Book Review - Unteachable by Leah Raeder

20 Oct 2014



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. 

 But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall. 

 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. 

 That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke. 

 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. 

 Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script.

{Read more for my 4.5 stars review!}


“You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing.”  
Once again I find myself living under a huge rock when I found out that I've never heard of this read until one of of my lovely GR buddies rec'd this one to me. I know, don't get shocked but this is actually my first real teacher/student read and after this one, I'm wondering where I've been all my life because sign me up for more!


Unteachable starts off with our heroine, Maise: an Irish, 18-year old student who acts and thinks beyond her age due to her troubled upbringing; growing up without a dad and also having to care for her mother who is a druggie. 
"Thanks, Dad, for leaving a huge void in my life that Freud says has to be filled with dick."
But one night at the carnival changed everything for two people when Maise took a ride on the Deathsnake and sat next to a stranger. Unbeknownst to them, this was the ride that catapulted them into a tale of forbidden love.

With undeniable sparks that flew between them and after a hot sex session in the car that night, Maise soon discovered that that stranger is not just another faceless memory but is in fact 32-year old, Mr. Evan Wilkes who will be her teacher in senior year. 


Let me just say that the writing is phenomenal. Stepping into this book, I was surprised to see this unique lyrical-like prose that the author brought which I found to be so beautiful and captivating to read. Although told entirely from Maise's POV, I felt that the forbidden aspect was still captured perfectly and how fast I found myself to be so consumed by this emotionally powerful read.
“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”

I really loved Maise's character, mostly for her resilience and her incredible inner monologue filled with sarcasm & wit that had me chuckling at most times. But most of all, I really felt and hurt for this young lady to have to put up with most of the shit she's been dealing with at such a young age. Sure enough, she doesn't make the wisest decisions & there are times I wanted to slap her silly. But let's just take a step back and remember that no one is perfect especially at that age; we all make some slip-ups which we're not proud of.
“It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one's letting me in on the secret.”

Then there's Evan of course. This is where I had to deck out half star from my full rating as I realised that I never really fully embraced his character. I'm not doubting his love for Maise at all but I found that the revelation of him having committed a teacher-student affair previously kinda trivialised their current r'ship and ruined him a little for me. I honestly wished it was a different revelation that had played out.


Overall this read took me by a huge surprise and got me hooked from start to finish. I thought the epilogue was done beautifully and brought the story back to a full circle. Also it did a great deal on my health as it sent me on a full-on panic attack mode when things started going awry for them and I genuinely felt so scared for them. 

But what I really loved most about the book was how easily I could visualize most scenes in my head and the writing was exceptional that those scenes felt so vivid in my mind. So much so that the scene where Maise's video project was played out felt so vivid that it brought tears to my eyes. Truly beautiful is all I can say ♥ 

I definitely highly recommend this read if you're looking for a powerful, gritty read that touches on this student/teacher premise and is looking to get a taste of some exquisite writing :)

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