This is not the kind of book I normally read, but I'm glad I decided to give it a try.
When I first read what this book was about, I was intrigued. However, my intrigue was not so big as for me to read this book; I mean, I don't like romance, I get bored with it, and furthermore, I thought: “Teacher and student. Hmm, sounds like it's going to be a lot of drama.” So yeah, you can guess it was almost like a thank-you-but-no-thank-you for me. But then, reviews about Black Iris (Leah Raeder's new book) started to pop out, and they said that Leah's writing was magnificent and mind-blowing...and my curiosity got better of me. To make a long story short, I decided to give Unteachable a try.
Maise O'Malley is a 18-year-old girl and our protagonist. A gif that would describe her perfectly would be this one:
She's been using men since she has memory, she dresses like she pleases without giving a damn about what people think, she's sarcastic, brutally honest, and I liked her as a narrator. She felt realistic, opposite to some other girl narrators in other books. She had struggles of her own inside. On the outside, she can be as I said before, but she's also wondering what to do with her life. I sympathized with her in this because just a year ago, I didn't know what to to with my life. I had just graduated from high school, and I had no idea about what to study at college. That feeling of uncertainty has not died yet, so I could perfectly understand her in this.
Evan—er, Mr. Wilke, is the love interest in this case. He's sweet, incredibly hot, his passion is movies...and he's Maise's teacher. As awkward as it sounds, it's true. He's Maise's teacher, and they are in a relationship. They met at a carnival, he was interested in her (without knowing he was to become her teacher) and they had instant chemistry. She didn't know, either, that she was going to be Evan's student until she walked into her class and saw him in there.
Their relationship felt quite realistic. It is not a perfect one. They have their ups and downs. I'll tell you something now (and it's not going to be that I have a crush on a teacher, because that's not true): I know about two cases of what happened in the book. One was successful and the couple is now married with two children; the other was not quite as successful and it ended awfully. And the book fitted the “reality” (based on what I know), so I have no complaints about that. Besides, I liked them together (Maise and Evan, I mean).
If there's something I truly loved in this book, that's the writing. It's just so...
One word that would describe it: Explosive. Not that I think it's the best writing I've seen in a book, no. It's just that it's really beautiful, and maybe I liked it more because at some points I felt identified with Maise. As I said, her struggles are (in some part) my struggles, and I like it when I can feel what the characters feel, and it's even better when you are living what the characters are living (and I'm not talking about the teacher-crush, in case that's what you were thinking). But anyway, the writing was brilliant.
If I could quote the whole book, I would. There were many quotes that said perfectly what I felt, and there were quotes of the life-changing kind, too. Here's one for you:
"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. That’s all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths."
Beautiful. It seems Mr. Wilke was not only Maise's teacher but mine too. You want more of that? Read it.
However, not everything was perfect. There were moments in which I was really bored I almost started to skim through he pages, but I decided to not do it because I could miss something important. And also, I felt that there was a bit much too time spent in just sex. I was not bothered by it, don't get me wrong. What happened is that it felt cheesy and a little melodramatic at points...I could just roll my eyes. But again, don't get me wrong: I really liked the book.
To sum up, this was better than what I expected to the point that I want to read everything Leah Raeder writes.
Very highly recommended.
P.S.: Gah! I love that cover!
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