wrong. She would say the wrong things at the wrong time, or do something wrong at the wrong place, or just generally mess things up. It was difficult to see the relationship be strained by easy mistakes, and I’m sure it was something both parents and teenagers could understand.As a mother with a mute daughter, obviously life is stressful. It shows how stressful communication between a mother and a daughter is, and whether one is mute or not, it envisions the struggle as very real, and very true. Many readers like myself would understand the struggle very personally.
The plot execution was grand. With suspense to match the scene in such a perfect way, as if they were holding hands. The characters thought process is perfect to your own, leading you down the perfect path of the plot.
The plot twist is otherworldly. I was shocked, and couldn’t stop reading until I had finished the book. (At 1am, no less!) It was beautifully executed in a way that turned all the facts I was sure I had known completely on their heads, leaving me to read, and read, and read, until I was sure again. It was wonderfully suspenseful, brilliantly climatic, and amazingly addicting.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is into romance, and mystery, and suspense. I believe it would be a wonderful read to many teenagers and young adults, too. It’s a brilliant book with a brilliant story, fantastic characters and lovely writing.
Unspeakable has been nominated in the Edinburgh International Book Festival, First Book Award, which celebrates the wealth of new writing included in the Edinburgh Book Festival programme. You can vote for your favourite at the link below