Review: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Description from GoodReads:

This novel contains graphic sexual content and strong language. It is intended for mature readers. 

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.

Wow, let me just say it was an intense journey.

The cover was the first thing that attracted me to bought this book. It's vivid, bright coloured sketch of a girl against stark black created a mysterious enigmatic cover. The artist in me can not help but attracted to it. 

Then i read the description. BAM! I'm sold.

Since the start of New Adult genre, there has been a lot variation of conflicts discussed (self - esteem, the one that got away, family dilemma, social acceptance, etc). There's even some student - teacher love story here and there, but to me, this book stands out amongst others.

The promise of an illuminating story didn't disappoint. The story got me hooked from the start 'till the end. It provoke reactions within me; it got me thinking, doubting, and reassessed about subjects in which are quite deep and sensitive. The story gave me a little flutter in my heart every time i think about it. It's definitely not for those who are sensitive about provocative topics nor does for those with a faint heart.

Maise O'Malley, the voice of the story, is an unique girl. For an 18 years old, her thoughts and behaviour is pretty cynical and almost disturbed. Perhaps it was pretty understandable, she was forced to grown up and learnt things faster than the rest of her age due to her family circumstances. What i didn't like was in some scenes, Maise can be seen arrogant and somehow naive, blaming others for what she turned out to be. Yes, some things can not be helped, but what she can change of her life - it's in her own power to change it. Looking at the world from her eyes was like reading Edgar Allan Poe's poetries, a walking darkness who found the light from her partner, Evan Wilke.

Evan Wilke, was described as a sweet, beautiful, inspirational guy who is way above her age. When they met each other, it was like the normal boy-meet-girl scenario (Yes, perhaps random fornication is an acquired taste, but it is pretty acceptable by society). Yet when a tittle of guardianship, such as teacher attached to him, and she was his student. It raises a lot of eyebrows.  Raeder presents this scenario right into the reader's mind, creating this mind battle of "it's so right, yet it's so wrong" situation. How would one response to that?
Turned out Mr. Wilke has his own skeleton inside his closet, and two damaged character in a fragile relationship with each other. It made a one hell (excuse the pun) journey to read.

Thumbs up for Raeder paying attention to the supporting characters. I enjoy the fact that even though they're not the leading role, i can distinguish and appreciate their behaviour differences.  Poor Wesley left starry eyed over Maise, it seems he's pretty unappreciated for being her accomplice.

Raeder's writing style on its own is fascinating. It have a dark flair, with the right amount of angst, and it's own brand of drama. It was like a contemporary progressive art in form of a prose, Raeder would certainly make art house darlings proud.

Favourite quote:

  • “Grow up. This is real. The world is ugly and nasty and fucked up, and so are we.” 
  • “...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 curl around mine. "That's all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths.” 


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