Author: Leah Raeder
Narrator(s): Grace Grant
Length: 9 hrs 49 mins
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Source: from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
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 had no idea what this book was about, but I kept seeing it pop up on my feed a few months ago as buzz for the title grew. Then I read the synopsis and decided the book wasn't for me, not with my aversion to squicky situations like teacher-student relationships. But I just kept seeing this book everywhere, and practically all of my friends were raving about it. So, me being me, I caved to the hype when I was offered a review copy of the audiobook.
And I can honestly say that the buzz was deserved. The fact that the student is eighteen and the legal age of consent in the state where the story takes place did much to assuage my doubts, as did the fact that when they realized their positions, they tried to step back from what was happening...even if that did only last like two seconds. Also, this book is hotness personified. I'm not a prude...I don't need fade-to-black sex scenes. Nor am I a fan of erotica, of those novels that feature too many details in said scenes. Unteachable reaches a happy medium when it comes to describing the couple's most intimate encounters, though admittedly, it probably wasn't the greatest idea to listen while at my desk at work. ;0)
I'm not always the biggest fan of the new adult genre, but I feel like this novel was honest and gritty in a way that most new adult novels I've read haven't been. Maise isn't an innocent virgin testing the waters; she's an 18 year old woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. She expects Evan to be just another in a string of random hookups in an attempt to fill the daddy-sized hole in her life. But Maise and Evan have a genuine connection, one that remains even after the deed is done.
I'm not opposed to a much younger woman being in a relationship with a much older man. I've tested those waters myself and I found them to my liking until I realized I still felt like the mature one out of us both. Sure, it's a bit creepier in the case of this novel because Evan is nearly double Maise's age and he's her teacher, but I'd have liked to see that aspect explored a bit more. We got to see their connection but what about all of those things that made -- or should have made -- these two characters so unsuitable for each other? Maise even had an older, wiser sage-like figure to extol the virtues of this type of relationship while also serving as proof that they're not likely to work out. And instead of showing the ugly side of things, the story wraps up rather picturesquely, with Maise having her cake and eating it, too. Not that they don't have their problems and those problems aren't taken into consideration -- they do and they are -- but it was a tad unrealistic how easily things worked themselves out...for everyone.
This is only my second experience with a novel narrated by Grace Grant, and I thought that having only just recently listened to the other one would make it hard to distinguish the characters she voiced, but on that count, I was wrong. While this character is a bit similar to the last one she portrayed, especially in her awareness of her sexuality and the way that she knows what she wants and goes after it full-tilt, I never reverted back to thinking of Grace's voice as anyone's but Maise's. Her inflections and intonations made each character sound different and stand apart, even the most minor characters. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance of Unteachable.
This novel really surprised me. I wasn't expecting to like it nearly as much as I did, even despite the hype, but I'm glad that I did because her next novel sounds just as good. Maybe better. And probably just as hot, if that synopsis is to be believed.
About the author:
Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago.
(And she still writes pretentiously lyrical fiction.)
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