Review: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

May 30, 2014 Book Review, New Adult 11 ★★★★

UnteachableUnteachable by Leah Raeder
Published by Atria Books on March 24th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, New Adult, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
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<p>Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.</p>
<p>But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall.</p>
<p>When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.</p>
<p>That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.</p>
<p>Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.</p>
<p>Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script.</p>

At this point I’ve realized I have an addiction to one-clicking on New Adult titles. I saw Nereyda at Mostly YA Book Obsessed mention she bought this book and within 2 minutes it was on my kindle too.  🙂

Once again one of my favorite kind of romances, forbidden love! A student-teacher type of romance to be more specific and as opposed to other books I’ve read with similar premises, the author really went with it, pushing the boundaries and not shying away from an age gap between our two main characters (ages 18 and 32), truly making this one unique and intriguing read. We really explore the negative aspects of this sort of forbidden relationship that is often glazed over in others and I appreciated the hard truths and realities I found within as well as the romance.

Our main character is Maise. She was quite the cynical girl, but one who knows what she wants and who she is. She had a very real and hard outlook on life, abandoned by a deadbeat dad and living with a junkie drug-dealing mother. She was forced to grow up quick and took on an adult role early on. Surviving on her own is what she knew of life and she was determined to make something of it. Her vice? She enjoys sex and older men. Often times of the much older variety. She calls it having daddy issues. So she has no problem cozying up to an attractive older man she meets at the carnival one night. Someone who seemed to be like her in many ways. They immediately hit it off but she was scared of the instant connection she felt, running away before more than sex could be shared. Of course when school starts she finds out he’s her new teacher.

I found myself so conflicted on the relationship between Maise and her teacher, Evan. Obviously it is not something I would root for in the real world, but on paper I find it interesting to read about. Legally it was on the up and up but from a moral standpoint, not so much. And though the connection was intense and oh so palpable between the two, I also found it very toxic, especially in the beginning. They were stupid and careless. And I was so surprised Evan was so willing to go ahead with any relationship with Maise when he found out she was his student, no hesitation. There were a lot of moments between the two that were sweet and amazing. They both found something in each other that the other needed. A soulmate of sorts. But they also let it get unhealthy and obsessive for awhile. Maise is almost desperate to find love and looking in the wrong places, letting it consume her. Evan seemed to be in love with the idea of being with a young girl. They often played this scenario up when they were together. They got off on the forbiddenness. There is a lot of sex in this book and though it was well-written, I admittedly started to skim a few scenes because it did feel like overkill at times. I only can read so much sex in a single book before it sounds repetitive.

But just because the relationship started off a little obsessive and very unhealthy, something special does develop. Once things are laid out there that need to be, you find two people who connect on such a deeper level. The way the book ended was perfect and beautiful, coming full circle. There are so many other aspects of the book that also worked tremendously for me too. Maise’s maturity in handling the chaos her mother created in her life as well as a few issues she has with other students, friends or not, were very well developed for me and a great addition to her background. Maise was so beautifully flawed a character, and so well written. And on that note, all of the writing was spectacular. I found myself bookmarking a ton of passages as I read. I definitely look forward to further books from this author.

Quotes I adored:

Part of falling in love with someone is actually falling in love with yourself.

“I can’t hold on to you. You’re like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands.”

And that made my heart ache too – the thought of how much happiness lay scattered across the universe, unrealized, in fragments, waiting for the right twist of fate to bring it together.

He clasped my face in his hands, his thumbs hard against my cheekbones, holding me still as he kissed me so, so lightly, as if pressing his lips to a dandelion he might accidentally scatter.


About Leah Raeder

LEAH RAEDER is a writer and unabashed nerd. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago.

(And she still writes pretentiously lyrical fiction.)

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

11 Responses to “Review: Unteachable by Leah Raeder”

  1. Pam@YAEscapefromReality

    I enjoyed this one too, and I feel the same way, what works in a book is not something I would ever even remotely root for in real life. I was a bit bothered by what is revealed about Evan in the end, that made me feel less happy about the relationship. But yes, beautifully written and I’m a sucker for the forbidden love plot. Great review!
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  2. Lily

    I actually didn’t know this one was about a teacher-student relationship! I’m intrigued now since it sort of reminds me a bit of Slammed! I’m glad you liked this one Sara and know what you mean about maybe not rooting for this sort of thing in real life since it is sort of taboo but on paper it is always fun to read about!
    Great review 🙂
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  3. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I’m kind of intrigued by this one, and I don’t say that often with reference to NA titles. But I have heard pretty good things about this book, and it’s also nice to know that this is well-written.

    I’ll definitely have to keep this book in mind.

    Great review, Sara!

  4. tonyalee

    Sara! I did not know you were reading this! I absolutely loved it!

    I agree with you that she really went with the whole thing, not sugar coating anything. And I loved the quotes you used! <3

  5. Lauren

    Hmm I’m definitely curious about this one! I think I would be distracted by the age difference but it sounds like a complicated romance. Totally get what you mean about not being able to read repetitive sex (even if it is hot/well written). Great review!
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  6. starryeyedjen

    April and I were just discussing the teacher/student relationship…she LOVES to read those stories but they squick me out a bit. I guess when the characters are older, it’s not such a big deal, but I would MURDER anyone who touched my daughter. This sounds like a complicated love story, and a good one at that, so maybe I could put my misgivings aside and pick it up one day, if I were in the mood for something a bit scandalous. 🙂
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