Saturday, January 4, 2014

Review: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Title: Unteachable
Author: Leah Raeder
Publication date: July 27th 2013
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


You know when you find that book that may or may not be your soul-book but you just know that you'll have a special connection with it; that no matter how much other people may dislike it you'll just throw a "eff off" to those haters because you love the book anyway because it was love at first book-sight? Well... that didn't happen to me with Unteachable. I hadn't even heard of the book till my mom told me to read it (there you go, ma, you got a mention!) and even though I had to tilt my head a bit to understand the book cover, reading the summary itself got me plenty interested. (And when I told my mom that I loved it, she told me that she told me so. SMH at you.)

Unteachable was easily one of the very, very best books I have ever read, it's no doubt one of my all-times favorites and if I have kids, I'd let them read it when they're eighteen so that they'd feel inspired too. (Not kidding.) Maybe it's all the years I spent studying in a private Catholic school that had a zero in terms of male faculty that got me really interested in teacher-student relationships but hello, I need some excitement in my life. I literally live vicariously through these characters... and Unteachable was exactly the kind of experience that made my life actually feel exciting. Unteachable is exactly the type of book that you need to read if you're looking for something realistic and in-your-face because trust me, this book is the truth.

Maise O'Malley is as real as you and me, and I mean this literally. She's foul-mouthed (let's face it, we all cuss), she's blunt/frank (she's just more honest than we are), she's *cough*horny*cough* (*nods head empathically*) and she's a high school student, the only thing different between us and her is that she's more open to these things compared to us. Maise is the most real protagonist I have read about in forever for the sole reason that she doesn't pretend to be something she's not (okay, she may have done that but within reason, read the book and you'll see). She faces problems head on and even though there are times when vulnerability strikes, she still holds her chin up to take them on. Maise experiences the same problems that we do except a bit more extreme because her secret relationship and her crazy mother but oh, well... Point in, Maise isn't perfect, she doesn't have superpowers to save the day, she isn't "The One" and she sure as hell isn't the girl who's going to get Mr. Perfect but it's all her "flaws" that make her who she is and while people may expect her to grow into a certain way, well those people are going to be disappointed because Maise listens to no one (except maybe Leah because she wrote the book) and she'll grow and bloom into whatever flower she pleases, hell, she probably won't even turn into a flower, she'll most likely prefer to be a cactus, prickly and filled with fluid. (No pun intended... okay, maybe pun intended.) The sum it all up, I look up to Maise O'Malley even though she may not be someone most mothers would approve of (my mom would totally approve of her as my role model, I'm bring serious), there are just times when we can't always look up to heroines who are perfect and end up with the perfect life, sometimes we need heroines who may not actually be heroines, who may just be a normal girl but manages to show us what it really means to be a person, and that's what Maise did, she showed me the nitty gritty details of life that we might not always like but will always be there no matter what we do. Maise isn't fun or sociable or friendly, she's stubborn, rude and offensive but she's also very quirky, passionate and intelligent and those are the qualities that redeemed her. That turned her into a great a inspiring person; those are the qualities that made her real.

I really liked Evan/Mr. Wilke (I'll call him Mr. Wilke because it just sounds so much more... naughty. *winky face*), he's the type of guy who's not going to give you flowers and chocolates but will treat you like his world revolves around your axis alone. It was obvious that Mr. Wilke also harbored deep feelings for Maise but his morales also dictated him to be more "responsible" but hey, she's eighteen anyway! (That totally rhymed, score for Louisse!) It was interesting reading Mr. Wilke's conflict through Maise's eyes because Maise was confident and knew what she was doing and even though Mr. Wilke tried, feebly, to protest, he really was no match her feminine wiles. I think more than being a love interest, Evan (I give up, Mr. Wilke is too stiff, too long and I'm getting carpal tunnel from typing this so I'll stick with Evan) also acted as a support for Maise. Someone she could lean on, someone who would encourage her to do things when she felt like it was too much of a hassle to do so, he was like a male and more responsible version of herself. Even though they were different in certain aspects, Evan and Maise were alike in other ways as well. They complemented and balanced the other out and that created a great dynamic between the two. (Also, wanted to say that not everything is as it seems when it comes to Evan... he has his secrets too.)

As much as we'd like to believe that Evan and Maise's relationship was filled with butterflies, rainbows and cupcake-pooping unicorns, it wasn't. Their relationship was filled with many obstacles and it wasn't just because their love was technically illegal, it was also because of a druggie classmate, an obsessed friend, a broken past and a crazy as hell mother. They were problems that were definitely not easy to face and let me tell you, those two did not survive unscathed but that's how real relationships are, they aren't perfect and most of the time, you don't even know if a couple will even stay together and that's exactly what Leah Raeder was trying to show us, that most of the time, we have to sacrifice a lot in order to get what we want and sometimes, what we get isn't even what we wanted in the first place.

Unteachable is a exactly the kind of read that shows you how things really are, it won't lie to you and tell you that everything will be okay in life because it won't but things do get better if we try hard enough. Leah Raeder has written an insanely raw and gritty book that may be tough as nail but is also as fragile as a flower emotion wise because Unteachable will make you feel things that may be comfortable, uncomfortable, weird and even alien but it just means that you are letting the book affect you as it should. Unteachable is one of those books out that is just so special that no matter what happens, it will always be one of a kind. Leah Raeder has written a gem that I will always keep close to my heart and rest assured, I will be rereading this book... a lot because I loved this book something fierce. If I could, I'd totally marry this book. Is that legal? But seriously, great job, Leah! Unteachable was... phenomenal? Amazing? Stupendous? Fantabulous? I'm sure that I'll run out of adjectives to describe this book but wow, just wow. I will be eagerly awaiting Leah Raeder's future works. Ea-ger-ly. So don't take too long, Leah!


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