Author: Leah Raeder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: abandoned, realistic-fiction, recipe-for-awesomesauce
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.
I don’t understand myself so far be it from to expect it of you, which is why I simply translate (or try to) all the nebulous dreams and decisions of my mind directly, without trying to go into semantics.
Anyways, when I started Unteachable, back in 20-fucking-13 (I don’t even remember that scene), I had problems with the writing style. For the first few chapters I couldn’t get into it, because it seemed too much like an overcrowded carnival, akin to the one in the first chapter of the story: there was too much stuffed, and the words so bright and bold, they couldn’t fit into a comprehensive narration for me.
And then I got further. And won’t you know it – I totally carnivals. Fairs. Crappy, hot food. People in colorful clothes. Shouting. Swearing. Ferris wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeels.
THAT was Unteachable. It stands to reason that I LOVED IT despite occasions of cognitive dissonance and the above.
As for characters, Maise was totally the kind of person you wouldn’t be chummy with unless she took some weird interest in you and made you her lackey (so wouldn’t happen). And I was legitimately sweet on her high school friend. And the DUDE (she falls for) was ummm… okay, I personally have this prejudice against grown-ups falling for high school students so I saw him through my clouded, spotty (haven’t cleaned them in a while and there’s spots of adhesive from back when I tried to stick my glasses permanently to the frame after having broken it on a night of dancing and revelry) glasses. Couldn’t see much, but guess what? DID NOT HATE HIM. But hints of darkness and sweetness peeked through so yay for the author!
(My glasses are truly crappy.)
The story was gritty and yes, provocative and bright and the last part is what I truly liked. Books that are so dark or, on the lighter scale, very fluffy never shine as deliciously, darkly, coolly as Unteachable did. I liked Maise. I liked (usually) the writing.
I didn’t like the canon ship. I couldn’t convince myself they were into each other. I wasn’t overly fond of the sexiness (which was surprising because it’s annoyingly easy to get me to like the written sexy word). It was allllllllllll for Maise.
Maise wasn’t boring and that’s highly rare to find these days for me.
The world full of actors and stage-setters is amalgamating into a single (mostly) play of Romeo and Juliet, and in she comes like Stella, with her script for A Streetcar Named Desire. (Gah, I hope she fares better.)
However, for some reason, I had to stop and I haven’t been back since. And I don’t know if I will actually finish the second part of the novel – which, I’m wishing upon meteorites, will happen to include mafia and crime mobs and a mosh pit.
I am SO reading Leah Raeder‘s other books because a) she is awesome as a person and b) she is awesome as an author, making way for the corollary: her books are awesome.
Maybe I’ll read this one someday but here’s something you didn’t know about me: I’m the WORST with interrupted books or series, or finishing a thread. 2015 resolution to be better? Nah.