Leah Raeder
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Atria (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date
March 2014
Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, New Adult

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

Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Aug 26, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
149 people found the following review helpful
Four "hot mess/who is really the teacher" stars!

Lovers of forbidden love romance will not want to miss UNTEACHABLE! In addition to the tantalizing, passion-filled, steamy scenes, the writing is truly a treasure. So raw and not afraid to be politically incorrect, I completely fell in love with Leah Raeder's way of calling it like it is. It really adds a whole other level of intensity and gritty feel to this clandestine affair, not to mention enhance the effect of the unexpected twists and turns that make this plot so captivating.

Maise O'Malley has not had an easy life. Although just eighteen, she has been taking care of herself for years. Learning to survive in a household with a single, drug dealer mother, who also struggles with her own addictions, hasn't been easy, but it has shaped her in ways that, while she is fully aware of, she is unable to change.

Although not a drug addict like her mother, Maise's drug of choice is men, especially older men (some as much as twice, and one even three times, her age). She never sticks with one for long though, just long enough to dull the pain and feed her "daddy issues" that stem from never having known hers. Her goal is to put this terrible life behind her once and for all by starting over at film school when she graduates.

Then one night, shortly before commencing her senior year, she meets Evan, who turns her world upside down. At the beginning of the book, we don't know much about Evan. His character and past is slowly revealed as Maise gets to know him, adding to the suspense.

After sharing one night together, including some down and dirty time in Evan's car, true to her past mode with men, Maise disappears. That doesn't last very long though, because, to her surprise, Evan turns out to be her new film class teacher.

Of course they try to ignore each other, but the intense chemistry they share is impossible to deny and soon they are hiding a passionate affair. Worried over Evan potentially losing his job, they try their best to hide it, but inevitably, the heightened sense of their forbidden attraction leads to riskier and riskier behavior. Can there possibly be any sort of future in store for this couple that is separated by more than a decade age difference?

Adding further complexity to this precarious love story is Maise's best friend, Wesley, who also is in love with her. Trying to keep her relationship with Evan a secret from Wesley is difficult at best, but he also fulfills certain of her needs and she can't let him go. Is Maise's HEA perhaps with Wesley instead of Evan?

What a fascinating story, which borders on dark romance, and also fits the new adult self-discovery trope. The element of danger just drips from Ms. Raeder's writing, coloring the entire experience and causing you to question the true motivations of the characters. Intrigue is also omnipresent, and just as secrets become revealed, you start to question your initial impressions.

The entire story, up to the last 10% for me, rated a 5, but the last set of events made me question the conclusion, both what I had read and what it meant. All that said, I've always found that the best writers are able to elicit the strongest emotions, both of intense like of a story and also, less clear emotions. In this case, I was left pondering for a few days before being able to put my thoughts to paper on this review. In the end, I concluded that while this story may not have ended the way I would have preferred, I found Ms. Raeder's writing extremely provocative, and I look forward to discovering and perplexing over her future works.
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