Wow. The writing in this book was masterful. Leah Raeder is a seriously talented story teller. Unteachable was dark, in your face, unashamed and also managed to be beautiful and hopeful at the same time. I can say that I went through a whole spectrum of emotions while reading this book. The cover is absolutely gorgeous too, and totally fits this book.
The characters and the story are pretty screwed up! You can’t help but to get completely wrapped up in it though. Maise was everything Evan thought of her, she was enigmatic, a lioness, she lived fully in a moment with a child’s regard, or rather lack there of, of the repercussions for anything.
“I can’t hold on to you. You’re like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands.”
She was so many contradictory things at the same time, and I loved every minute of it! Maise had a terribly sad life, which aged her far beyond her 18 years, in some ways. But in others she was crippled by them too. Most obliviously emotionally. One of the things I loved about Maise was her tenacity, and her unabashed way. She knew she had some deep seated issues, and by god she OWNED them. She did some brow raising things at times, shit most of the time, but the way she owned them so unapologetically and fiercely just demanded that you respect her.
After getting to know Maise, it was quite easy to see why she would engage in the affair with her teacher.
“There are moments, when you’re getting to know someone, when you realize something deep and buried in you is deep and buried in them too. It feels like meeting a stranger you’ve known your whole life.”
Let’s face it, Evan was pretty incredible for the most part. He managed to charm you (the reader) right along with Maise. As he broke down her walls of emotional solitude, he was simultaneously chipping away at yours too. The lines of right and wrong quickly blurred. I would have said I loved him as much as Maise, or at least close to, but his past….that ONE thing, if/when you read it, you will know what I’m talking about.
It DESTROYED me. I can never look at him as I did through most of this book. That thing. UGH. WHY??!! This book would have been flawless if not for that, at least to me. It slightly cheapened it. If that was not in here I would have rated Unteachable 5 stars easily. Everything else in this book was incredible, but this moment, it made me want to do one of these to my kindle..
When you think of a teacher-student sexual relationship, lets just admit that two things instantly pop up….firstly for any parent especially is, that’s freaking sick and wrong and “if that were my kid, I’d kill him”, and then there’s the fact that this is the “plot line” for about a million different pornos.
Those are two completely opposite thoughts that come up, and both of those came into play here. There were times you were going “Oh this is wrong…” but that combated so hard with the “Holly shit this is wicked hot!”.
It was all incredibly confusing! Amazing….but my thoughts and emotions were all over the place! And at the very end of it all, I can’t say I’m any clearer than when I started. I still don’t know what is right or wrong, or what’s best for anyone. But sometimes that’s life, and Leah Raeder makes you think a lot about that.
“You should love something while you have it, love it fully and without reservation, even if you know you’ll lose it someday. We lose everything. If you’re trying to avoid loss, there’s no point in taking another breath, or letting your heart beat one more time. It all ends.” His fingers curled around mine. “That’s all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths.”
There was a lot of other things besides the affair going on here too. Which I loved almost as much. All Maise’s relationships had be enamored. I couldn’t get enough. Wesley, his mom, Maise’s mom, Hiyam, just every one. These characters were all so layered and I loved exposing them all right along with Maise.
One other thing I loved about this book, it was a standalone. All by itself, and I dug that immensely. Don’t get me wrong, I loved series too, but sometimes it’s magical to read a full story, with incredible range, with such depth and growth, all in one book.
This feels very rare to me these days. I was grateful for this. I could seriously go on gushing about this book forever, if you have not read this yet do yourself a favor and pick it up. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for anything else I can from this author.