My Book Review: Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Unspeakable Things

Author: Jess Lourey

Year of Publication: 2020

Plot: A coming of age story of one 12-year-old named Cassandra on a path to survive in an adult world that haunts her. In her small town of Lilydale young boys are being raped and molested. She wants to find out who is doing this all the while striving to be a child in a nightmare filled world controlled by real human monsters.

My Review and Thoughts:

This is a deep disturbing coming of age story with a complex intensity of depravity and the very recesses of what true human monsters are. Lourey creates a brutal tale that truly keeps you intensely hammered to each page. The total destructive nature of the adults in this book leaves you feeling dirty, nasty and wanting to take a shower, better yet to unthink the things that your main character Cassandra who is a 12-year-old girl lost in a wave of darkness and inhumanity all tied into one.

What makes this such a unique and brilliant story is that it’s a suspense adult tale yet with the narration of your main character who is 12 years old. An adult book told through the eyes of a child, which gives a lasting impression upon your mind as this 12-year-old girl brutally experiences the darkness of adulthood. Her fears of human monster’s bleed inside you and gives you an uncomfortable feeling of nightmares come true.


I understood then that he was rotting from the inside, a jack-o’-lantern left outdoors after a hard frost. He was a man who fed his dark, and it had grown so ravenous that only entire bodies could satisfy it.

The adults in this book are truly scary, truly frightening. You can’t help but fall in love with Cassandra and yet feel so lost with her. You feel her nightmares. You feel her intense struggle to survive this adult nightmare around her. The book gets inside the very pores of your body. It makes you want to sweat. It feeds off your imagination. It hints at things that makes your mind run wild. Your mind figures out the disturbing darkness of sexual depravity and horrible actions at the hands of mothers and fathers. Cassandra is a child lost in an adult world that bombards her everyday life. From drugs, incest, swinger parties, sex, horrible and I mean utterly horrible adults all meld together to open the very idea of human hell.

The suspense is overshadowed with a narrative of a child. Her struggle and her understanding of things create a sorrowful reality to this young girl’s life. This whole book is truly something to experience. It’s so different from most all coming of age stories. For one it’s a girl, for seconds it’s an adult book told through the eyes of a child. I felt disturbed and truly nasty in parts of this book. It’s a true shame to think that this stuff is logical and happens. There is a real sense of child abuse in this story yet the child abuse on Cassandra is not physical its all mental, all nightmarish. Her life is built around fear.

If I had to pick out one negative reality to the book is sometimes the use your imagination idea does not work. I felt there where certain parts that needed to be explained more without you having to rack your brain and solve the reality taking place. For instance (not really a spoiler) was the one kid raped, did he go to the hospital, and if he was raped why the hell was he at school the next day, which makes no sense, so there are spots that just didn’t come together logically. But with that said it is still a small reality, not taking anything away from the great over all conclusion of the book.

Lourey is a master storyteller, mixing a childlike wonder into a destructive nature of human adult disaster. Lourey knows how to create personas on page. She gives you characters that you see, feel, and most of all be intensely drawn to them. The book flowed with a complete completion. I was left satisfied and horrified at the same time. I now know what true monsters really are and can be about. Lourey gives you the deepest, darkest emotional monsters of human nature hidden behind the ideas of mothers, fathers, neighbors. I have become a true fan of Lourey. I have become an instant fan of her writing. This is my first book by Lourey, and I have to say it will not be my last. She gained an instant fan.

Would I Return to Again? This is a darkened book that truly plays with your mind. I truly could see returning to this, yet I would have to reset my mind to experience darkness of a humankind. I also will read and return to this author because she truly knows how to create a book, this was a lasting book. A darkened book that brutalizes the imagination and makes you think what the truth is.

Would I Recommend:  Absolutely. This is a book that demands to be read and experienced. It’s a book that should be read and talked about and discussed in a group setting. This would make a great Book Club reading together. There is so much I wanted to discuss with someone after finishing it.

My Rating: 4 out 5

Four Final Words: Brutal Clarity. Intensely Woven.