Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Title: Unteachable
Author: Leah Raeder
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Release Date: 27 July 2013

I met him at a carnival, of all corny places. The summer I turned eighteen, in that chaos of neon lights and cheap thrills, I met a man so sweet, so beautiful, he seemed to come from another world. We had one night: intense, scary, real. Then I ran, like I always do. Because I didn't want to be abandoned again.

But I couldn't run far enough.

I knew him as Evan that night. When I walked into his classroom, he became Mr. Wilke.

My teacher.

I don't know if what we're doing is wrong. The rules say one thing; my heart says screw the rules. I can't let him lose his job. And I can't lose him.

In the movies, this would have a happy ending. I grow up. I love, I lose, I learn. And I move on. But this is life, and there’s no script. You make it up as you go along.

And you don't pray for a happy ending. You pray for it to never end.

The feels this book brought out in me! I'm not even sure I can do a review justice. So I'll apologize for the stream of consciousness feel to this post.

This book has some of the most amazing writing I've read from a new - to me - author in a very long time. Then there were the beautiful, painful, devastating, wonderful moments that resonated so deeply with me. This brought me back to my intense loves, first loves, painful moments, and awkward moments and made me feel the feelings that I had at those times - sometimes the feelings I still have.

There are some incredible moments of clarity from Maise, an eighteen year old girl that is - in some ways - much more mature than other young women her age and at the same time so very much a child in her thoughts and ways. There were times when I was in absolute awe of her, and others when I wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up. No matter what I was with her throughout the entire painful, ecstatic journey.

The characters are what drug me through this story. The three main characters have an incredible depth; they had flaws that made them real people, with histories and futures and I'm sure I've known each one of them - maybe even been some of them - at different points in my life. I won't say too much about anyone other than Maise because I really think they're best learned as you go through the story.

My one issue, if you could even really call it that, is that there's a bit a slow spot coming up to the halfway point in Unteachable. I was reading in fits in starts, on breaks at work, so that could have affected how I felt about the story - but to me, it felt like there was nothing really happening.

One small thing, but it didn't much matter though because I was utterly entranced by the writing and the journey these flawed characters were taking. I'd recommend this without reservations to anyone that wants to read a beautifully written, intensely emotional story. I know I'll be picking up anything by Leah Raeder in the future.

Grade: A-

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