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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.

320 pages, ebook

First published July 27, 2013

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About the author

Leah Raeder

5 books2,622 followers
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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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
March 24, 2014
03/2014: Looky at the beautiful new cover! I love that they kept all the vibrant colours of the original because they really captured the intoxicating feel of the novel. Also, every time I think of this book I can't believe I didn't give it 5 stars... so I'm upping my rating :)

I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I can weed out the crap and hopefully find some surprising gems. Here's hoping!

I've had several comments on my reviews of the NA experiment books asking why I insist on putting myself through all this torture. The simple answer: to find books like this one. Unteachable isn't a perfect book. It sits comfortably within the contemporary romance genre that we've come to expect from New Adult and - plot-wise - it cannot be considered groundbreaking. But the writing, the mood, and the characters made this a book I couldn't put down. You want to get some idea what this book is like? Look at that cover. Look at the explosion of bright colours winding off into a neon portrait of a young woman. That might give you some idea. A gif to represent this book? Here you go:

But really, what is Unteachable? I'll tell you. It's a lyrical, intoxicating novel that creates an atmosphere of such feverish intensity you feel a little high, a little out of control, just by reading it. I fell into this story and got lost amongst the lights of the carnival, the smell of beer and sweat, and the MC's apprehension. I felt the pull of this story from the very beginning when Maise takes a ride on that fateful rollercoaster at the carnival and her life starts to change forever. Because this book is a romance and the romantic aspect is the foundation of the story, but it's also about something else. I suppose it is really a coming-of-age tale. Of being a young woman balanced between childhood and the scary world of adults. It asks what it means to grow up. And if any of us ever really do.

Maise O'Malley is the star of this show and I loved her instantly. I didn't expect her to be so funny. She's wickedly sarcastic, she's shamelessly rebellious, she's not afraid of being more than a little crude at times. But, of course, she's so much more than all of that too. Maise is a fascinating combination of:

And a bitter, sad fragility. She feels more real that any of the NA protagonists I've met with recently, there's something genuine about the way she boxes her troubles up and locks them away behind doors with sexy, devil-may-care smiles. I feel like there's something known about pain here. All these NA novels I've read about girls with issues, girls running from dark pasts, girls who were abused... and none of them seem to capture that darkness, that melancholy of being fucked up for a very long time. There's something sadder about the way Maise brushes it off with a shrug and a joke about Freud, it affected me more than the melodrama of other novels. I don't know the author's story, but she certainly writes with a convincing flair that suggests some level of firsthand experience with the thoughts and emotions swirling away behind Maise's closed doors. I love it when an author writes something, a thought or a feeling, that you never realised was exactly how you felt at a certain time or in a certain situation until it was laid out before you in a book. Inexplicable sensations are suddenly explained and it's hard not to smile or laugh or cry along with the characters.

Raeder's writing was, for me, perfect. Atmospheric, pretty without quite hitting the purple end of the scale, just beautiful. Like this:

I biked up to the water tower on the hill overlooking the prairie. Climbed the rust-eaten struts up to a crow's nest some stoners had hammered together out of Mississippi driftwood. It wasn't as hot tonight, and a restless wind raked through the grass, smelling of loam and barley. From here the carnival lights looked like fireflies swirling madly in place, trapped under an invisible jar. Just like me.

I especially love the use of past tense in this book, the way Maise tells the story from a present the reader is far away from reaching. She keeps talking about how "I didn't know back then" and "I wonder what would have been different had I made another choice that day" and I actually loved it. The hindsight makes the whole thing seem somehow tragically inevitable. It works. You know certain things are coming and, rather than dampen the tension, it heightens it an incredible amount. I was sat there with a pounding heart, knowing what was coming, and sometimes wanting to hide behind my hands and not watch what I knew would happen. This, combined with the film metaphors woven throughout, made for a stunning, exciting novel.

Images and words flash past too fast to parse, like the cliche dying moment in film, when life flashes before someone's eyes. Except that isn't what happens when you die - it's what happens when you live. It all flashes past. You barely have time to feel it before it's gone.

Now for the relationship. Teacher and student. All kinds of wrong. All kinds of room for a really hot mess. But I think this relationship is used well here, not just to feed the reader's forbidden fantasies. For one, it's legal (phew) and they "hooked up" before the awkward classroom encounter and she had lied about her age. For another, he is so adorable I do not have words. I've got used to expecting a certain type of love interest from these NA novels. Arrogant, self-obsessed, controlling, annoying... Evan is none of those things. He is sweet, kind, considerate, he puts her first (which adds up to more than letting her come first) and he still manages to be totally sexy. His character development extends beyond his looks, he has faults and he has his own past that isn't so peachy - I think if I could write an ideal NA male love interest, it would be exactly like him. I find it amazing that the NA relationship that is technically most inappropriate is the one that has felt most real and honest to me.

And because I liked Maise and I liked Evan... I loved them both together. And that made the sex scenes really hot. Just sayin'.

Now to get a couple of negatives out of the way. The most notable blemish to this novel's perfection occurs around the middle where there is a slow chunk made up of nothing but sex. I know, I know, I'm such a spoilsport. But there were one or two sex scenes too many if you ask me. Your sex shouldn't get tedious and there was a point somewhere between orgasms when I was hoping it would just move along a bit. Don't worry, though, it picks up again. My other issue was with the handling of Hiyam's character. I would have liked her to have been more well-rounded rather than just a mindless villain used as a tool to threaten the novel's harmony. I also wish Maise had used a different term to describe insecure teenage girls than "bulimic", it didn't sit well with me and seemed to trivialize a serious illness. I understand it was Maise's skewed view of them, but I 'd just rather it wasn't in there.

Now, let's get back to the good! I haven't mentioned the cast of secondary characters that I feel were extremely well-developed for a romance novel. Wesley, Siobhan... and I personally think Maise's mum deserves a novel of her own because we barely scratched the surface with her. She is one of the worst mothers ever, but I'd love to get her story. The strength of all of them, I felt, was in the witty dialogue zipping back and forth. You could almost take out everything but the dialogue and it would still be a four star novel. I recall what I said in my recent review of Hopeless about how I wished the author had the guts to write a typically unlikeable "slutty" protagonist and make us love her. I got that here. I also got the closest thing to a feminist I'm probably ever going to find in these NA books. I imagined myself and Maise as partners in crime when I read this:

I looked at my desk. Someone had carved RIHANNA = SLUT. I thought about adding CHRIS BROWN = DOMESTIC ABUSER, but Mr Wilke probably would've caught me before I finished.

I really did like this book. A LOT. A lot more than I thought I was going to. It does the one thing I really wanted the NA genre to do from the start: capture that feeling of loneliness and desperation that occurs when you have no idea where you're going next or who you're going to be when it comes time to "grow up". It's about how teens grow up, and it's about how sometimes adults never did. I don't even care that the ending had more than a touch of cheese. I was ready for it. I was like an empty toasted sandwich, waiting to be cheesed <<<<<< Don't judge me, I will likely never again have chance to use that sentence.

One last quote, Emily? Well, if you insist:

That's all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths.
Profile Image for Baba  .
859 reviews3,873 followers
February 7, 2015
5 brilliant shooting stars.*****Review completed August 4, 2013

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"You've got stars in your eyes," and I kissed him, his lips warm and sweet in the cold. Our breath wrapped around us in scarves of steam. On the smooth white cloth spread before us, pastel lights rippled in soft, diaphanous waves, like auroras.

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I tell you I was in an incredibly shitty mood when I saw Unteachable all over GR and I knew…I knew…it's another of those NA books that don't do anything for me at all. So, I told myself 'What the heck, you can't feel worse anyway. Download the book and wallow in your misery'. Yup, I know, that sounds so pathetic. In any event, my self-defense mechanism was working in full force when something pretty amazing happened. Heart palpitations…thud…thud…and…wonders never cease coz I effin' fell for Unteachable, and I never thought I'd say this but I effin' loved it!!! Hence, a heartfelt thank you goes out to the author, Leah Raeder, who made me enjoy and actually LOVE a NA book for the very first time. Even now a couple days after I finished the book, I'm feeling a little bit dazed, even shocked, to admit that I loved it. Making me enjoy a NA book is no mean feat after all, coz I'm a difficult case when it comes to this particular sub-genre.

"Remember when you
He winced.
"It's like that," I said. "But no one catches you. You're just hanging over infinity.

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That's another thing about lies: if you convince yourself they're true, they become true. A lie is a discrepancy of belief, not a fact.

"Now I know," he said, touching me again, "why I was drawn to you. We have the same darkness inside."
"Our fucked-up parents?"
"Our lost childhood."

Unteachable is told in first person past tense from Mase's POV. Mase is 18 and pretty mature, worldly and cynical for her young age. F@cking older men is her favorite pastime, and she does it with unapologetic abandon. She actually does it the way she does everything, embracing her life and dreams with arms wide open and without any guilt trips, without blaming other people for her crappy childhood or her current living conditions. So, she hooks up with older men and after the fun is over she leaves them before they can leave her.

One day she meets Evan at the carnival. They ride the rollercoaster Deathsnake together, holding hands and trying to chase away their fears. Of course they end up screwing in Evan's car and Mase leaves him after the deed is done. However, two weeks later she walks into room 209 and faces her new teacher at Riverland High. It's Mr. Evan Wilke. It's also the man she f@cked two weeks ago, and Mr. Wilke is almost 15 years her senior.

Be aware that Mase and Evan might singe your skin; they might even tear it off in some places because there's some stuff going on in this story--not only the sexual kind of thing--so you best buckle up for this rollercoaster ride of actions and emotions. Unteachable is Mase and Evan's crazy love story, and one has to wonder who is teaching whom a lesson.

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There was no desperate collision of bodies this time. We moved in small increments, my fingers lacing through his, my neck craning toward him. My gaze fixed itself on his jaw, the place just under his lower lip where sandy stubble graded into smooth skin. His free hand came up and touched my mouth, traced it, fingertips pushing in, against my teeth. Again I grimaced. I saw him through my wet eyelashes, blearily. Unbearable. All this restraint, everything furled and reined in, while the rain came down with pure wrath.

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If you want to read a book about...




Infatuation and fate

Passion, hunger, lust and love

Rights and wrongs

Real life



New beginnings

...and if you want to read a book...

where the prose is going to drape over your skin like a sheer yet warming blanket, and raindrops are going to touch your soul then it's time to read Unteachable.

Leah has the gift to write sex and kissing scenes that are sexy, utterly sensual and pretty explicit, yet at the same time they read like a lovely poem, like sunlight, rain and flowers and stars all at the same time. Oddly enough, some of her sensual scenes kinda blur and fade away...in front of your eyes. It's actually not that explicit at all, and it's neither smutty nor shameless. There is a stillness about it that I couldn't quite grasp and I was wondering about that. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. Overall the intimate scenes are a reflection of her lyrical writing. Per-lyrical-fection.

Plus, I believe that her prose was the perfect counterbalance to smooth over certain rough and stormy parts of the plot. It felt less loud and less dramatic. And last but not least I *think* I would have put Unteachable on my all-time favorites shelf if it

I guess I'm trying to say what I couldn't say that night. You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing. And I love you.

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The shiver came, and everything in me turned to the same sparkling whiteness that fell outside and drifted, weightless, evanescent, catching the light for a heartbeat and melting the instant it landed. I couldn't speak. My head was full of snow and static. He touched my face and I touched his and we didn't kiss, just looked at each other. I love you, I thought.

My very favorite quote.
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Age is mind over matter. Age is also a number and an accumulation of experiences, memories and (hopefully) wisdom. When we look at the age of 18 to 33 then most of us will feel a little bit uncomfortable. But what's the difference of 30 to 45? Both of them have made their share of experiences, they have matured. Maybe she has grown even more than he has but we don't know because we don't live their life. At first glance 30 to 45 looks more appropriate (more appropriate for whom?) and less lecherous, less dirty, less…what exactly? Love dreams. Love trusts. Love hopes. Love perseveres. Love doesn't have an age. Love is love after all.

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Have you ever noticed how beautiful raindrops are? The prose of Unteachable is beautiful and lyrical. Beautiful like gentle raindrops pattering steadily at your window. It makes you want to hold your face to the sky and let the rain wash all over you. And while I liked Mase and Evan (especially Mase's bold no-nonsense attitude), I didn't fall for them but I fell insanely hard for the author's writing. With Unteachable Leah taught me a lesson. A lesson about a writer's magic, her magic, to convey her thoughts and feelings with such ease that kissed and embraced my reader's heart in no time flat. I couldn't resist her. It made me teary-eyed. It made me feel. It made me swoon. This…this…is the difference between poor and fabulous writing. She touches you, she moves you, she pets you, she makes you shiver feverishly. She burns you, she lets stars rain down on your skin, and she lets you yearn and hunger for more. Don't run from it, run toward it. To me Unteachable is a Read this book but be aware that you can't hold a shooting star.

I want more of this insanely beautiful magical bliss. I'm ready for another lesson.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,638 reviews34k followers
February 1, 2015
This is, by far, the most well-written romance I've read to date in the dubious "new adult" category--not to mention one of the best in the indie press one. There are a handful of other NAs that I've liked, among them Faking It, Double Clutch, and Easy, but this one's much closer to the mature YA/NA writing of The Sea of Tranquility. Albeit with characters and problems that are a lot more fucked up.

This story is basically a much better version of Slammed, which has gotten a lot of attention but I didn't find all that compelling, particularly in the too-honorable-to-be-true teacher. Unteachable is honest about how the fantasy of the older man/forbidden relationship plays into Maise's intense relationship with her teacher Evan, as well as mostly honest in Evan's fixation on her. It's filled with the kind of lust and sweat and regret that you rarely get in New Adult titles, maybe because so many of them are too busy trying to appeal to YA readers that they aren't pushing the envelope enough, or maybe just don't have that much insight to share.

I think one of the most bold things about this book is that as messed up as the idea of this relationship is, it's interesting to see how honestly Maise is portrayed. She's not an innocent ripe for seduction, and her awareness of her own femininity and sexual power is shown in a way you don't ever see in contemporary romances--I mean, why is it that you mostly only get that in urban fantasy? Most women who are 18 are aware of the potency of their attractiveness and youthfulness on some level, even if they aren't mature enough to fully understand the consequences of their actions--or the lack of responsibility, and what that implies, in his. But the situation is put into the right context later on. I do think that a little more time could have been spent on , and the story might wrap up a little too neatly in some ways. But I'm okay with it, because there is a lot of attention paid to things that are also important, and the story and writing exceeded my expectations in most ways. I also like that the book gives you just enough back story for Maise being the way she is, and gives her enough self-awareness to be sarcastic/realistic about it, without becoming a cliched sobfest.

Incidentally, while the sex is extremely well-written and fairly graphic (and there's a good amount of it, so beware, readers who like clean romances), this isn't just sexed-up YA, as it's not just about an obsessive romance; there's real emotional connection between these two, as well as between all the well-drawn secondary characters. Unteachable is also rounded out with worries about parents, career, identity, college, friendships--you know, all those things that NA is purportedly about but rarely is.

I hope this author is working on another book, because she's clearly got things to say. And I'd be interested in hearing them.

*** This makes such an interesting bookend to Tampa, by the way. I still haven't reviewed that book, but there is so much room for discussion there.
Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,780 reviews12.8k followers
July 28, 2013
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What the Wheat Thins?!

I am shocked, I tell you. Shocked.


Is it because this is a book with a lot of naughty language?

No, that's not it. I cuss like a fucking dock worker.

Because it's a book with a lot of sex?

Hmm. No. I like sex.

Because it's a book with a lot of sex between an 18-year-old girl and her 32-year-old teacher?

No, that was actually kind of hot.

I'm shocked because this is a New Adult Romance...and it was good! I liked it!

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This is no small feat, especially considering I tend to be rather difficult to please when it comes to romance, particularly when that romance is coupled with a lot of emoriffic teen angst.

I was given a free e-ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review, and I was completely prepared to shred it. I've not had good luck in the NA department in the past, and even though I thought the synopsis sounded interesting, I'm well aware of how misleading synopses can be. In the case of this story, the synopsis is indeed misleading, but not in the way you'd think; the synopsis does not even come close to doing Ms. Raeder's writing justice. Lyrical prose happens to be a weakness of mine, and from the outset, I was drawn in by the unexpectedly beautiful images the prose inspired:

"It was the kind of greenhouse August heat that feels positively Jurassic. Everything was melting a little: the liquid black sky, the silver gel-penned stars, the neon lights bleeding color everywhere."

"At the end of summer everything swelled with life, almost grotesque, bloated and overripe. The sky was so full and pregnant you could poke a hole in it and douse the world with paint."

"The city thrummed around me, a live passionate thing full of hearts and hands and desires, and all of it seemed to concentrate here in a collective defiance of gravity."

"Autumn spread its golden disease through the woods, Midas trailing his fingers over the treetops. Dying things became extraordinarily beautiful at the very end."

The story begins at a carnival, and the writing transports you there with aplomb. I've read many books where descriptions fell flat, where it felt like my eyes were being sexually assaulted by adjectives, but not a single one of them did anything to conjure pictures in my mind. That was not the case here. While I enjoyed getting to know the characters, so often these days writers think they can just introduce their approximations of interesting characters and a drama-fueled plot and expect people to enjoy it. Prose is far more important than people give it credit for, and it is this underestimation that causes a lot of books to be flat, uninteresting, and forgettable.

Something I don't often comment on are book covers. I try to leave them out of the discussion because, as a photographer, I know that images are widely subjective. Every image evokes different feelings in different people, much the same as writing. With that in mind, I will say that I've not seen a good many book covers which I felt matched and/or represented the writing therein. This one, however, does. The unmistakably fierce femininity, the wild abandon of the hair, that wispy quality, and the eye-catching color, all help to portray the undeniably youthful yet powerful themes within the story. As I was writing this, it occurred to me that Ms. Raeder wields words much the same way an artist wields colors. How, I thought to myself, did the art designer capture the essence of Ms. Raeder's writing so well? It was not surprising, then, to discover Ms. Raeder designed the cover herself.

I suppose I should get on with it, huh?

The story itself is actually pretty unique, though the individual parts that make up the story are not. We have a young woman who's been abused and neglected, who's had to grow up pretty quickly, who feels the absence of her father (and acknowledges it). Pair her with a man who's not quite as grown up as others perhaps feel he should be, who also comes from a broken home, who carries his own demons and can't seem to quiet them, and you've got a recipe for one of the more interesting love stories I've read in a while.

Written by an obvious cinephile, Unteachable immerses the reader in a near-cinematic experience as Maise narrates her life as if it's a movie. There are montages, fast-forwards, flashbacks, references to cast, scene, action, etc., and several film references. Maise dreams of going to film school, Evan teaches film theory, and they quickly learn to communicate through the use of that shared interest.

Maise and Evan are different in a lot of ways, yet so alike that it was hard to imagine them not being together. They each deal with emotional upheaval in perhaps not-so-healthy ways, and this draws them to each other. Maise muses that she's not ignorant of the fact that what draws her and Evan together is a shared darkness, a pain that only those who've suffered can see lurking behind the eyes of those likely afflicted.

"There are moments, when you're getting to know someone, when you realize something deep and buried in you is deep and buried in them, too. It feels like meeting a stranger you've known your whole life."

What made this book so nice to read was that neither character dwelt on this sadness unnecessarily. The reader is not subjected to lengthy fits of melancholia, but is instead treated to the burgeoning effects love and understanding have on each character in turn. Maise slowly disentangles herself from the cynicism and fear that have kept her repressed, and Evan begins to heal as he's gifted the love of a young woman who adores him while also not allowing him to run roughshod over her. Indeed, the power balance was quite masterfully done, with Maise and Evan alternately taking the reigns of their relationship and trying to steer the other in the right direction. The give and take of these two characters was refreshing, and I loved that they both cared, but also made mistakes. It's those mistakes that I loved the most, because even though I wanted to scream at the two of them to be more careful, their actions were completely consistent with who they were; hurt, lonely, reckless, and desperately trying to figure things out. They both crave some comfort, some semblance of solace, and they find it in each other even when circumstances conspire to keep them separate and alone. They don't make the best decisions, but they make the only decisions they know how to make. They are not perfect, and I love them for that.

I know a lot of people might be skeezed out by the age difference between Maise and Evan, but having read a lot of stories based in the 18th and 19th centuries, an 18-year-old woman with a 32-year-old man does not in the least bother me. The fact that Evan is Maise's teacher could be a black mark merely due to the aforementioned power imbalance, but like I said, the power within their relationship shifts continually, just as it should in any relationship. Evan teaches Maise, but Maise also teaches Evan, and they both come out better for it in the end.

I loved this book for a lot of reasons. I loved the prose (of course) and the setting and the pace. I loved the story arcs and the humor. I loved Maise's irreverent, sarcastic view of the world, I loved Evan's sweet but conflicted nature, I loved how the two of them managed to build a relationship under stressful circumstances, but were still willing to try and make it work despite all the obvious obstacles. I'm a firm believer in soaking up happiness wherever you can find it, and having read this book, I'm convinced Ms. Raeder feels the same. Life is too short to worry about the what ifs. I want to live in a world where people love with a bit more reckless abandon, without the constraints of a society hellbent on making emotions rational.

"And that made my heart ache, too - the thought of how much happiness lay scattered across the universe, unrealized, in fragments, waiting for the right twist of fate to bring it together."

I'll admit that about halfway through this wonderful story, I became quite concerned about the ending, wondering how Ms. Raeder was going to balance the romance with the rather rational doubts about the fate of the relationship. I saw the possibility of two endings; the unutterably heartbreaking separation or the sickeningly cheesy declarations of love and devotion. Imagine my surprise, then, when the ending was neither. No, I'm not going to give it away. You'll have to read it for yourself. I certainly wasn't disappointed, and I hope you won't be, either.

"You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing."
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.9k followers
March 24, 2014

What a book!! Beautiful. Forbidden. Captivating.

Forbidden love is so alluring. I think all of us are drawn to it one way or another. The thrill, the fear, the heightened sense of awareness... everything about it is dangerous and yet totally irresistible.

Now, this book is a student/teacher romance so yes, the taboo is there. Loud and clear. But, for those of you who are unsure based on that, it might help to know that the heroine is 18 so the issue here is purely moral, not legal.

Before I even speak about the story though, I need to take a moment to gush about the writing. Unteachable is a beautifully written book. I am in awe of Leah Raeder's writing talent. Her unique style is lyrical, poetic and vivid. The story grabbed my attention from the very first line and, by mid-way through the first chapter, I had goosebumps and spent the rest of my read desperately overusing the highlight function on my Kindle.

I'm going to do something I very rarely do in reviews... I'm going to share the book's official blurb instead of describing it myself because, in all honesty, reading this blurb was what sold me on the book - especially that last line.

Here, see for yourself:

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.

Holy wow! Right?

Well, the whole book is written like that! So if you liked that blurb, you definitely want to read this one! It's the kind of story that has just enough reality in it to keep you grounded but just enough fairytale to sweep you away.

My first love from this book goes to the heroine, Maise. I wanted to be her best friend. She had that kind of quiet inner strength, raw cynical outlook, pure honesty and quick-witted sass that made her a refreshingly real character. She was the kind of girl who wasn't going to make any apologies for who she was and yet wasn't going to blame anyone else for her problems. She owned them and she owned herself despite the fact that she was still figuring herself out and finding her place in the world. She was both vulnerable and yet tough as nails; sharp, smart and perceptive beyond her years and yet still naive in other ways and still learning the ways of the world.

Evan was an interesting character. For the record, he was 32 years old. He wan't super rich, or super kinky, or really super anything. He was just a sweet, gorgeous, flawed guy who fell for a girl he shouldn't have.

"He listened to us earnestly, his face filled with curiosity, amusement, respect. He was smarter than us but not smug. He shared intelligence like a secret, making us conspirators in it. I could feel the whole class falling in love with him. And every time his eyes touched me, the air jolted."

I  kept wavering back and forth with my feelings for him. Yes, a part of me fell for him but the questions kept running through my mind... Granted, he didn't know she was a student when they met but after wards, was I able to consider him a hero? Was I okay with what he was doing? Should I judge him? Should I accept him? What about his actions - were they right, wrong, acceptable? How much did age really matter when the heart knew what it wanted? I felt very conflicted. My heart and mind battled over it. I was uncomfortable with his actions to be sure but at the same time, he really was an okay guy and so that zone between right and wrong was getting fuzzier and fuzzier.

"Was he my boyfriend? Secret lover? Person abusing his position of authority and trust?"

I mean, what if your happily-ever-after person didn't come neatly packaged up in the body of a person society thinks you should be with? Would that make being with them ok? Or are there just some relationships that are just not meant to be? If the heart says yes, shouldn't that be enough? I struggled at times but I loved the questions the story raised. And I didn't see all the twists coming because there were elements in the story I won't reference directly that made me consider him differently in the end than I did in the beginning. But despite all my questions, I couldn't help but feel right about them. Wrong, but right. I loved them together and truthfully, if you looked at them just as two separate people devoid of titles or age gaps, they were perfect for each other.

"It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one's letting me in on the secret."

There are moments, when you're getting to know someone, when you realize something deep and buried in you is deep and buried in them too. It feels like meeting a stranger you've known your whole life.

They struggled with their relationship too - each in their own way. But there was no doubt that what they both wanted most was each other.

"This feels wrong, Maise. I'm your teacher. It's not just about getting caught. It's how our lives will get screwed up even if no one finds out. Sneaking around, secrecy, paranoia - "

"You're seriously underestimating how much I like espionage. And it's just until school ends."

"Is that how you want to spend your senior year?"

"I don't want to spend it wondering what could have been...  Do you really want to stop?"

"No," he said softly.

Yes, it's true that technically maybe they should have stopped it but... sometimes, if you play by the rules, you miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime life-changing experience and I can totally understand why they both took a chance on it.

We're told the story from Maise's POV but she was telling it after having lived it so she was looking back on the story almost as though she was remembering what happened and giving little warnings and hints of things to come and what to watch out for. It made the whole story even more thrilling and exciting because the anticipation and tension kept building.

Maise went through a journey of self discovery in this book. There were constant shifts in language - referring to Evan sometimes by name and at other times as 'my teacher', and referring to herself as both an adult and a girl. She was figuring herself out and these subtleties depicted the conflict going on in her mind.

"Human brains don't fully develop until age twenty-five. Seven more years until I was a full person. Who the hell am I? I thought. Too old to be a real teenage, too young to drink. Old enough to die in a war, fuck grown men, and be completely confused about what I was doing with my life… I thought about the man I was waiting for, the way my eyes had been gradually opening, sincerity replacing sarcasm, the way I felt I was constantly waking up and yet slipping deeper into a beautiful dream."

The story pulled me back and forth. I'd be lulled into the beauty of them falling in love and then jerked back to the reality of what they were actually doing and then pulled into the forbidden thrill.

"I kissed my teacher in the shadow of the water tower, beneath the stars."

I loved Maise's raw honesty and Evan's open understanding. I loved the simplicity of having characters make mistakes, and simply tell the other person and then be forgiven. Nothing that happened in this book made me roll my eyes. The way they handled their relationship and situation was refreshing. I loved that when things got tough, their answer was first to try to work together at finding a solution rather than throwing their hands up in the air and walking away.

I have quotes highlighted on nearly every single page. There'd be points where I'd just stop and just seriously take a minute to just stop and reread a section because they were so well written.

The book is told in such a way that within each chapter was several sections and each of those sections told it's own little story. At the end of almost each one, I'd just sit back and go 'woah'.

This book doesn't try to convince you of anything. You're not 'made' to be okay with the relationship in it. Rather, the author presents you with the story in a beautiful, lyrical way and regardless of what my brain was telling me, my romantic heart believed in Maise and Evan.

"Who fixes broken people? Is it only other broken people, ones who've already been ruined? And do we need to be fixed? It was the messiness and hurt in our pasts that drove us, and that same hurt connected us at a subdermal level, the kind of scars written so deeply in your cells that you can't even see them any more, only recognize them in someone else."

The first three quarters of the book is a slow burn - captivating and yet not intense. But then, around the 75% mark, there was a big switch and things really became to speed up, come together, and sometimes fall apart. I appreciated the change of pace and I didn't see the twist coming. Not. at. all.

I've heard some readers say that it needed an epilogue and I have to say that I actually agree to a certain extent. It both does and doesn't need one.

First - yes, it's a happy ending. No worries there. But I did want more. I mean, in some ways, the ending was absolutely perfect. It tied it back the the very beginning of the story beautifully and left you absolutely hopeful for the future in a way that was full of potential. But, the romance reader in me wants more. I guess, I always want more... ;)

I give the writing 5 stars and the story 4 stars.

Unteachable was a beautifully written book that wrapped me up in the thrill of forbidden romance.

I can't believe this was a debut novel. What an entrance into the writing world!

“You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing.” 

My casting for Evan and Maise.


For more of my reviews, book news and updates:
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Profile Image for Christy.
3,923 reviews33.1k followers
August 4, 2013
5 Unteachable Stars!
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You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing.
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Eighteen year old Maise is at the local carnival the summer before her senior year of high school when she meets him. Evan Wilke. Evan is a little older than Maise, but that isn’t anything new to her. She has had her fair share of older men.
I’m kind of screwed up from growing up without a father, and I like it when they try to daddy me.

Something about Evan is different. They have a connection that she hasn’t had with the other men. She feels something. It’s intense. So she runs away from him.

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Maise doesn’t have a great home life. Her father isn’t around, and her mother... well it would probably be better if her mother wasn’t around as well. She is a dealer, an addict and she makes Maise’s life harder than it needs to be. Maise is at school. Her first day as a senior. She walks into her Film Studies class (the only one she is really interested in) and she see’s him. Evan Wilke. Mr. Wilke. Her new teacher.

Even though it’s risky, these two have this pull towards one another. They can’t stay away. Such chemistry. Every scene they’re together just sizzles.
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With Maise’s issues at home, Evan is the escape she needs. Evan makes her feel things she hasn’t ever felt before. She is falling for him.
“I’ve been obsessed with you since that first night. Not just with you, but how you make me feel.”

“How do I make you feel?”
Alive. Real. Valuable. Whole.
“Like myself.” I said. “More than I’ve ever been.”

“Who are you?”

“Your student.”

He shook his head. “No. You’re the one teaching me.”

“Part of falling in love with someone is actually falling in love with yourself. Realizing that you're gorgeous, you're fearless and unpredictable, you're a firecracker spitting light, entrancing a hundred faces that stare up at you with starry eyes.”

The characters in this story are real. Flawed. Broken. This was not your typical ‘student/teacher’ romance. Maise was not your typical sweet, young, virginal heroine. Evan isn’t the typical older man either. He has some issues as well. Secrets. Big ones. I feel part of what made Maise and Evan’s connection so strong is that they both had that brokenness.

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The two carry on their relationship for quite some time. They have a place to get away, which makes it easier. Maise feels things for Evan she never thought she was capable of feeling. With him, she is happy. Free.
‘When I met you, my eyes opened. I looked around, and realized I could stand up whenever I wanted. There was firm ground under my feet. That shore in the distance was an illusion. I was already somewhere beautiful.’

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Unlike some, Evan is much more worried about Maise in this situation than himself. He doesn’t want her future to be damaged because of him. I respected Evan for that. A few other books I’ve read about student/teacher relationships, the teacher was always afraid of getting fired or how it would look for them. Evan’s concerns were much different. As risky as it is, he can’t stay away from Maise. They are in it together 100%.

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Maise and Evan have to be careful. But they aren’t near as careful as they should be. There is always a fear of getting caught. The longer their relationship continues, the riskier things get for them.

A true forbidden love story. Unconventional. Controversial.
“I can’t hold on to you. You’re like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands.”

Is the forbidden aspect of their love what’s keeping them together... the risk, the thrill. What happens when that is no longer there?

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The last 25% will throw you for a loop! With the secrets, the drama, the lies... can they make it past it all? Against the odds, can they make it work???

What can I say about this book... I can’t even pinpoint everything I loved about it. It came out of no where for me. Just an amazing read. I’ll start with the writing. The writing style: brilliant. I love this authors voice. It’s poetically written. I was captivated by the writing just after reading the first few pages. I highlighted something on every other page it seemed like. Everything flowed perfectly. It was a different writing style, but written beautifully. One of the best debut novels I have ever read.

The story was told from Maise’s voice. What can I say about Maise??? She is brash, bold, interesting, witty and strong. I am usually a sucker for the hero of the story, and while I liked Evan a lot- Maise stole the book. I love real characters. Even though he frustrated me at times, I did like Wesley. His mom was great, too.

Maise’s journey was one of self discovery. Discovering her own self worth. Discovering what path she wants to take in life. Who she wants to be. Even more, who she doesn’t want to be.

I was pulled in from the first page and I couldn’t put it down. Books like this make you question things. Whats right and wrong. Just because something is legal, does it make it right? Just because something isn't’ socially accepted, does that make it wrong? Love books that make you think. I love real, raw and honest books. I loved this book! This story gets an A+ from me ;)

"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."

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“We have no age. We exist outside of time. We’re timeless.”
Profile Image for Jo ★The Book Sloth★.
485 reviews433 followers
January 23, 2016
1 You're a Statistic Waiting to Happen Stars

Unteachable revolves around a girl, a young woman really, raised in poverty by a highly inadequate mother, in conditions no child should ever witness, much less face every day. But Unteachable isn't a life story, it is a love story, even better, it is a "forbidden love" story, and as most "forbidden love" stories, it starts with a glance that leads to a night that should have never happened. It speaks about the romance that develops between this too-jaded for her years girl and her high-school teacher and how that romance affects their already screwed-up life. How one bad choice leads to more bad choices to wrong decisions to twisted situations to a fucked up year. Can love survive so many wrong turns?


I had a weird sense of deja vu with the beginning of this book. The whole "one-night-stand turns out to be my teacher" thing has been done by Pretty Litte Liars(the series, I haven't read the books) much better IMO. Unteachable was the equivalent of the train wreck for me. How can you like absolutely nothing about a book and still feel compelled to finish it, to see how things work out? And I honestly didn't like anything about the book. I didn't like the characters, I didn't like the writing, I didn't like the romance and I definitely didn't like the ending.

The writing

The writing was... I can barely find the words to describe the writing. I guess it was way too poetic for my taste. The whole book read like a fucking dream-scene. Too many metaphors and comparisons, too many "stars in eyes" and "inflating heart"s and "breaths suspended in limbo"s, or whatever version of those the author used, for my liking. Some people(most people it would seem) find it beautiful. To me it was just tiring and annoying and made me want to quit 25% in the book. To quote the author, obviousy "pretendiously lyrical fiction" doesn't agree with me.

Prime example of the shit spewed every other sentence.

The Romance

The love story was shallow at best, obsessive at worst. For the most part it was sex-based, since more than half of the book that was all Maise and Evan did, have sex that is. After that half, it becomes obvious that Maise has fallen in obsession with Evan. Everything except Evan is a blur in her mind. School, her "friends", her mother, all has become irrelevant and the only hours she "lives" are the hours spent with her crush. And it is a crush, because how can you love someone you know next to nothing about? For about 70% of the book Maise has to literally drag any tidbit of info about Evan out of him. After the 70% point, everything Maise learns isn't positive since it points to the fact that what she has with Evan is based on lies, omitions and half-truths. So...where exactly is the love there? And if your love is one that has to be kept a secret from everyone, one that you have to lie about every day, can it survive in the light? When the thrill of hiding, a thrill that was one of the things that excited them, wears off is there anything left behind? I honestly don't know.

That was what we'd finally been forced to confront: if our relationship was based on forbiddenness, what would happen when it was no longer forbidden?


What a stuck-up, self-righteous bitch. Maise could, and should, have been a heroine I could root for. A heroine I would want to see succeeding and having everything life owed her, and life did owe her, BIG! Beeing born to a junkie/dealer/prostitute mother who gave no shit about her was bound to be tough. Said mother being your only relative, even worse. I can literally not even imagine how much this can twist a person. This however does not mean that I have to approve of her or her shitty choices just because she had it bad. So, without further ado, Maise's screw ups...

Grow up. This is real. The world is ugly and nasty and fucked up, and so are we.

1) Boys her own age are just kids and Maise is too mature and jaded for kids. She needs real men, grown up men.
I can get behind the idea that a girl with Maise's life can't have much in common with other high-school kids, but believing a whole age group, your age group, beneath you just means that you're a pretendious bitch. Especially when all you're looking for is a random hook-up not a relationship or even a real conversation. Yes, a lot can be said about experience in THAT department but, sweety, you just can't be the only "special snowflake" out there. And when she goes as far as to put down her only friend using his age, she basically crashed and burned completely for me.

2) Maise won't sacrifice her future by being irresponsible in sex, so let's leave the condom behind, that shows plenty of responsibility.
Our mature and responsible heroine won't jeopardise her future by doing something as stupid as getting pregnant for no man, not even Evan, but she's on the pill, so let's go bareback. Because, as we all know in the 21st century, condoms only protect us from pregnancy. Inconsequential things like STDs and AIDS only happen to other people. So sure, don't use a ccondom with a guy you know less than a month and who, let's not forget, actually started as an one-night-stand, because you're mature and responsible like that.

3) She becomes a drug dealer because, hey, "she didn't have a choice".
That's a huge NO for me. I don't care how many slaps life has given you, I don't care if Zeus himself is threatening to out your "forbidden affair". There are always choices, like going to the police, or letting your teacher/boyfriend quit his job as he should have done long ago, or hell, what she actually did in the end. Your only choice isn't providing 17-year-old girls with drugs. I wonder, if one ODed, how the hell would you live with yourself then, oh self-righteous one?

But nope... In all of this Maise is somehow better that other 18 years olds.


And here comes Evan the liar. Evan, who from the beginning supossedly wanted what he had with Maise to be "more than an one-night-stand", goes on to lie to her for half a year. He lies about his past, or at least ommits some pretty serious shit, he lies about his friend, hell, he even lies about his fucking name. This guy gets involved with a student even though he already knows exactly how bad it can get and how much it can screw over your life. He just can't resist an "adoring young fan" because that's exactly what this is about. He never even really tried to stir Maise away from a relationship that was obviously unheathy for a girl who was already too full of issues. Instead he manipulated her into secrecy by a series of suggestions that he give up his job and livelihood(not so much since he could work at another school) so they could be together openly, but never actually did it until it all came crashing around them. He even had the nerve to suggest she quit his class. A class Maise needed on her curriculum to more easily get into her school of choice. Way to show you care you asshole.

And here comes the "statistic waiting to happen" part. Since he actually admits that her age is one of the things that attracted him to her(pervert much?), I can practically see their future. In 8-15 years, when Maise won't be so young and vibrant and full of life anymore, there will be another young and adoring girl who will like "real men" and not her high-school mates. There will be another "quicky in the car" followed by a secret affair, while Maise waits at home, probably feeding their 2.4 kids and planting roses besides their white picket fence. The author herself proved my point with Wesley's perfect mom and how she dated her teacher and how, now, said teacher is going out with the new, young, 22-year-old model and she is divorced and at home raising their son.

I know... How about not looking for it up your students' skirts??? Just a suggestion!


STALKER ALERT!!! That's all....

The Ending

The ending can be described with two words: TOO RUSHED! Everything was resolved so fast and neatly, it actually made my head spin. I would have preferred a bittersweet(got into school, never saw Evan again), or even a sad(had to retake exams to get into school, never saw Evan again), or even a weird(got into school, went into a relationship with Wesley) ending much more that I liked the HEA we actually got. I can't believe I'm saying this, me, the person who despises anything but a HEA, but I actually hated it this time. Everything suddenly fell into place and all the built-up, all the drama was for nothing. Suddenly there were choices and everything was right in the world.

The thought of how much happiness lay scattered across the universe, unrealized, in fragments, waiting for the right twist of fate to bring it together.

This book soooo wasn't the right twist for me...
Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,122 followers
March 26, 2017
Reread.........loved it just as much as I did when I first put my hands on this book!!!

Original review:
”Somewhere in the universe, two hearts reached out and connected.

Opening line…
When you're eighteen, there's fuck-all to do in a Southern Illinois summer but eat fried pickles, drink PBR tallboys you stole from your mom, and ride the Tilt-a-Whirl till you hurl. Which is exactly what I was doing the night I met Him.

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This is the best book I have read in 2015!!!
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It wasn’t just the fantastic storyline…..the love affair between a teacher and a student….
 photo tumblr_miahd8n0kZ1s5rmrwo1_500_zpsdymqz3nj.gif… it wasn’t just the incredible first pages…
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, it wasn’t just the most beautiful , the most lyrical writing ever…
”and that made my heart ache, too. The thought of how much happiness lay scattered across the universe, unrealized in fragments, waiting for the right twist of fate to bring it together.”
, it wasn’t just the intense chemistry, passion and emotional connection between Maisie & Evan…
Evan telling Maisie
”You’re the first. You’re the first of so many things.”

and Maisie…..
”The world is new when I’m with you.”
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it’s all those things that have stayed with me ….but most of all, what made this book UNFORGETABLE for me, was Maisie!!! Evan was so right when he said….
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What an incredible and compelling and admirable character. There was so much about her that I loved. The sad and horrible upbringing she has endured doesn’t stop her from following her dreams. She goes after what she wants. She’s strong; she’s honest and not afraid to own up to her actions.
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Mature and at the same time naive. A compelling journey of a young and broken girl finding herself.

"I can't hold on to you. You're like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands."
I connected with her and loved seeing her trying to find herself and what she wanted to do with her life.

I so wanted things to work out for Maisie & Evan…I had to hold myself back from sneaking a peep at the last page….
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…well, the ending was totally unexpected!!!! But I was happy how the story wrapped up….

This is a book that will stay with me for a very long time and it’s one of those that I will definitely read again and again.

I can’t recommend this book enough for anyone who loves a beautifully written love story.

It’s incredible that this is the author’s debut novel!! I can’t wait to read more by her.
Profile Image for Natalie.
570 reviews3,197 followers
June 5, 2020
All I can say is that I was so into the story that I forgot to take notes, wow.
This story was not at all what I was expecting, though a bit melodramatic towards the end.

Also, Siobhan was incredibly wonderful, I’m really glad Maise connected with her.

“I am not the wise woman you think,” she said, tilting her glass. Starlight skimmed off the rim and shot into her eyes, sparkling. “But I will tell you this: don’t put your life on hold for someone, or you’ll wake up at forty-two with an empty house and a terrifying sense of freedom and no energy or innocence left to enjoy it.”

*Spoilers below*:

But I was kind of disappointed when Maise went back to Evan after Wesley showed his Docudrama about her life and everyone in class started discussing it, I realized how wrong their relationship was in my eyes and how I couldn’t stand her being with him. We’d been in Maise’s head for so long, it was easy to forget the wrongness. But Wesley’s Docudrama showed me how it looked from an outsider’s perspective. I was in such a haze, just like Maise, and it was like finally waking up after I saw it.

*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Unteachable, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!*

This review and more can be found on my blog.
Profile Image for Debra.
474 reviews2,410 followers
August 7, 2013

I met him at a carnival, of all corny places...

"You can call it love. Or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing."

For days I've been hearing nothing but very positive reactions about Leah Raeder's exquisite writing style and her NA debut novel Unteachable. So, of course, I had to find out for myself what everyone kept raving about. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. The author's lyrical, prose-like writing style managed to suck me in from the moment I started reading it until the very last page.

Unteachable deals with a common taboo subject: student/teacher relationship.

Yet, it never became predictable or clichéd in any way, which is part of the reason I ended up enjoying this story so much.

It all starts out on a warm summer evening...

Maise O'Malley is an eighteen year old girl with a broken past. Growing up with an absent father and an irresponsible mother has left her having to take care of herself from a young age. The lack of a loving family has left her feeling empty inside. But throughout the years, she has found her own coping mechanisms to handle this void inside her.

"Thanks Dad, for leaving a huge void in my life that Freud says has to be filled with dick."

I immediately liked Maise's no-nonsense, sarcastic attitude. She's down to earth, doesn't care what other people think about her and she seems wise beyond her years.

Every month she tries to confront one of her fears. This time, she decides to face the fear of being on a roller coaster ride at the carnival, all by herself.

And that's where she meets Evan.

Right at the last moment he joins her on the ride that will change both of their lives for good.


"You're pretty brave," he said, lowering the bar over us. "Must be a veteran, sitting up front."

"It's my first time," I said. Well, first time on my own terms.

He smiled. It hit his face like a camera flash. "Mine too."


And so it begins...

Their one night of fun, passion and carelessness..

A night that ends in the backseat of a car.

And as soon as it begins, it's over. Because, Maise doesn't do relationships. She never lets her true feelings get involved, never lets herself get attached.

"Yeah, I hook up with older guys. And then I leave them. Before they can leave me."

But Evan isn't a guy she can leave behind just like that. Because a few days later, on the first day of senior year, she finds out Evan is her new teacher: Mr. fucking Wilke.

And as much as they both try to deny it, neither of them is able to pretend that one summer night not so long ago, never happened.

They're unable to deny the palpable chemistry that still runs through the air whenever they're in the same room, especially when it's a classroom...

"Our gazes struck like flint and steel. And I realized that gunsmoke smell wasn't ozone. It was us. We burned."

♦ It seems wrong, but it feels so right. ♦

It's forbidden, taboo but at the same time deliberatingly exciting.

They embark on a passionate affair with a dangerous edge to it.

Because what if all they have is based on the exhilirating feeling of forbiddenness instead of rightfulness, lust instaed of love?

♦ And what happens when everything they've been trying to keep under wraps starts spiralling out of control? ♦

Unteachable is a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time you are reading it. I could not seem to put it down and ended up reading it in one day!

There were hot and sexy scenes as well as dramatic and emotional ones. This story was filled with passion, dispair, love, lust, friendship, betrayal and hope. I think the author has done an outstanding job at creating a unique, powerful story that will stay with me for a very long time and I would highly recommend everyone to give it a try. I'm already looking forward to reading much more work of this positively surprising new author!


He touched my cheek. "Who are you?"
"Your student."

He shook his head. "No. You're the one teaching me."

"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."

4.5 STARS.
Profile Image for SueBee★bring me an alpha!★.
2,417 reviews14.3k followers
August 15, 2017
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★★★★ 1/2! Unteachable (stand-alone). Debut by Leah Raeder. Beautifully told story about a forbidden & obsessive teacher-student romance with life lessons learned!

“No pretensions of goodness, of trying to do the right thing. We’d both wanted to embrace this fucked-up thing between us.”

Unteachable, at first glance, appears to be a teacher-student romance about forbidden love… But to me it ended up being so much more than that, beautifully and effortlessly told with life lessons learned.

Story opens up with Maise O’Malley attending the carnival at the end of summer break before her senior year in high school. On the roller-coaster, Deathsnake she ends up sitting next to a handsome guy, Evan and during those scary minutes on the rollercoaster they hit it off. They end up having wild sex in Evan’s old Monte Carlo and while making plans afterwards Maise tricks Evan and takes off home on her bike.

Maise has had a troubled upbringing with an absentee father and drug dealer mom. She has pretty much raised herself and somehow against-all-odds turned out to be a focused, smart and mostly mature, beyond her years, young lady. She is determined not to end up like her mom and she wants to attend Film school. One of her flaws, tied into her daddy-issues:

“Yeah, I hook up with older guys. And then I leave them, before they can leave me.”

Her senior year in high school is going to be critical in preparation for College. Imagine the shock Maise felt when she shows up for class and discovers that Evan, Mr. Evan Wilke is her new Film Studies teacher.

“Our gazes struck like flint and steel. And I realized that gunsmoke smell wasn’t ozone. It was us. We burned.”

Evan and Maise can’t stay away. Their attraction is intense, like an obsession. Sizzling, poetic sex scenes and a brewing impossible romance. She is eighteen and so in the eyes of the law it’s legal, but most likely against school policy and with a clear conflict of interest.

Unteachable follows Maise and Evan during her last year of high school. So much is at stake as Maise needs this class for Film school. It will prove to be a beyond challenging year with their insane and forbidden attraction that fuels jealousy, envy, villains, deceit, lies, blackmail and heartache.

“You should love something while you have it, love it fully and without reservation, even if you know you’ll lose it someday.”

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Six words to describe Maise O’Malley: Captivating, smart, focused, strong, resilient and flawed.

“..his voice was guttural. “I can’t hold on to you. You’re like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands.”

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Eric Evan Wilke remained a bit of an enigma throughout. Six words to describe Evan: Broken, flawed, talented, immature, lovable and enigmatic.

“I saw his pupils dilating like a pulsing black heart. I saw every tremor of strain and pleasure that went through him. I watched what I did to him, how vulnerable he became as he gave himself to me…”

Unteachable is a beautifully written story and I am highly recommending! I might have wished the ending wasn’t as rushed and/or an epilogue could have followed. Spellbinding storytelling! Captivating heroine! Excellent plot! Thanks Ms. Raeder!

“That’s all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths.”

Hero rating: 4 stars
Heroine rating: 5 stars
Sex scenes rating: 5 stars
Sex scenes frequency: 4.5 stars
Storyline concept rating: 4.5 stars
Storytelling skills rating: 5+ stars
Story ending rating: 3.5 stars
Book editing rating (5 = no edits spotted): 4.5 stars
Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Would I recommend this book: Yes.
Would I re-read this book: Probably.
Would I read future books by this author: Yes.

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Profile Image for "That's All" Ash.
157 reviews1,934 followers
August 6, 2013
I fell so hard into this story, its words might as well have been made out of concrete.

Everyone’s talking about Leah Raeder’s writing. And they should be. Because she writes with such a red nail-polished confidence, that it’s pretty much intimate with impossible not to fall into it. Her writing style is effortless, interesting, and uninterested; and she writes with words that are tantamount to gunmetal and peonies.

Or something. ;)

What’s even better than the writing itself, is that she uses its lyrical beauty to describe something darkly controversial:

Teacher and student.
And their intensely sexual and emotional love affair.

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She meets him at the summer carnival.
You know the place.
Where adulthood is exchanged for carousel tickets.

This is where their story begins. Because on that warm night, Maise met a boy.

And he was very much an adult.

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Now, I’m not going to tell you this is where she fell in love with him. And I’m not going to tell you that this was their point-of-no-return. That comes later.

Because just for now, this was just a night where just a girl met just a guy she just wanted to fuck and then she just… left.

In the moments between these events, we learn a lot about Maise.

See, on the surface; Maise is just an eighteen-year-old girl who lives with her single mom, and is approaching her senior year in highscool. But she’s actually a very diamond-faceted girl with an old soul that’s in a hurry to grow up. She only sleeps with older guys because they have the habit and emotional capacity for not getting emotionally involved.

Just like her.

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But then she meets Evan at the carnival. And she actually likes him, which freaks her out, especially when he wants to see her again after they have sex in the carnival parking lot. But that’s okay, because she never expects to see him again.

Until she comes face to face with him during the first day of school. And now, Evan, the guy she screwed in the carnival parking lot is now Mr. Wilke, her teacher.

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Cue shock.

And cue the hell out of sexual tension.

Right away, Evan/Mr. Wilke and Maise feel that sexual attraction and overall connection they shared during that not-too-long-ago night they spent together.

And fail miserably. Because suddenly, they’re sharing heated glances in the classroom; secret caresses as they pass each other in the hallway; hotel rooms in the late afternoon; and reckless pulse-igniting trysts against the chalkboard.

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But all too soon, they begin cutting it too close. And the ante gets higher and higher. Stolen moments turn into desperate ones. The kind of desperate moments where they silently ask:

Are they truly attracted to each other?
Or are they attracted to their clandestine secret…
And the thrill behind being found out?

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Profile Image for Alexis *Reality Bites*.
757 reviews3,654 followers
August 8, 2013
MINOR SPOILERS -mature content reader discretion is advised.
5 STARS out of 5
Genre:NA Romance Erotica
NOTE: The heroine is 18yrs of age.

UNPUTDOWNABLE! Some books just give it to you the way you need it. And that is EXACTLY what Unteachable did for me.

->The writing is addictive
-->The plot line is addictive
--->The characters are addictive

I just can’t get enough!

Maise and Evan have that Reckless love, that Crazy love, that off the wall won’t stop till I had enough kind of love, that I don’t really care we can have it anywhere kind of love.(Thanks for that line Alicia Keys!)

Two people doing something they know they shouldn’t. You know they shouldn’t.
The teacher and his student, yet…
->You feel the passion every time they get together
-->You feel the thrill of possibly being caught
--->You feel the excitement of finally being together after a long school day/week

In Unteachable we meet Maise O’Malley. A young girl entering in to her senior year of high school yet has been playing the role of an adult woman since she was just a young girl. With no daddy in sight and a drug selling coke head of a mother; it’s safe to say that Maise has had a F’d up life. She may not have control of the cards life dealt her but she can however change the path she will take in the future. Which is exactly what she plans to do.

‘He could have said, I’m a teacher, and everything would have been different.’ ~Maise

It’s August and summer is reaching its end. Maise is at the carnival drinking beer and hopping on ride after ride. The moment she decides to face her fear and get on a roller coaster called Deathsnake..That one decision changes her life.

Maise finds herself in the front row on Deathsnake with Evan an older guy that she not only finds attractive..*grins slyly* She also decides after spending some time with him that she wants to fuck him.(her words not mine)
And she does.
In his car.

Now this is nothing new for Maise, in fact she prefers older men. The problem with this particular man is that he actually her teacher. Neither knows of this fact yet. Later readers see how the forbidden aspect of this encounter jump starts a teacher-student affair.

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Nothing, not one damn thing about Maise’s life is simple, it’s quite F’d up actually. She is running from the demons that have made her mother’s life a living hell. A mother she refuses to be like. A doped up..drug dealing..drunken whore. Could life get any worse? The answer is yes.

Back to school...
That moment when she goes to class and they lock eyes and she watches his realization set in seconds after hers…

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Worlds Collide

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‘There’s something so terrible about wanting something you’ve already had. You know exactly what you’re missing. Your body knows precisely how to shape itself around the ache, the hollowness that wants to be filled. Jesus Christ, this was only the end of the first week of school. No fucking way would I make it to winter break, let alone June.’ - Maise

Mr. Wilke
Evan Wilke is her film teacher; he is 32yrs old and in love with Maise. His love is one thing that I never questioned; I think it was obvious from the first night they met. He didn't want the night to end with her and you could feel it.
Evan also has a few secrets. Ha, don’t they all?!

This teacher student affair had me enraptured from start to finish. Maise and Evan are electrifying when they are together you can't help but get zapped while reading.

“Why do I need you like this?” he said, his voice rasping. I looked at his glassy, mercurial eyes, the haggard lines of want etched into his face, and said, “Because you’re addicted.”

‘For an endless moment all I felt was penetration. Slow and hard. Slow and deep. He made sure I felt every single thrust.’ -Maise

“..I want to keep you. I want to hold on and never let you go.” –Evan

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‘This was the inescapable truth. No matter who we were outside, in here we were teacher and student.’ –Maise

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My thoughts
HOLY HELL the writing is superb the story flowed and pulled you in to this intense forbidden love affair and then BAM the author slaps you in the face with reality. With lines like

‘We knew what we were doing, Your Honor.’

SAY WHAT? Every time Maise would think of being caught readers are hit with lines that are equivalent to having cold water poured over your head. Am I the only one who felt that way while reading this??? Sheesh. I kept thinking please pleeease don’t let them get caught. I LOVE LOVE LOVED THIS BOOK!

The characters -Maise is a free spirit and makes no apologies for being that way. She knows what she wants and she goes after it full throttle and you will easily love that about her character. Her ability to survive and not get sucked in to the harsh world that greets her gladly on a daily basis is almost astounding.
And yeah she gets backed in to a corner and has to claw her way out. But that’s just it; she claws her way out and she DOES NOT LOOK BACK.
-Evan THIS MAN. I fell hard for this man. He was sweet and sexy and truly loved Maise. They each healed one another and encouraged one another in every way. Him struggling to allow Maise to live her life at 18 with or without him was heart breaking but so so sweet. If only the world had more Evan Wilke's out there.

My Ratings
Characters- Sexy, funny, lovable
Writing Style- EXCELLENT
Plot/Storyline- Teacher student romance
Overall- I LOVED IT!!!! READ IT!

Now go forth and read. Then come tell us about it on Goodreads!

For more reviews got to http://realitybites-letsgetlost.blogs...

Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,050 followers
October 10, 2016

It isn’t exactly a beautiful story but I wouldn’t say it’s ugly either although I could definitely say that the writing is both which I think is quite artistic. There are many parts that are brazen, reckless even harsh, the characters exorcised the demons inside them a whole lot of times and Lolita is often used as reference (you’ll get the metaphor when you read the book ;)) but several parts [which I wished were just a tad bit more than the ugly parts ;)] are also very beautifully and thoughtfully written. It’s a very good symbolic technique to depict life. Thus, if there’s one word that I could use to exactly describe the story, it would be realistic.

I appreciate it when authors manage to make the readers think outside the box even if we don’t necessarily agree or approve, make us grasp life’s ambiguities and make the readers see that there is good and evil in everyone. A lot of my 2016 reads have managed to do that. It Ends With Us, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, okay fine, The Girl In 6E and now Unteachable. It’s not a perfect read, there are strengths and weaknesses but it’s still generally a worthwhile read.

Just one simple advice: Keep out of children’s reach. ;)

Do check out Henz's review too for an even more positive perspective of the novel. <3
Profile Image for Angela.
685 reviews1,400 followers
November 28, 2020
Why has it taken me so long to post my review??
“Part of falling in love with someone is actually falling in love with yourself. Realizing that you're gorgeous, you're fearless and unpredictable, you're a firecracker spitting light, entrancing a hundred faces that stare up at you with starry eyes.”

What did you just do to me Leah Raeder?!?! Was my heart just beautifully broken?? I think so.

Unteachable is about a student and a teacher falling hopelessly in love. Emphasis on the hopeless part. Saying that Maise is an average teen would be a lie. Forced to grow up at an early age and take care of herself, she sees things different than most people her age. She also seeks out older male lovers to fill the void of a male figure in her life since her father left her. A void that she says "can only be filled with dick.". Maise is a ball of cocky attitude and insecurities. She is a character that you wouldn't think you would find funny, but with her F this attitude you'll find yourself loving her. As far as NA protagonist go she feels more real than any other leading ladies I've met recently.

After a steamy evening at the carnival with a man who instantly takes her breath away she discovers him to be her new film teacher. Instead of calling things off they take to seeing how far they can push their relationship.

Mr. Evan Wilke is the 32-year-old heartthrob teacher that was all passion and mystery. Despite finding out that he is her teacher he can't stay away from her. They end up sneaking school make-out sessions and hot mini sexy getaways together. Evan is all sorts of adorable. I'm use to the leading males in NA novels being cocky, rude, and a lot of times controlling. It was refreshing to have him be the super vulnerable one. He had me hardcore swooning with his way with words so much during this book.

“...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.”

Seriously, stop being so perfect and breaking my heart Evan!

As the relationship builds and as the characters spend more time together you start to slowly question the motives of the relationship. You are left wondering what's keeping their relationship going. Is it the love or the forbidden-ness that is holding it together? Along with the amazingly built characters came the wonderfully lyrical written romance scenes. And there are A LOT of steamy scenes in this book.

My face basically looked like this the whole time.

We're talking next level hot.
As much as I loved the two main characters this story did however have a few flaws. Towards the middle of this book the story kind of drifts too this odd side story. It involves her mom and some random side characters, Hiyam and Park. I really didn't enjoy any of them. I wanted to feel a little more connection to her mother, but was left wanting more. Even knowing the connection would be one of negativeness I still wanted it. I did love when she finally starts to take control of her life and tells off her B of a mom.

She stared at some central point on my face, not quite my eyes. "This how I raised you? To make fuckin' threats about disowning me?" "No," I said quietly. "This is how I raised me."

Hey mom, need some help with that BURN!

The side character I did like was Wesley. He was so cute and I was hoping him and Maise would end up together. The witty and real dialogue they zap back and forth between each other is amazing. The plot of this story was so strong that it more than made up for the few tiny flaws. Even though I figured out the "big twist" before it happened the way it was presented still had me flipping and failing everywhere screaming "NOOO!! I DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE REAL! WHY DID I HAVE TO BE RIGHT!!! WHY???!!"

Laeder's writing style was amazing, breathtaking, and unforgettable. The way she perfectly twisted in a movie theme, that now has me loving Casablanca even more, and the way Maise uses past tense in her mind was something I found so interesting. The ending of this story left me with so many feelings. It gave me the perfect combination of wanting more and being completely satisfied. This might have (even from my description) sounded like just another F'd up love story, but it was so much more than that. It was of loneliness, desperation, and about how hard it is to grow up. If you're a fan of Colleen Hoover's Slammed or Tabitha Suzma's Forbidden then you'll love Unteachable.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
November 12, 2013
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

What the hell am I? I thought. Too old to be a real teenager, too young to drink. Old enough to die in a war, fuck grown men, and be completely confused about what I was doing with my life.

One of the most important points I see argued when it comes to the classification of New Adult novels is, where does it fit? The debate seems to be evenly spit with each side categorizing it as either YA or Adult with a smaller portion claiming it is of its own category. And I get, because it is a hard to place, especially when YA itself frequently blurs the lines. In the case of Unteachable, however, I think the above quote really nails down what some are trying to say. There is a time in our lives when people feel neither teenaged or adult, neither fully grown or child-like. Certain privileges are afforded to you, while others remain outside your grasp. Through it all, you struggle to find a way to fit into this small space that passes by in the blink of an eye.

It would be a mistake to call Maise your average teenager, because she's far from that label with her drug dealing mom and broken home. Forced to grow up at an early age and take care of herself, she sees the world entirely differently than her classmates. But she also seeks out older male lovers to fill the void of a male figure in her life.
Thanks, Dad, for leaving a huge void in my life that Freud says has to be filled with dick. 

Maise is blunt, unpredictable, hot-headed, strong-willed, independent, flawed, brave, passionate and insecure all in one. After a night of of passion with a guy she meets at a carnival, she finds out that he is her new film teacher. Instead of breaking things off like she probably should have, they explore the limits of their relationship. Secret meetings away from school and make-out sessions after class make up the most of their relationship. But things get complicated when other classmates start to notice Maise's odd behavior and familiarity with their teacher and the risks the couple start to take.
My face lit up with dark glee. "I can be discreet. I can be Harriet the fucking Spy."

Unfortunately for Maise, she was no Harriet the Spy. And if anyone remembers what happened to poor Harriet, she got sloppy and found out by the end. The moments when Maise did a few stupid things had me shaking my head. It was fascinating to see their relationship because Maise constantly wondered what it was about Mr. Wilke that attracted her. Was is a legitimate connection between two people? Or was it just the taboo of having private after school sessions her teacher?
Is falling in love with someone twice your age gross, weird, amazing, or all of the above? The secrecy insulated me in a vacuum-sealed bubble. I could only ask myself, How does this feel? Is this good? Is this right? And the only answer I ever got was my own echo.

I couldn't help but wonder if Maise was even emotionally ready for such a relationship when it seemed to turn into an obsession for her. Suddenly, keeping Mr. Wilke was all she could think about, she second guessed herself more, she got desperate for his attention and jealous. But at the same time Mr. Wilke displays uncertainty of the "rightness" of his actions and struggles with his feelings for Maise.
"I can't hold on to you. You're like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands."

I admit to being drawn to this book simply for the taboo factor. As much as I love YA, every once in a while, it's nice to branch out to something completely left field. I mean, realistically, there is only so much pent-up sexual frustration, coupled with teenaged wangst, I can take before my head explodes. So thank goodness that Unteachable was around to give me the sexy times and love in such a poetic, lyrical way.
Part of falling in love with someone is actually falling in love with yourself. Realizing that you're gorgeous, you're fearless, and unpredictable, you're a firecracker spitting light, entrancing a hundred faces that stare up at you with starry eyes.

What I loved best about Unteachable was Raeder's prose. I love how Maise is a pretentious protagonist without actually seeming unrealistic. *Cough* The Fault in Our Stars *Cough* I love how hard I could relate to her feelings of not truly fitting into her world or society. I love how she could infuriate me on one page, make me laugh on another and root for her fiercely by the last. I love how Raeder's prose wrapped itself around my brain like a blanket and set off fireworks in my mind.
"I'm not pulling the age card, I swear. But there's something I believe. You should love something whole you have it, love it fully and without reservations, 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 curled around mine. "That's all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths."

And I love how by the end of this book I cared so deeply for the characters, my feels fell out of my eyeballs.

What's happening to me?

Very rarely do I see myself re-reading a book, but, guys? THIS BOOK. I would re-read the shit out of it. In fact, I would read anything Raeder wrote. Unteachable is a gem that gave me a bazillion happy sighs. It's lyrical, brilliantly addictive and passionate. HIGHLY recommended.

*And since Unteachable had so many delicious sexy time moments and it's a Kindle lending title, I'm sending it to Kat for some Cuddlebuggery Reading Time. ;)

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.

Oh wow. This book, guys!

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Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
395 reviews695 followers
July 21, 2020
Oh Unteachable, what in the world happened to you?

When first we met, I could not be more impressed with you and your fierce protagonist...

The writing was expressive and real intense. To the point that by the time half the book was gone, I started to feel the weight of all the metaphors and similes thown at me left and right...

If you like loads of metaphors/simile in your book, Raeder's writing will likely rock your world. I tend to like mine in porportion, totally personal preference.

As for the story, the MC was brilliant. I love Maise and I'm OK with Evan. I just didn't like the story they were in.

And it was this couple  that carried me to the end. When they were together there were fireworks and unhealthy amount of angst.

The chemistry.
So much chemistry.

And did I mention those smolderingly hot sexy scenes? One of the most sexually-charged scene I've ever read: I blushed like crazy reading this one scene in particular where they were in a motel.

The book was packed full of drama, albeit the serious, somber kind, but full of drama nonetheless. That wasn't really an issue for me what was the issue was how they all got resolved by the end.

All of them. Poof! Gone!



I was not expecting that, at all. I found it too neat and challenged my suspension of disbelief.

What pissed me off:

And the last scene.

Again, this is a real good book. With excellent protagonist and piping-hot chemisty. Those other things just happened to push my buttons. Hence 3 stars.
Profile Image for Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*.
268 reviews506 followers
October 13, 2013


Trying to write a coherent review of a book you read more than one month ago SUCKS. Thanks God there are amazing reviews out there that you could read that will completely convince you to read this book. But to be honest, you don’t need to be convinced. This is one of those books that will rock your world.

Following my ‘hell to the no spoilers policy’ I’m just going to say very little about this story.

Maise and Evan meet in a Carnival and they share a special moment together.

”You’re pretty brave, sitting up front by yourself”

Days later they realize they are going to spend a whole year together because Evan is Maise’s new teacher. Nope, this is not just another teacher-student book. This one is way different and special because the story is not about being scared and denying your feelings just because the right thing to do is staying away from your student. This is a book about FEELINGS. About growing up even though we don’t grow up, we just get bigger and older, right?

This is a book about imperfect people, people with flaws but not weak people. People who want to LIVE, 18 years old teens who know what they want in life and more importantly know what they don’t want. About making mistakes and running away from them, about believing even though when you believe in something you have hopes and life can crush them.

And this is a book about friendship. About friends that can get a wrong idea, friends that can fail because friends are not perfect, we can all disappoint our friends and it’s still ok, it’s not the end of the world!

“You’re never saying what you think you’re saying”

This is a book about LOVE. In all its meaning. Love for life, for someone special, for a friend, for your fucked up mother even if she doesn’t deserve it… just LOVE and FAITH.

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"

And this is a book about having guts to pursue what you want, what you believe in. About taking the risk and not looking back (ni para coger carrerilla as we would say in Spanish).

“Every dream is a pipe dream before someone achieves it”

So don’t even give it a second thought, just buy it and enjoy this AMAZING ROLLER COASTER.

Obrigada, Ana Rita, for your great rec xxx


Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
October 11, 2014
*4 Stars!*

This gripping story has a tragic beauty that is not easily defined. It doesn't offer a black and white scenario that tells you how to feel and where you stand—but instead presents varying shades of grey that invite you to think and decide for yourself. Some may question its morality or criticize its content, but no one can deny that this story boldly braves the controversial—generously offering us the excitement and allure of an intense forbidden love!

I see the lights every night. It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one's letting me in on the secret.

Unteachable kicks off with an in-your-face reality. We meet Maise, an eighteen year old emotionally numb high school senior suffering the heartbreaking affects of her neglectful, drug-addicted mother. Maise uses men and sex to hide from herself, temporarily gaining an empty confidence from the attention. When she meets Evan, her dead world starts to come to life. But dating her equally broken teacher will prove to be...complicated.

I can't hold on to you. You're like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands.

I'd be lying if I said this story didn't dramatically play on each and every one of my emotions. The author uses such an artful, insightful articulation, that I often found myself rereading many quotes, letting them marinate in my mind.

For me, this book was all about its amazing, badass heroine. Evan was a sweet hero, but his character felt almost empty, and never truly thrived. It was Maise who completely stole the show! As damaged as she appeared, Maise was incredibly funny, with an entertaining inner dialogue filled with dry humor and quick wit. She made me feel her despair and heartache, and then she made me see her worth. Her inspiring character was an excellent portrayal of a confused, lost, and lonely girl gaining some perspective on life.

There were some moments, particularly mid-story, that became somewhat redundant, leaving me scrounging for more depth. However, the unique and realistic writing style made up for what the plot seemed to lack. It had a raw power that snuck up on me. Don't be deceived by the natural feel of the dialogue; although its structure may appear choppy at times, I found it served well to emphasize the delivery. The story was expressed poetically, sprinkled with dramatic pauses and intentional fragmentations. I loved that its prose mimicked the 'film-producing, movie-making' theme. The storytelling was captivating, insightful, and easily became an addiction as it brought many beautifully touching moments to life.

*I'll end by quoting some pretty solid advice*...
"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."

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: Romance/New Adult
▪ Steam Caliber: Maximum, generous steam!
▪ Romance: Quick connection. Forbidden love.
▪ Characters: Broken but kickass, hilarious heroine. Sweet, damaged hero.
▪ Plot: Teacher/student relationship.
▪ Writing: Deep, insightful, humorous, and lyrical.
▪ POV: 1st Person: Heroine
▪ Cliffhanger: None/Standalone

Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,547 followers
August 1, 2013
"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."

Boy, did I fight this book with everything in me. But Leah Raeder dragged my sorry ass kicking and screaming into the book fantasy ether, and I was LOST. I'm not quite sure if I got out of it what everyone else got out of it...I'm not even sure if I can say that I LIKED it all. The content was too much for me...I felt very uncomfortable at first. But it was like reading a book about war...you know you don't like the CONTENT. The story, however, and the telling...are so engaging and so tragic that you are mesmerized. And I was, completely riveted.

Maise O'Malley is an eighteen year old girl living a rough life. And we're not talking crazy twisted...she simply has it hard. Her father doesn't exist, her mother is an alcoholic, a drug addict, a drug dealer, a sometimes whore. And Maise wants nothing more than to not turn out like her mother. But here she is, substituting a Dad with any man she can get close to, including those who obviously want only what she offers between her legs. She knows what she's doing. She even sort of accepts it, accepts the irony.
"Maybe it was time to admit that being wanted intensely for a few minutes wasn't enough. It got me through a few hours, a few days her and there, but when the emptiness returned it felt bigger, hungrier."

Until Evan....
The way they meet...the carnival, their moment on the roller coaster, their clandestine hookup in his Monte Carlo...it's all so junky, so trashy, so yuck. Evan's much older, but he doesn't act like her other hookups. He touches her face, kisses her gently, and makes plans to meet later. And Maise puts a stop to that shit quick. She simply doesn't show.

Until she shows up in class...
And there is Mr. Wilke, her teacher.
"On the way out the door I glanced back. Mr. Wilke watched me, his face angled partially away, shadowed. Our gazes struck like flint and steel. And I realized that gunsmoke smell wasn't ozone. It was us. We burned."

And so begins this messed up tale of a forbidden affair. Let me tell you, I was really weirded out for the first twenty percent of this book. I couldn't get into the sex scenes, because I was too busy feeling icky and feeling sorry for Maise. The girl has obvious issues. Just because she seemed mature and was well aware of her issues doesn't mean that she wasn't being taken advantage of.

At NO POINT in this story did I think that Evan was doing the right thing. At no point did I really ever see this as some epic romance novel. However, I can understand the fallibility of being human, the way that a person can...if not justify...then pacify their own conscience into ignoring right and wrong. By the time that Evan realizes how deep into the shit he is, he also realizes that Maise needs SOMEONE. I know, I know that it's messed up that her only someone comes in the form of an old dude, a teacher, no less, who also sleeps with her. But his stability was actually more than she'd ever had.

Maise also begins an odd friendship with another boy at school...these two form an unlikely bond, and betweeen him and Mr. Wilke (i.e., Evan), she begins to see the world much less critically.

Maise begins this story so lost, so disillusioned with life, so cynical for her age. We never know the true depravity of what she went through as a young girl, but with a Mother like hers, there is much alluded to, and it ain't pretty.

"Who fixes broken people? Is it only other broken people, ones who've already been ruined? And do we need to be fixed? It was the messiness and hurt in our pasts that drove us, and that same hurt connected us at a subdermal level, the kind o scars written so deeply in your cells that you can't even see them any more, only recognize them in someone else.."

One of the things that I found most wonderful about this story was how Maise never blamed others for her situation. THIS IS NOT A WHINY, BITCHY HEROINE. Maise is the kind of person that I really want to root for. She stands behind her actions. She deals with consequences. She is young but not stupid, naïve but not a doormat. She accepts her faults, she face-palms her damned self, and she moves forward...always forward, (minus a much deserved meltdown). Evan will most definitely NOT make it to my favorite heroes shelf, but it's beyond my better judgement that I put Maise on my favorite heroine shelf. She effing rules.

I can keep going, and I have pages and pages of quotes and highlights. Let me just say this: the subject matter made me a little tetchy, because at first I thought that this book was trying to manipulate me into admitting that an affair between a 33 year old man and his 18 year old student was yummy in that taboo kind of way. And I don't think that was the intent at all. What I took from this story is so much more than some lascivious, naughty little adventure. This author has a very lyrical voice, a romantic soul...and not only the hearts and flowers romance. It's real life and it's hard knocks and it's not always pretty. It's crappy family and forced friendships and it's love that's both wrong and


(I may edit this later. I am off on vacation and tapping this out while I'm heading out the door.)
Profile Image for La-Lionne.
482 reviews787 followers
August 9, 2013
***3 forbidden stars***


Here is the thing. I loved the book for the fact that it was a hard-to-put-it-down-er, it's fast paced and brilliantly written, I read it in one sitting with only a short nap in between :-). But, and it's a big but, I had one huge issue with the story, which was a deal breaker for me and the main reason for me giving 3 stars. I'll get back to it.


Loved her at the beginning. She is funny, gritty and sarcastic. She is smart (for her age), but she is also a girl with a lot of daddy issues that f@cked her up big time, and sometimes, she doesn't know her left foot from her right foot. She jumps from one older guy to another, looking for love in all the wrong places. That's how she meets Evan.

It's all fun and games at first, until it's not. They have a lot of good moments, fun conversations and oh-so hot encounters. Until... Until they find out that he is a teacher and she is his student. It's still fun, the secret glances, barely-there touches, the stolen kisses and secret meetings... Maise is over the moon, it's exiting.

Now this one is an exotic fruit, who has barely legal girl fetish. The younger, the better. I know it sounds sick, but that's how I saw him. He has a history of getting involved with his students. What? You say it was only two girls? I say it's two girls too many.
I liked him at first. I actually thought that as wrong as their relationship was, it was sweet, romantic and fun. Until his secret came out about him getting involved with a 17 year old student in his previous job. I wanted to kick myself for like him.
"I had a relationship with a student," he said.
"A highschool girl," I said.
"How old?"
He sighed, long and deep. His shoulders had a concave, defensive arc. "Seventeen when it started. Eighteen when it ended."
"She was infatuated with me. And I made a huge mistake in returning it."
No shit, Sherlock!
After this, I couldn't look at his character the same way, and all of their previous encounters didn't look fun, romantic or hot anymore. I saw him as a man abusing his position to get his rocks of with a young girl.

In the middle of all that we have Wes. I absolutely loved him, even more so after he showed his movie. His character sparked quite a discussion amongst my GR friends, which was fun :-). I came to a conclusion that if you love Evan and Maise, you will hate Wes, and if you love Wes, you will hate Evan and Maise :-).
I thought he used his project as a last resort to show Maise how wrong her relationship with Evan was. Yes, his method was a bit harsh, but desperate times called for desperate measures. It was said that he betrayed their friendship and humiliated her. I thought he did no such thing, because of the way he made his movie. Only those involved knew what that movie was about. It's not like he revealed to the whole class that she was sleeping with her teacher. Plus, he gave her numerous opportunities to come and talk to him, which she did not. Maise wasn't without a fault either. She lied to Wes over and over again. He opened his heart and his home to her, introduced her to his family who embraced her with open arms, and that's how she repaid him? While she was getting cosy with his mother and sister, she was lying her butt off, and Wes knew that. If you were in Wes's position and a friend was doing something like that to you, how would that make you feel?

Bottom line:

Maise kept saying that she learned a lot from her relationship with Evan. What exactly did she learned?
At the end Maise was the same Maise I met on the first page: a girl looking for attention from older man, because she haven't gotten that from her father. Is that why this book is called Unteachable?

I would have given 5 stars if it wasn't for the fact that Evan had an affair with 17 tear old student. That made him look like he has a pattern of seducing his students, made him look like an old pervert with taste for young flesh. I also hate the fact that they end up together. I don't believe they were in love. I saw them as two people with a lot of issues using each other to fill the void that other people in their lives left. I can easily imagine Evan after couple of years drooling over yet another of his students, because Maise became too old for him. He did say that her being young is the big part of why he liked her. What happens when she gets older? I'm sure he will go looking for another young thing.

All and all, I loved the writing, it was fast paced and hard to put it down. I'll defiantly be reading the next book by this author.

Thanks for reading it with me, Alex. Good times :-).
Profile Image for * Meli Mel *.
856 reviews655 followers
October 21, 2015

♥♥♥ 4.5 Forbidden Stars ♥♥♥

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

"You asked why I'm here alone."

I glanced over at him. He stared right ahead.

"I see the lights every night. It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one's letting me in on the secret."

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Maise O'Malley has just turned eighteen. She is not the sweet-girl-next-door kind of girl. She hasn't been that for a long time. She is confident, promiscious, and alone. Her childhood was non-exitent. She has been taking care of her junkie mother and herself since she was very young. Her father abandoned them and now she has daddy issues. But all she wants is to forget for a little while. So, she sleeps with older men to accomplish it. Things change for her when she meets a man at the carnival. After, sleeping with him, he looks at her as more than just a body to get relief from, he looks at her like wants to see all of her. But she is not after anything more than just sex. When school finally starts, she is stunned to find out that the man she slept with, is her teacher.

This book was so different from your typical Teacher-Student- forbidden-love story. As soon as I started reading, I couldn't put it down.

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"How do I make you feel?"

Alive. Real. Valuable. Whole.

"Like myself," I said. "More than I've ever been."

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Maise was such a refreshing character. She isn't a normal eighteen year old girl, that's for sure. She is a loner but doesn't mind being that way. She may even appear to be a bit stuck up, but it's just a shield she uses to let no one in. I really liked her. At times she seems wiser than her age because of the things she has gone through growing up, with her mother being a prostitute and drug addict. But in the end, she was still a kid. She had also been sexually active for quite a while. She is messed up completely and definitely has "daddy issues" like she always kept mentioning. She seeks out older men to sleep with, sometimes twice or three times her senior. All she wants is to forget her reality, and sex seems to be her cure, for a while at least. I liked how she worked to make what she wanted to happen near the end and how she seemed to pick herself up when life threw her down.

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"You're so alive, Maise. You're so here, so present in the moment. You've taught me that happiness is possible now, not in some distant future. You'll scale a mountain without a second thought, face your fears, throw yourself into danger, and you're not reckless but bold, proud. You have a lion's heart. You're not afraid to live."

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Having sex with a stranger in his car at the carnival, makes her feel things she can't describe. That is because she doesn't really know what love is, or what real affection feels like. She had always just felt pleasure and was left with a kind of high after having sex. But now she feels scared by the way she is feeling after the stranger, Evan, says he doesn't want just a one night stand, he wants to get to know her. It terrifies her, so she leaves him with an excuse of using the restroom, only to see him again, when she goes to her film class. She finds out Evan, is Mr. Wilke, her teacher. Legally, they can be together because she is now eighteen, but since she is his student, they can't. I liked that she didn't act like a crazy after finding out. She acted reasonable and accepted what happened without whining about it.

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

“Maise," he said, "I love you."

I love you, I thought (...) You made the world come alive for me and I love you, I love you, I love you. But it was so hard to get the air out my lungs, and then he kissed me, and I stopped trying.

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Evan Wilke was a thirty-two year old man who seemed to be caring and sincere from the moment you met him. He never blamed Maise for sleeping with him without knowing her real age. In fact, he was ready to give it all up if that's what she wanted. But Maise asked him to stay. They could no longer hold back, and so, an affair ensued. Evan was a bit of a mystery. He wanted to know Maise, but we didn't really know him. Evan was holding back and ended up keeping a very big secret from her. Evan acted way younger then his age at times. I think it's because of the trauma he suffered from his upbringing. He needed to grow up in a sense just like Maise needed too. That is why they were so good together. They brought out the good stuff out of each other and were learning together.

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"Don't be afraid," Evan said. "We're in this together, hand in hand, against the world,"

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I really liked the supporting characters. Wesley stole my heart as the guy with a big crush on Maise. He was a loner as well, and also interested in film like Maise. He became Maise's only friend. He was one of the few people who really understood and cared about Maise. They both had similar ways of seeing things but also didn't see eye to eye on many things. Wesley, like Maise and Evan, were people who were lost. They are still trying to figure out who they are, what they want, how to let go of their demons, and how to live. Maise and Evan became confused about their relationship. They both knew that because it was forbidden, it added to the excitement of being together, so they needed to figure out if what they felt was real, because soon, it would no longer be forbidden.

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"You changed my life, Mr. Wilke."

His arms tightened around me, and he whispered back, "You changed mine."

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The writing was fabulous. I can't stress that enough... Amazing! It was such a unique read but very enjoyable. It was love story but there was so much more to it. And of course, there was plenty of steam. It was really HOT! It was not a fairy-tale, but a story that depicted a forbidden relationship in a realistic manner. I wasn't sure how the ending would be like, but I ended up pleased with the conclusion. I just would have liked there to have been an epilogue, but that's just my preference. If you don't like books about taboo subjects, than this is not for you. I really loved this book. I definitely recommend you give this a read.

Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,059 reviews12.2k followers
August 8, 2013
5 Absolutely Beautiful Forbidden Stars

"I don't know what I'm doing with you."
"That's okay, just don't stop."

Have you ever began reading a book, and just a few sentences in you knew...you just knew that this was going to be unlike anything you have ever read before? Unteachable was that book for me. I was sucked in from just the few first words, and it didn't let me up until the very last page.

To say that Leah Raedar has a gift for words and story telling would be a gross understatement. The writing was one of the best parts of this book. Leah weaves words together so seamlessly and effortlessly that the words blur into images in your mind. The entire book unfolds before you like a movie, and IT.WAS.INCREDIBLE!

Maise O'Malley is not your typical happy-go-lucky, soon to be high school senior. She's an old soul, in the body of an 18 year old girl. She's broken, but she knows it. She hasn't exactly had it easy in life, and her family or lack thereof is anything to brag about. She has a void that she fills with meaningless sex with faceless, older men. And it makes her feel...something...if only for those few too-short minutes.
Thanks, Dad, for leaving a huge void in my life that Freud says has to be filled with dick.

But then one late summer night spent at a local carnival Maise met the one man that will change everything. Evan Wilke.

A steamy encounter in his car later, Maise knows that Evan is not going to be just another faceless memory.
The funny thing was that his kiss had felt like fucking me, and his fucking me felt like being kissed, everywhere, every bit of my body unbearably warm and buzzing.

Unable to face the feelings that Evan and their night together brought out in her, Maise does the only things she can. She runs.
What neither of them know, is that their world is about to collide in a way that both of them least expect.

When Maise walks into class on her first day of her senior year, the man she knew as Evan on that summer night, is now Mr. Wilke, her teacher.

What began as an innocent encounter between two people finding a connection, turns into a forbidden affair.

"I can't hold on to you. You're like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands."

Evan clearly cares for Maise. He isn't your typical NA asshole hero. But while he's sweet and caring, he is still clearly hiding some dark secrets from his own past.
"Now I know," he said, touching me again, "why I was drawn to you. We have the same darkness inside."
"Our fucked-up parents?"
"Our lost childhood."

Even though the odds are stacked against them, and they're risking everything if they get caught, the connection between Evan and Maise is intense. Their relationship soon stops being only a physical connection, as Evan slowly begins to chip away at the defenses around Maise's heart.

The chemistry between them was absolutely scorching, and the steaminess in this book was off the charts for a NA novel.
"Who am I to you?" I asked, my voice hoarse. "Maise or your student?"
"Both," he whispered.
I felt chills.
"Then fuck me Mr. Wilke."

“I want to fuck you in this classroom,” I said.
He exhaled slowly through his teeth.
“On this desk,” I said. “While you’re wearing your shirt and tie, and I’m wearing nothing but socks.”
He kissed me to make me stop talking.

Their journey together is not an easy one. They face not only the demons from their own pasts, but the obstacles stacked against them; the risk of being found out.

Beautifully written, Unteachable takes you on a roller coaster of emotions.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Even if you don't typically read the New Adult genre, this is a must read. It is not the typically angsty plot with an asshole broken hero, and a naive and virginal heroine.

For more reviews visit: Dirty Girl Romance Book Blog

Profile Image for • Lisa •.
555 reviews1,532 followers
August 6, 2013



Sadly this time 'unteachable' was not for me, I have refrained from rating, I don't believe in a reader rating a book unless they have finished the whole story. I felt disappointed that I was unable to finish, almost like the kid who showed up at the party not knowing it was a fancy dress theme. On the one hand The author deserves five stars for her gorgeously written book but unfortunately, me and this book were not meant to be.

'Unteachable' is written to lovingly poetic proportions, there is a difference to the authors writing style that is rare and compelling. The book flowed so well and easy I found myself going from chapter to chapter with ease. Sadly around the 35% mark I started to feel uncomfortable with what I was reading and made the decision to stop at that point.

So why DNF you might ask?
Whilst I can not take away the authors outstanding ability to put together words like magic I struggled with the content. You may want to say to me that I knew what I was signing up for starting this book, and the obvious answer to that it is, YES but I could not have predicted how I felt once I got to know the characters. I struggled with the vulnerability of the leading female character and that pulled me towards feeling uncomfortable with the content I was reading.

Final thoughts ...
I hope this author writes future stories that I can engage with because their is no doubt in my mind that Leah Raeder is talented beyond words. This story has taken readers on GoodReads by storm, so if you like extraordinary talented writing that showcases a taboo subject that will undoubtably get your heart racing then go grab the story of Maise O'Malley and Evan. Enjoy readers, kisses ...
August 15, 2013
5 Unteachable Stars!!!

"Now I know," he said, touching me again, "why I was drawn to you. We have the same darkness inside,"
"Our fcuked up parents?" "Our lost childhood."

A story of forbidden love. What do you do if you met the one person who brings light to a life you been living in darkness? You grab hold and you never let go. What if it was never meant to be? Would you be able to let go?

Maise and Evan are involved in a dangerous relationship, but they can't seem to let go of each other and what they feel when they are together. How do you know when you are in love? How do you differentiate that feeling from everything you've ever felt?

When all you've ever been is alone, and you found that ray of light. What would you do?

A beautifully written tale. Witty, provocative and utterly mezmerizing!

Shelved as 'sorry-but-i-just-can-t-do-this'
February 5, 2016
Buddy Read with Shelly, Jaime, Cathryn, Tanya, Lea, Jo & Jessica starting March 6, 2015.

Because I'd read just about anything with my MacHalo Freaks. And because I'm brave.

Updated March 6, 2015:


Because I read the first chapter last night and already want to put a bullet through my head. Because I read the first chapter last night and already think this is one of the silliest, most ridiculous books I've ever read. Because I've been eyerolling so much my eyeballs are hurting. Because I'm tired of trying to commit book-induced suicide. Because I'm beginning to think I should stop trying to read books out of my comfort zone. Because I've read so many crappy books so far this year that I'm actually considering NOT reading for a while. And that's a really depressing thought. Because I don't want to put my friends through another one of my DNF graveyard reviews.

YES. This is really happening. I'm actually DNFing a book before reaching the 10% mark. This is a new low for me.

So sorry to let you down my Freaks but I just can't do this.

ETA: the lack of rating is fully intentional. I didn't make it past the 9% mark and my rating this book wouldn't be fair on either the author or her work.

Definitely MacHalo approved. Just not for me.

Profile Image for Akanksha❤ Søren♰.
654 reviews2,617 followers
February 27, 2016
“I can’t hold on to you. You’re like that shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands.”

4.5 Stars!

As soon as I finished this book, the first thing was my brain said was WOW
Yupp, my brain totally said that. This book was AMAZING. Like brilliant and amazing. Some parts of the book were very cliché and it bugged the living shit out of me; but apart from all of that this book was still WOW

It was written is such a beautiful manner; very very poetic! I totally lost myself in the book. Each page blended into the other and I just didn't want to keep it down.

This book has some AMAZING and extremely touching and beautiful quotes.I have so many highlighted. And I am so getting a tattoo of one of them when I start inking my body~

Maise was very very unique. My type of a girl. Spoke about anything and everything and always spilled what the fuck ever was on her mind. Loved her.

Evan in one word was HOT!!

They met in the carnival of all the places...

“I see the lights every night. It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one’s letting me in on the secret.”

Two sad souls met and completed each other.

You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They’re pretty much the same thing.

They got off on each other, on their age gap, their titles, on everything life had to give them.

“We have no age. We exist outside of time. We’re timeless.”

They both fought to achieve what they are and where they are and where they will go in the tomorrow.

And I realized that gunsmoke smell wasn’t ozone. It was us. We burned.

“The night I met you was like someone handed me a winning lottery ticket and said, ‘You can only have it if you don’t tell anyone.’”

Do read this book. It is AMAZING!!! :D

The author's writing style - Giving it 5✩s would be giving it far too less!!
It was captivating! Every sentence written oozed Opium.

Cant wait to see what else Leah Raeder has to offer! Because I'm so getting in line and waiting
Profile Image for Jasmine.
269 reviews669 followers
January 10, 2015

“You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing.”

Once again I find myself living under a huge rock when I found out that I've never heard of this read until one of of my lovely GR buddies rec'd this one to me. I know, don't get shocked but this is actually my first real teacher/student read and after this one, I'm wondering where I've been all my life because sign me up for more!


Unteachable starts off with our heroine, Maise: an Irish, 18-year old student who acts and thinks beyond her age due to her troubled upbringing; growing up without a dad and also having to care for her mother who is a druggie.

"Thanks, Dad, for leaving a huge void in my life that Freud says has to be filled with dick."

But one night at the carnival changed everything for two people when Maise took a ride on the Deathsnake and sat next to a stranger. Unbeknownst to them, this was the ride that catapulted them into a tale of forbidden love.

With undeniable sparks that flew between them and after a hot sex session in the car that night, Maise soon discovered that that stranger is not just another faceless memory but is in fact 32-year old, Mr. Evan Wilkes who will be her teacher in senior year.


Let me just say that the writing is phenomenal. Stepping into this book, I was surprised to see this unique lyrical-like prose that the author brought which I found to be so beautiful and captivating to read. Although told entirely from Maise's POV, I felt that the forbidden aspect was still captured perfectly and how fast I found myself to be so consumed by this emotionally powerful read.

“There's something so terrible about wanting something you've already had. You know exactly what you're missing. Your body knows precisely how to shape itself around the ache, the hollowness that wants to be filled”

I really loved Maise's character, mostly for her resilience and her incredible inner monologue filled with sarcasm & wit that had me chuckling at most times. But most of all, I really felt and hurt for this young lady to have to put up with most of the shit she's been dealing with at such a young age. Sure enough, she doesn't make the wisest decisions & there are times I wanted to slap her silly. But let's just take a step back and remember that no one is perfect especially at that age; we all make some slip-ups which we're not proud of.

“It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one's letting me in on the secret.”

Then there's Evan of course. This is where I had to deck out half star from my full rating as I realised that I never really fully embraced his character. I'm not doubting his love for Maise at all but I found that the revelation of and ruined him a little for me. I honestly wished it was a different revelation that had played out.


Overall this read took me by a huge surprise and got me hooked from start to finish. I thought the epilogue was done beautifully and brought the story back to a full circle. Also it did a great deal on my health as it sent me on a full-on panic attack mode when things started going awry for them and I genuinely felt so scared for them.

But what I really loved most about the book was how easily I could visualize most scenes in my head and the writing was exceptional that those scenes felt so vivid in my mind. So much so that the scene where Maise's video project was played out felt so vivid that it brought tears to my eyes. Truly beautiful is all I can say ♥

I definitely highly recommend this read if you're looking for a powerful, gritty read that touches on this student/teacher premise and is looking to get a taste of some exquisite writing :)
Profile Image for Georgia ♥ .
420 reviews1,119 followers
August 22, 2013
5 Forbidden Love, the Forever Kind Stars

"The guy and I reached for each other’s hands spontaneously and simultaneously. And I felt something I’ve never felt before. You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They’re pretty much the same thing."


Love is powerful and powerless, unlimited and uncharted. It strikes you when you least expect it and when you think you don't need it, but don't be foolish. You need love. To flourish and to learn, to breathe and to live, to grow wings and let them carry you away, towards infinity. Breathe, live, love.

“That’s all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths.”


That's what our story is about. The courage it takes to fall in love, the guts to admit it. To break the vicious circle and run away from your parents' shadow. A girl older than her 18 years and the man who is her teacher.

And as it is the case with everything beautiful, it began in the most unexpected place.

“I see the lights every night. It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one’s letting me in on the secret.”


A carnival is the perfect place to hide. To run away and be a child. The child that Maise O'Malley never got to be. Raised by a drug addicted and dealing mother, she knows what loneliness means. Scarred in her soul and abused, she is fearless. Life tried to bend her but Maise, courageous and brave, won't let it.

“I was natural, uncultured and untamed.”

Cynical, witty and eons older than other teenagers, she uses men and sex. Meaningless, until a "fall" will ground her world, give her purpose and some real feelings to deal with. A chance encounter, a forbidden love, will be her forever.


The mystery man that confused and awoke her senses, E. Wilke, her Film Studies teacher, is a man living in limbo. He knows he wants Maise, their chemistry is after all explosive, but can a forbidden passion lead anywhere? Will they let the world and their fears drive them apart? Or will they claim a future, built on their dreams and their hearts' fondest wishes? Together, outside the limits of a world that ridicules feelings and diminish love.

“We have no age. We exist outside of time. We’re timeless.”



Beautiful, captivating and enticing, this story a treat for your heart and soul. Poetical and lyrical, it will move and reduce you to tears. It will engage all your senses and bring colour to a gray world, awakening desires and passion. This one is a must-read. A book about forbidden love that isn't about power play. It's about life experiences and dreams, about what the heart needs and human nature in all it's brutally honest glory: Obsession, Addiction, Relationships. And what it remains when you leave the mystery and the uniqueness out of the equation.

“If our relationship was based on forbiddenness, what would happen when it was no longer forbidden?”


E. and Maise will earn a place in your heart, rooting for them and despairing along with them. Just like with old movies, just as it is with their favourite "Casablanca", you will pray that they will end up together. Will they? As it is in life, so it is in movies and in books; All will be resolved in the end.

A great story about love and forgiveness. Not others; first and foremost, yourself. Highly recommended, it deserves your attention. You will love it!

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