by Leah Raeder
Summary: This novel contains graphic sexual content and strong language. It is intended for mature readers.
I met him at a carnival, of all corny places. The summer I turned eighteen, in that chaos of neon lights and cheap thrills, I met a man so sweet, so beautiful, he seemed to come from another world. We had one night: intense, scary, real. Then I ran, like I always do. Because I didn’t want to be abandoned again.
But I couldn’t run far enough.
I knew him as Evan that night. When I walked into his classroom, he became Mr. Wilke.
I don’t know if what we’re doing is wrong. The rules say one thing; my heart says screw the rules. I can’t let him lose his job. And I can’t lose him.
In the movies, this would have a happy ending. I grow up. I love, I lose, I learn. And I move on. But this is life, and there’s no script. You make it up as you go along.
And you don’t pray for a happy ending. You pray for it to never end.
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2013
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Source: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review and participation in a blog tour.
Unteachable was a fascinating and riveting novel that I couldn't put down. It was unlike anything I was expecting. It was romantic and horrifying, sexy and scary, and sweet and obsessive. It was so twisted. And instead of wrapping up Maise and Evan's relationship with a bow and calling it good, the author explored every twisted, slightly unhealthy side of it and used it. I never knew if the author was making the situation one that I should root for or one that should make me cringe. And now that I'm done, I think she probably wanted both, or at least that's what I felt.
Maise was a strange character. She narrated the story and I hated her and loved her immediately at the same time. She was so messed up, knew she had all sorts of issues, and was so harsh. At the same time, it was refreshing because I am so used to main characters being timid, wholesome, driven, introspective, or something to that degree, and Maise was none of those things. She was one of those characters I'd never want to meet who makes choices that I can't understand, but I also enjoyed getting inside of her head and understanding what made her tick and what her hopes and dreams were.
I wasn't sure what I expected by the plot. I actually can't stand teacher/student relationships. But at the same time, it's a conflict that has so many outcomes, so it's entertaining and suspenseful to read about. I think I was expecting a little more innocence and a relationship that straddles the line with morality, like Arya and Ezra on the show Pretty Little Liars. But I didn't get that at all. It was slightly raunchy, the age difference was quite a bit, and even though Maise and Evan fell for each other, the teacher/student taboo was fully recognized and exploited between them.
I loved Unteachable because I really loved Maise, even when I hated her. I wanted inside of her head. I wanted her to grow up and also be a kid. She was, like many teenagers, immature and yet somehow wise beyond her years. She was skeptical, cynical, but somewhat hopeful. I didn't know what would happen between her and Evan. Would it end badly? Would it become even more unhealthy or would it blossom into something real? Would they get caught? Would they fly under the radar?
Unteachable wasn't just about Maise's relationship with Evan, either. She made a friend, Wesley, and got close to his wonderful mom. She got into film class and explored her own film making talents. She had a messed up, drug dealing mother who wasn't even there for her. All of these things shaped her, along with the lessons she was learning about love.
What I loved most about the story was how real it was. It wasn't boy meets girl and they fall in love and everything is awesome. It's not even about two broken people who heal each other. It's not a cookie cutter romance in any sense. The characters aren't admirable. They are screwed up, loveable, stupid, wise, and complicated, just like everyone else in the world. Their actions aren't necessarily good or bad. Maise wasn't always a reliable narrator, either. She saw things her own way and it was up to the reader to figure out what she was being naïve about and what was real. And I love how the author showed me both sides of the story. She didn't glorify the situation and make it seem great, but she didn't make it shameful altogether, either. It was somehow both and that's what made the story feel so real.
I do recommend the book, but not for anyone looking for a sweet or even deliciously sexy romance. It's more than that, slightly unhealthy and twisted, but extremely well done. It's a book that explores so many elements of growing up and forbidden love, but it isn't wholesome like you'd expect a book about adolescence to be. The right audience will love it. The wrong audience will probably be offended and put off by a lot of the language, situations, and themes. I always give a fair warning when books deal with or explore sensitive issues.
"I respect people who get nerdy as fuck about something they love."
"There's something so terrible about wanting something you've already had. You know exactly what you're missing. Your body knows precisely how to shape itself around the ache, the hollowness that wants to be filled."
"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."
"... I think that lesson was the most important: that none of us actually grow up. We get bigger, and older, but part of us always retains that small rabbit heart, trembling furiously, secretively, with wonder and fear."
"Grow up. This is real. The world is ugly and nasty and fucked up, and so are we."
"Part of falling in love with someone is actually falling in love with yourself. Realizing that you're gorgeous, you're fearless and unpredictable, you're a firecracker spitting light, entrancing a hundred faces that stare up at you with starry eyes."
About the Author: Leah Raeder writes pretentiously lyrical YA and adult fiction of various genres. Loves zombies, velociraptors, and other world-ending things.
Where to Buy: Amazon
Tour Schedule: Itching For Books
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Labels: Blog Tour, Giveaway, Issues, New Adult, Review