Freedom Series

Young Adult - Romance
312 Pages
Reviewed on 03/09/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I love to read and write, and eat way too many peanut butter M&Ms while I do both.

I write across genres in the young and new adult age categories.

My young adult novel, "Unspeakable," not only received the five star seal at Readers' Favorite, but also a Crowned Heart from InD'tale magazine.

I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now reside in a sleepy suburb of Houston, TX were I'm currently working on the next books in the Freedom Series.

Finally, I love to hear from readers, authors, book bloggers, and anyone in between. So drop me a note. :)

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite

In Unspeakable, the first book in the Freedom series, by Michelle K. Pickett, Willow is beautiful, smart, has awesome friends, and is dating Jaden, captain of the football team and most popular guy in school. It can’t get any better than that, right? Looks can be deceiving. She has kept a horrible secret from everyone and when someone finds out, this person uses it against her and makes her feel like a prisoner. If she doesn’t do what he says, he will tell everyone. Then Brody comes into her life. He affects her in a way she never thought possible. She finds herself falling for him but is scared to take things further and leave Jaden. Now she has to figure out if Brody and the life she could have with him is worth risking it all.

This just became my new favorite book. I’m not exaggerating. And I am officially sleep-deprived because of this book. Staying up until 5 in the morning because I can’t bear the thought of going to sleep without knowing what happens to fictional people is not a consistent habit of mine. I loved Willow. Her obsession with caffeine, her sarcastic T-shirts, and the fact that she’s both tough and vulnerable make her such a unique character that you can’t help but root for her. She is going through the unimaginable at both home and school, and throughout the book, you hope she finds the strength to stand up for herself. And then there’s Brody. Oh, Brody. Before Brody, Willow was just going through the motions, counting down the days to graduation when she could escape, but after meeting him, she begins to feel alive and yearns to truly be happy and feel loved.

I give kudos to Michelle K. Pickett for not only creating such amazing characters, but also for portraying such a realistic relationship. The pace was perfect, and the gradual buildup from annoyance with each other to friendship to something more was flawless. While the story does tackle some serious issues, it goes to show how real this book really is. If you’re anything like me, you’ll smile from ear to ear, cry uncontrollably, practically scream with excitement, and want to do unthinkable physical harm to some characters in the book. Unspeakable is an absolute must-read, and I will be impatiently waiting for the rest of the series. Thank you, Michelle K. Pickett, for writing such an incredible book.

Jack Magnus

Unspeakable: Freedom Series is a young adult contemporary romance written by Michelle K. Pickett. Willow has been going out with her boyfriend, Jaden, since they were sophomores. At first he was kind and attentive, but now he's abusive and controlling. Jaden doesn't let her out of his sight, and their relationship is something she'd love to end. Her home life is no better. Ever since her mom married Ralph, he's been physically abusing Willow. She's gotten adept at wearing long sleeves even in the summer to hide the bruises that her step-father and Jaden inflict on her. Jaden's promised that he'll reveal her mother and Willow's secret if she ever leaves him, and she can't let that happen. One night, after the football game, Jaden's treatment of Willow is noticed by the new guy in school. His name is Brody, and something about him makes Willow's heart sing, even if she's determined to never let him know it.

Michelle K. Pickett's young adult contemporary romance, Unspeakable: Freedom Series, is powerful and intense, and one of the best novels I've read in quite a while. Pickett's young heroine is courageous and self-sacrificing, and she tells herself to breathe and be patient, but the abuse she suffers at the hands of her boyfriend and step-father has her repeatedly going to the hospital and wearing clothes that hide the bruises. This romance is heady and beautiful at times, but the harsh reality of domestic violence is a driving message throughout the story in Unspeakable. Each beating gets more violent, and I began to wonder if Willow would survive the next attack by her step-father. Pickett's handling of this very serious issue is competent and sensitive, and her story-telling skills are superb. I was profoundly affected by Unspeakable: Freedom Series and will be looking for other works by this author. Unspeakable: Freedom Series is most highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Unspeakable is a young adult novel by author Michelle K. Pickett and the first book in the Freedom series. It chronicles the life of Willow, a teenager whose life appears ordinary from the outside, but whose psychological state is slowly deteriorating over a secret she’s been keeping for a very long time. Viewed as a pretty prize by her all-star boyfriend Jaden, Willow is controlled by those, like him, who know her secret, to save herself from the perceived humiliation of the truth. What follows is a tale of mental abuse, the power of good friendships, and a clever observation of the culture of silence surrounding people who may be in dire need of help.

I’m not a huge fan of YA books that follow the tradition of housing a cast of unrealistically beautiful people, but in the case of Unspeakable, this vision works. The glossy, seemingly perfect exterior of the lives of Willow and her friends serves to highlight the sinister undercurrent to the plot, juxtaposing idealised beauty against the ugly truth of life. Michelle K. Pickett has created a frustrating read in the sense that the reader, like many of the novel’s characters, knows what’s happening to Willow because of her secret, but no one is brave enough to step in and help. Romance fans will find all the ingredients of new love in this well-written novel, and readers who are interested in characters with hardships need look no further than Willow, who makes many of the foolish mistakes that victims do in real life. An interesting and compelling read.

Heather Osborne

Unspeakable by Michelle K. Pickett is a young adult novel about a young girl suffering in controlling and abusive relationships. Willow Rutherford appears to have an idyllic life. She’s dating her high school’s star football player, Jaden, and excelling in all her classes. What people do not see is the horrific abuse she suffers at home at the hands of her stepfather, Ralph, and the controlling nature of her boyfriend. Jaden and Ralph hold a terrible secret over Willow’s head and threaten that if she reveals what’s happening to anyone, they will tell everyone. Then, Brody Victor starts at her school and Willow finds herself falling hard and fast for the new guy. Can she get up the courage to break the cycle of abuse and finally come to terms with the dark secret in her past?

Miss Pickett’s novel is definitely intense. Although it is classed as a book for young adults, I am not quite sure the material is suitable for teenagers. I feel strongly about advocating against domestic violence and abuse, but I felt parts were too graphic, even for me. I would recommend a warning at the beginning about the level of violence. Aside from that, I found the story pretty captivating. I will admit, I was disappointed at the ending and what the “big secret” was, but I cannot fault the writing style and the way the author conveyed her characters’ emotions. Unspeakable is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it carries a powerful message that no one should suffer abuse silently.

Samantha Coville

Secrets make and break lives, relationships, reputations, and futures. Willow, for example, is the image of the perfect teenage life in high school. She's from a well off family, she is liked by everyone who knows her, and she's dating one of the most popular guys in the school. The world sees Willow as someone to envy; a life of rainbows and butterflies and smiles. But that's not the case. In Unspeakable by Michelle Pickett, Willow has been hiding a secret, and a dangerous one at that, and someone has found out. When used against her, it'll tear her down piece by piece until she is nothing but a hollow shell. If she can make it to graduation, she'll be fine...until he arrives. He's different, special, and treats her like a real emotional human being. She wants him with all her heart, but can she expose him to her life of lies?

Michelle Pickett has learned her craft well and put it to good use in Unspeakable (Freedom Series). The character stereotypes that we love and crave are all present here in a story we know so well that we just kind of glide through at an easy pace. It's romance to make your toes tingle. But, it is stereotypes and known story lines. There's no ground breaking work here. But, maybe we don't really truly need that. Not every reader likes change and Pickett has presented us with a tale that we can relax and take in. And once you know the secret, you'll be hooked. Just don't share it with anyone else! Let them be just as surprised as you!