Ava Beckinsale tells her parents she wants to be a personal trainer, but what she really wants is to become an MMA fighter. They don’t approve of either. Ava is also in love with her best friend since childhood, Jasmine. They try to hide their love, but they get caught, and all hell breaks loose. Jasmine’s parents take her far away, and Ava’s send her to a doctor (and I use that term loosely) to “cure” her. Needless to say, he does more harm than good. Ava leaves home and moves in with her friend, Reuben, and his husband, Chris. Together they agree to train Ava and get her ready to pursue her dreams and get into the cage.
Along the way, there are battles outside the ring Ava will have to fight…some for her very life.
You guys…I have no words. Well, I mean…I have words, but I’m telling you, Unbroken left me speechless. I read it straight through until it was finished (at 3:30 am), and when I got to the end, I realized I wasn’t breathing. It was so amazing, I’d sucked in my breath and held it until the final period. I’m not kidding. There were goose bumps and tears, and I very nearly woke my sleeping husband because I had to tell somebody about the incredible reading experience I’d just had. I’ve actually been thinking about how I was going to write this review since I closed my Kindle cover. I want to gush. I guess I’m already gushing, but I feel like I’ll give too much away if I keep going on the way I am. Unbroken is a book that must be savored for the brilliant story it is, and I don’t want to spoil it for anybody.
Let me start by telling you I don’t consider Unbroken to be a “lesbian romance.” Instead, it’s a story where the main character is a lesbian. It’s known from the very beginning, as the book begins with Ava kissing Jasmine. It’s also the way we’re introduced to the “doctor” her parents bring her to and Ava leaving home rather than having to return to that horrible man. It’s mentioned every now and then, but as much as being a lesbian influences the woman Ava grows into, it takes a back seat to every single thing that brings Ava closer and closer to her dream.
I feel as if Unbroken is a roller coaster ride. It’s fast paced, exciting, and a little nerve wracking. The author has a great writing style. The story just flowed and there were no dull spots. The action grows and grows until the incredible climax (Have I used “incredible” already?). It’s like I was right there with Ava as she lives her life…training, fighting, and training some more. The fight scenes are nicely detailed. It’s obvious Aaron Speer watched a lot of MMA fights and did quite a bit of research. However, the descriptions don’t go over the top as to be overwhelming. The right balance has been achieved because I’m able to see the images in my head without having ever seen a cage fight myself.
An interesting thing about this book is how it evolves. At the beginning, it’s a story about Ava and Jasmine. Then it becomes a story about Ava, Reuben, and Chris. The main body is truly Ava’s, and we also get to witness what happens with Jasmine, as well as Reuben and Chris on their own. Also, I can’t forget about Veronica Nash…Ava’s idol and most dangerous opponent. Don’t be intimidated by this. It’s not at all difficult to follow. I have to say, I’m very impressed with the author’s skill in creating a whole universe in the course of 300 pages. Every character is compelling and, by the end, I feel as if I actually know them.
There are a few background characters that are memorable. They fill their roles perfectly, and those roles are the villains. Ava and Jasmine’s parents are very religious and are devastated to discover their daughters are lesbians, and how they handle it is, quite frankly, disturbing. Next, we have Doctor Van Gould who “treats” Ava. He’s convinced her parents he can “cure” her and make her heterosexual. His methods are terrifying, and I feel sick to my stomach simply by writing about him. Finally, there is Adam, Jasmine’s husband. Again, we have another toxic man. What he puts Jasmine through can only be described as evil. As I said, all of these people are vital to the story without being considered main characters.
That’s it. I’m not going to give you anything else. I’m once again going to remind you that on the way to the end, I forgot to breathe. It’s tense and, well, mind blowing. And the epilogue? Genius! It’s the perfect way to end this book.
I HIGHLY recommend Unbroken. It’s fantastic, and it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year…maybe ever. Ava will be with me forever, both in my mind and heart. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.