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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Unnatural Resources is a work of fiction in the drama and social issues subgenres. It is aimed at more mature readers and carries the content warning that the book depicts scenes of sexual assault and torture, which some readers may find upsetting. It was penned by author Mindy Uhrlaub. The book follows the struggle for survival of eleven-year-old Therese and her mother Luna after their Congolese village is raided by a militia group. Using their skill of languages, they must escape slavery and navigate both a dangerous jungle and a melting pot of aid groups to find each other again.
This book was an exceptionally challenging read and not one for the faint of heart, though I in no way wish to discourage readers from picking it up as the subject matter is of great importance and poignancy. While the specific characters in the book are fictional, the traumas they face throughout the story are very real, and author Mindy Uhrlaub should be applauded for the skill and effectiveness in tackling such an unpleasant reality and doing so with such emotional resonance and sensitivity. The violence is never sensationalized or made to appear glamorous in any way; we only see the world through the eyes of victims of that violence and their inspirational refusal to be overwhelmed by it. Overall, this makes Unnatural Resources an essential read for any willing to read about and discuss the subject matter at hand and one that will stay with them for a long time to come.