Fear. Protect. Punch. Repeat. Fear. Protect. Punch. Repeat.
After years of bullying and misery, Isabel Johnson is determined that her first year of Gilleford Sixth Form College is going to be different. She's going to reinvent herself as the confident, carefree warrior she's always longed to be. Even if she's secretly terrified the entire time.
Joshua Bugg is a fighter. He throws punches without a second's thought. Being Mr Nice Guy doesn't get you anywhere in life. But underneath the bravado, he hides a horrifying secret.
When Isabel starts asking too many questions, Joshua knows he needs to do whatever he can to keep her mouth shut. She's an irritating bump in his road to freedom. He can't back down. He has to win the fight. He has to survive.
Angela Mack brings you her debut novel I AM UNWORTHY, a powerful story of pain, bravery and love.
Due to it's strong language and violent content, I AM UNWORTHY is recommended for mature readers only.
Plot: While the plot of Mack's novel is simple, it is well executed, with balanced pacing, intriguing development, and vivid scene-building.
Prose/Style: The prose within Mack's novel is powerful and even, while the voices of the individual characters shine and are easily differentiated.
Originality: The storyline is predictable at moments, but Mack's work pulls on the heartstrings of the reader, allowing forgiveness for any lack of originality.
Character/Execution: Both Josh and Isabel jump to life from the pages of Mack's novel. Development of their relationship throughout the course of the novel is exquisite, as they are characters the reader passionately roots for.
Blurb: A brutal depiction of the impact of abuse on a boy, his family, and all the lives he's touched. Written with raw emotion and spectacular ease, Mack's debut is wrought with emotional power - and is destined to break readers’ hearts.
Date Submitted: June 15, 2020
It is a book full of emotion. I was gripped at every chapter. I liked how although the central focus is on Isabel and Josh, the importance of their characteristics and lives weren’t forgotten or lost in a narration of romance. It was a perfect balance of romantic elements and seriousness. It ended on such a cliff-hanger that I am growing more and more impatient to know what happens next. I whole heartedly rate this book 5/5 stars. This is one of the first YA novels that truly capture the essence of the target audience and doesn’t play on stereotypes. Everyone needs to purchase this book July 1st. I know I shall be owning a physical copy to add to my collection!
The book is written in chapters that alternate between Joshua's and Isabel's perspectives, giving us insight into their different lives and the way they're perceiving the moments they're sharing. The writer skilfully moves from moments of sadness and defeat to heartwarming moments to intense fights with ease. The story has a genuine feel to it - these characters and their struggles feel as real and painful as if they were playing out in front of you. I connected with the characters and their psyches - each determined to push on, and though their lives are different their hearts are the same, which I think is what makes their bond so enjoyable and something we really root for. The language is easy to read, familiar and feels a very natural set of perspectives- it is written well from the perspective of teenagers. The description is intense and truly brings the chapters to life.
I did find certain elements of the plot to be slightly repetitive - the frequent abuse, the flaring of anger and Josh constantly pushing Isabel away - however this wasn't a huge issue and instead hammered home these concepts to me as a reader, showing how constant they were in these characters' lives and how deeply engrained these behaviours were. I enjoyed this book and found it an addictive read, and I particularly enjoyed the author's escalation, both in plot and pace, as the book reached its shock ending.
A powerful book about pain, bravery, love, the dangers and burden of secrets and learning to let people in.
An honest, poignant debut…Mack’s deeply moving debut is marked by a cleverly-constructed storyline and elegant prose that will draw readers into its teen protagonists’ world. After years of bullying, Isabel Johnson is determined to start her first year of Sixth Form differently. But facing her malevolent bullies is not easy until the troubled Joshua Bugg steps in to help. As the teens embark on a path of friendship, terrible secrets of Joshua’s life come to surface, changing their lives forever. Mack gradually unravels Joshua’s story, giving readers fair insights into how his relationship with Isabel advanced and how it begins to affect his unsavory home situation and the brothers’ lives. The heart wrenching portrayal of the protagonists’ lives is meant to make readers feel big things, and they will: the story brims with emotion as Mack’s broken characters go through heartache and grief while struggling to find a way to live. Mature YA readers will be rewarded.