Review: Unteachable

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Title: Unteachable
Author: Leah Raeder
Rating: ✭✭✭½

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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.

If you love charismatic and brutally honest characters, I can guarantee you will fall in love with Maise O’Malley instantly, just as I did. She’s a completely open book (pardon the pun) which is refreshing!

“It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one’s letting me in on the secret.”

I also really enjoyed the undertones of this book that managed to explore feminism so naturally. Although I found Maise’s confidence and sexual awareness both inspiring and tragic considering her upbringing, the last few chapters really showed a great and positive character transformation that made me feel so proud of her!

Unfortunately there were a couple of things that dragged this book down for me, although reading through other reviews I think this is probably due to personal preferences. It wasn’t even the fact that this book was full to the brim of never-ending sexual encounters that began to make my brain melt to the point where I wasn’t sure what I was reading anymore that spoiled this for me. The main stumbling block I found was that no matter how hard I tried, I really just could not connect to Evan’s character – not even a little bit. I thought he was odd from the start and I got severely creeped out when he said that part of his attraction to Maise was because of her age – I get the whole older/younger thing but it was just a step too far for me personally, and meant I wasn’t emotionally invested in wanting their relationship to work which was the main plot for the book. I still enjoyed the sub-plots, especially with Wes and Siobhan, and Maise’s rocky relationship with her Mother though.

I really don’t want to give a negative vibe about this book because despite my opinion on the themes, I still managed to really enjoy it and finished it in two sittings. Raeder has a lovely and unique writing style which is so enticing that I can’t wait to start Black Iris!

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