Ground left unbroken

Feb. 21, 2015, 11:35 a.m. | By Sarah Trunk | 9 years, 4 months ago

"Unbreakable" brings absolutely nothing new to young adult fiction

This review may contain spoilers.

The concept of supernatural happenings in teen books is not a bad one, even if it is alarmingly common. But "Unbreakable," by Kami Garcia, just doesn't bring anything new. There are demons that have to be hunted and secret societies with secret journals and secret marks. It's not a bad book, but it's not good, either, because nearly every twist and turn of the plot has been done before.

Kennedy Waters is just an average teenage girl. She lives with her mother and her cat in a small house in the D.C. area, and she tries to fit in with her melodramatic friends. But one night she comes home to find her mother mysteriously dead, and everything changes. She meets two brothers who are in the business of supernatural creature slaying, Jared and Lukas. They explain to her that a demon is systematically hunting down and killing members of a secret society, a society to which Kennedy's mom belonged. The brothers, Kennedy and their two friends pack into a car and travel around the country to find a way to entrap the demon.

"Unbreakable," by Kami Garcia, is decent but unoriginal.  Photo courtesy of Geek Girl.

Let's talk about the clichés that this book covers. A main character that's "not like other girls” and totally misunderstood until the inciting incident? Check. That same character has a talent--a photographic memory--that in any other circumstances would be considered a gift but for whatever reason she thinks is a burden until the last minute? Check. A love triangle including one dark/mysterious type and one goofy/friendly type? Check. Miscommunication that leads to betrayal? Check. Making out in dark rooms? Check. A saw-it-coming-from-a-mile-away cliffhanger? Check.

Garcia, to her credit, is able to do all of these things decently well. It is a clichéd plot simply because it's so relatable. Everyone feels like they're misunderstood and different, and obviously teenage girls love unnecessary love triangles, even if they take away from the main character's personality. And though overblown, the plot is stuffed with action and never slows, making for a fast and engaging read.

In addition to the papery, worn-out plot, most of the characters in "Unbreakable" are cardboard cutouts. Sam and Dean— sorry, I meant Lukas and Jared—are twin brothers who are different in many ways but still very attractive, at least to Kennedy. Jared hates himself for doing something awful, so he's broody and dark. Lukas is nice and friendly on the outside, but perhaps less trustworthy on the inside. They're both in love with Kennedy, of course. This is all while they're following in the footsteps of their father, you know, saving people and hunting things, and they have his journal and they live in his car. See: Supernatural. There are two other supporting characters: small, nerdy, non-love-interest-boy tech geek Priest (a staple in any YA team) and the aloof, kickass and beautiful Alara, who obviously is in competition with Kennedy for fame and love, because girls can't be friends. Kennedy herself is a pretty relatable and reliable character, making her a perfect protagonist for this sort of thing. All of these are characters you could find in every other book.

For a supernatural young adult novel, "Unbreakable" is not bad at all. It's a solid B- of a novel. Nothing you couldn't find everywhere else, but a decent enough read.

"Unbreakable" by Kami Garcia is one of the nominees for this year's Black-Eyed Susan Book Award. Silver Chips Online will be reviewing and ranking all of the nominees, so make sure to check back for more reviews.

Tags: Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Kami Garcia Unbreakable

Sarah Trunk. Hello! I'm Sarah, and I'm one of the managing editors for SCO this year. I like writing about things and reading mystery novels. Enjoy our site! More »

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