Perception is everything to sixteen-year-old Olivia Brown. With her freakishly hot boyfriend, volunteer work at the local animal shelter, successful beauty channel on YouTube, and well-earned spot on X Factor Cheer's elite level five Diamond Girl team, Livvie's the girl every other girl wants to be. At least, that's the illusion she's aiming for.
But Livvie's seemingly perfect life is anything but. Lying about the bruises her boyfriend gives her, and cowering beneath his raging temper becomes a regular way of life until she unwittingly witnesses her drunken neighbor beating his step-son, the town bad boy, Reid Tate.
For Reid, vulnerability is the enemy. Opening up, and letting people in gives them the power to disappoint. Growing up with a co-dependent mother and an abusive alcoholic father, Reid has endured all the disappointment he can stomach.
But when his pretty, do-good neighbor witnesses his step-dad beat him to within an inch of his life, and not only call the cops, but keeps quiet at school about what she saw, Reid wonders if maybe, just maybe, he's found someone he can finally trust.
This is the second book in a series, but it could absolutely be read as a stand alone without losing anything.
I knew going in that I’d enjoy it. I loved the first book in the series so much and from the summary, I expected this one to be equally as good. To be honest, it might have been even better. That’s saying something since I rated Ex-Factor as a 5 star read. I started Unbreakable in the evening and literally could not put it out of my hand until I was finished.
Almost from the first pages Unbreakable jumps right into the hard stuff, when Livvie’s is faced with witnessing the violent domestic abuse in house next door. The opening was harrowing.
Sadly, even this doesn’t make Livvie see the simmering dysfunction in her own relationship. Like most victims of abuse, Livvie is being so slowly stripped of her identity and self-worth she doesn’t see it coming when things step up a notch, but Reid Tate, the bad boy next door, does. He’s spent his life up close with an abuser and when he and Livvie are throw together on a school assignment, he wastes no time in telling her so. But is he already too late to help her, and has she left it too late to become the friend to the little boy she saw through the fence on moving day years before?
The author knows her stuff when it comes to cheer and teen girls. It’s easy to see she has plenty of experience with both. She doesn’t shy away from the reality, temptations, and dangers of highschool. Livvie is a nice girl, maybe too nice, because she got in over her head. I was glad to see some of her spirit return, even if she still didn’t recognize how much danger she was in.
This isn’t necessarily a bad boy comes to the rescue story. Reid Tate has so much more to him. There are all sorts of heroes in this book, from the single mom doing her best, the best friend who tries to talk sense, to the girl who finally made the call for someone who couldn’t. I saw a different strength in all of them.
Seriously, you need this book. I can’t wait for more from the diamond girls.