Book Review – Unteachable by Leah Raeder

by Maryse on August 7, 2013 · 13 comments

in My Book Reviews

Considering the unconventional and taboo love story (but not too taboo since everyone is legally an adult in this one), this book was right up my alley. It didn’t take much to prompt me to read it, considering what it was about, but the excited recommendations had me scrambling to start it!

Tina: Highly recommend Unteachable! Very well written and easy to connect to. Amazing read!

Toski: Reading Unteachable.. SO SO good.

Jennifer: whewww, just finished Unteachable…LOVED it, totally a must read!!

Kathy: I agree!! The writing is so great in this book! Loved it!

Erin: AGREE!!! so good!!

Maddie: I just finished Unteachable and it was great! I thought it kept getting better and better as the story evolved. Awesome find!

Kaycee: @Maddie – I am absolutely LOVING it!! What a twist at 74%!! I’m in 85%.

I totally agree with y’all in regards to the descriptive writing. Eloquent and yet still has that darker, gritty feel, even in it’s beauty. Good!

But I was missing something… my own personal intense connection. I didn’t fall in love and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. It’s as if all of the depth, emotion and potential was there but didn’t come around full circle inside of me. I almost felt it. I almost loved him. I almost thought I could feel it. I was “almost”… but never full-on “in” with them. There was certainly an intensity to their situation, and an incredible passion that they shared in private. Stolen moments, and all that, that I almost delighted in. But I didn’t feel it and live it, as much as I worried about them (individually) from the outside looking in. And I don’t even know that I was all that worried as much as just… expecting the inevitable consequences that I had a feeling were coming. And I couldn’t help but keep reading to find out if I was right.

And yes, this one had a certain familiarity… reminding me of a few of my favorite teacher/student romances. The meeting, immediate connection, flirtation and well (this one goes all-out right from the start). ;) STEAMY yes (no fading to black here). And then the realization after it’s a bit too late that he is her teacher. *whoops* eek I haven’t read many teacher/student romances, so this part hasn’t gotten old for me, yet.

But that’s where the similarities end. This one takes a darker turn. It’s of a more sordid nature. This heroine is not surrounded by loving family and friends. The healing in this book is coming from a darker place. Not as uplifting. Do you know what I mean?

So what’s it about?

Eighteen year old Maise is beautiful, and uses her beauty to her mischievous advantage. Although I’m not sure just how much of an advantage it is when she can’t seem to love or care or… anything. Raised by her single (addicted) mother, Maise has been forced to grow up too fast, which appears to have emotionally stunted her, and her “escapades” really aren’t doing her any emotional favors. She’s a mental and emotional mess, and yet, too wise for her years. And both of these traits are really doing a number on her.

Until she meets Evan one evening at the local town fair at the end of the summer.

“How old are you?” he said, right on cue.

“Old enough.”

I love what that does to their faces. Old enough to… fill in the blank.

But The Guy only smiled. “I don’t want your parents to think I’m some kind of creep.”

He could have said, I’m a teacher, and everything would have been different.

RIGHT!!! But he doesn’t, does he? Ahhhhhh the chances people take. And the games that they play…

So, she plays her games with him, but can’t help but feel something more with this somewhat older (but gorgeous) and seemingly sincere guy. This part is so very sweet… even in it’s sadness.

And I felt something I’ve never felt before.

You can call it love, or you can call it free fall. They’re pretty much the same thing.

But she ditches him at the end of the evening like she does all of the others. (insert a tiny eyeroll here, but still, I like the angst!) ;)

I’m a pretty good liar. Key skills: eye contact, confidence, not caring about the outcome.

But here was the problem. Somehow, in the two or three hours since I’d met him, Evan had gotten to know me well enough to see through the bullish!t. Maybe he heard some undetectable crack in my voice, saw a furtive glint of desperation in my eyes. Because instead of joking or blushing or anything normal, he looked at me like I’d just said I never wanted to see him again.

Nevermind that was exactly what I was saying.

And then… she walks into class one day and meets him again. As her teacher.

His face fell. Not into dismay – all expression went out of it. Shock.

Let the tailspinning begin! (YAY!!)

I hated that he was treating me like a victim. Someone he needed to make reparations to.

And I loved that. ‘Cause that’s exactly the kind of reaction I’d expect. That kind of guilt and shame. And fear.

These characters have ugly pasts and possibly an even uglier present. And while there is hope for their individual futures, there are a few in their entourage that might just put a monkey-wrench in their plans. Along with the wicked secrets some are hiding, and the wicked expectations some are… imposing on them.

Some surprises along the way, but once the reveals were exposed, I don’t know that I was as excited or overwhelmed by them as I was… perturbed. Irked. Almost as if the reveal (reveals? ;) – there are a few things going on here…) didn’t do the story justice. I was all… Oh. Oh? Oh. *hrmph*

Passion, obsession, angst, misunderstandings, dark yet thoughtful introspection, a bit of mystery and intrigue. It’s all there. Overall, good. But it just didn’t put me over that beloved edge that I hope for, each time I pick up a book.

3.5 stars (and 4.5 stars for that thoughtful, beautiful writing)!

Thank you to the author for sending me a review copy.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lise August 7, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Ahhh… too bad this was not a great one for you. Glad you liked it, though. I really like the authors writing style and love her characters.

Alicia August 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM

I didn’t care for it all that much. I kept skipping parts to get to the end.

Jeanie V August 7, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Maryse, (or anyone) how did you feel about the ending? Liked? Disliked? For me I wanted just a little more. :)

Toski Covey August 7, 2013 at 8:05 PM

I do agree. It was lacking a connection for me as well.. I loved her internal dialogue .. Loved her writing style. But agree, I kept waiting for “IT” <– Not that I know what IT is but IT never happened..LOL

Vickie August 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM

I loved it. Fell in love with them. Actually one of my favorites of all time.

Becky August 7, 2013 at 8:18 PM

I agree with the 3.5 stars rating. I just didn’t connect with the characters.

Maryse August 7, 2013 at 8:19 PM

LOL Toski! I get you exactly! ;) Great writing style, though, yes!!

Maryse August 7, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I liked the ending Jeanie but I had to read it twice to make sure I was getting it.

Thu August 7, 2013 at 10:58 PM

I didn’t fall in love with Evan the way I did with Will Cooper. Great writing style, however I just couldn’t connect. I also would’ve overlooked the huge age gap if the relationship went a little deeper than just having sex every other chapter.

L Hock August 8, 2013 at 7:54 AM

Thank you for this perfect review. I just read this book and felt the same. I wouldn’t recommend it to friends.

Kristina August 8, 2013 at 9:47 AM

I totally agree with your review. The writing was exceptional, I just did not feel much of a connection to the characters. I found myself kind of skimming through to get to the end.

Kini Allen August 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

I felt like there was a little lacking on his back story. And his previous experiences. But it was a good story. Very well written. I enjoyed this book, but I felt like a few obstacles were really glossed over.

Sarah August 15, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Mmmmm I’m surprised!!!

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