Author: Leah Raeder
Age Group:New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/New Adult
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I'd first like to start off this review with this simple confession: I've been repeatedly tempted to dip my toe into the new adult waters. And I've read one or two before this one, with an urban fantasy spin. I've never read a book like Unteachable before. But I was craving a romance. And boy, did I get one. But it wasn't just that. It was also a coming of age story, a story ripped straight from grim, glaring newspaper headlines. Before I really get into the meat of the review, let's break the tension, shall we? The entire time I was reading this book, 'Bad for Teacher' was playing in my head the entire time:
All silliness aside, this book was absolutely groundbreaking, and even now, sitting in my empty living room, typing these words, it's still quite hard for me to sum up the depths of the emotions I am still experiencing upon finally closing this book. I'm going to say this now: I'm pretty sure Leah Raeder has converted me entirely to the new adult genre. If that's what new adult fiction has to offer me, I'll gladly read it forever, and I feel like I've found a new favorite subgenre.
Unteachable begins the summer before Maise O'Malley's senior year of high school. I loved Maise. Rough around the edges, incredibly screwed up, raw and real, talented and hard and more than a little bit terrifying. Her gorgeous prose and gritty narration kept me absolutely spellbound from the first paragraph. Honestly. And she's a beautiful eighteen year old whose favorite hobby is sex.
And she's up to no good, as per usual, and ends up sleeping with a gorgeous, slightly shy older man who sees through the armor of her seduction and bravado and confidence.
Said sex toy also happens to be her new Film Studies teacher. Raeder has an unbelievable talent, like none I've ever seen. The sex was so hot, erotic and romantic and really quite screwed up, but, despite the taboo aspect of their relationship, I really felt for both Maise and the man she eventually falls for, so hard that she nearly gives up her future to be with him cleanly.
Was this book hard to get through? Most definitely. Was it scary, dark, flirting with the deepest, almost undetectable areas of the human mind, body, and soul? Yup. But nonetheless, I enjoyed the journey. I live for books like this: books that scare me, open my eyes, and make me care. (The fact that it was maddeningly hot (so much sexual tension!) didn't hurt either. This book was nothing less than a triumph in the art of fiction writing--a new favorite.
Maise herself was what really sold this book: this beautiful, cynical girl, having to deal with so much at so young, and, as a result, goes looking for love in all the wrong places. And then there's Evan, the hot teacher who offers Maise so much, and is hiding more than his own fair share of secrets. Their relationship was like watching a trainwreck: terrifying, bright, so bright that you cannot force yourself to look away, and you end up scorching your eyes as a result.
In short, I just loved this book, and I cannot wait for more from this genre, and this promising new author. More please! The bottom line: A frightening and thoughtful exploration of forbidden love and twisted relationships, Unteachable was absolutely exquisite--a dark, twisted treat that I will treasure forever! Next on deck: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler!