Saturday, 17 August 2013

Review ~ Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 beautiful, lyrical stars!!!

“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.” 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.

Once again I have been totally and utterly blown away by a debut author this month, this is why I love reading, I love discovering new talent and boy does this lady have talent….I am still gobsmacked!!


The authors writing style totally captivates you from the first page…and this is how it all begins:-

“When you’re eighteen, there’s f**k-all to do in a Southern Illinois summer but eat fried pickles, drink PBR tall boys 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.”

Maise has had a difficult life and in fact still is. Her mum is an alcoholic and drug addict, she has brought herself up for as long as she can remember and she has severe daddy issues:-

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

This leaves Maise disconnected to boys her own age, she gravitates towards older men and has had far too much sexual experience with men for a girl of her years, but this is her medicine, her fix, she needs them, even if it is just to “feel” something for a while. She keeps herself to herself, she doesn’t want to be noticed, feels like she doesn’t fit in and just doesn’t want to either. She never has a relationship just brief sexual encounters, she feels totally alone.

“..but I think even if I’d had a normal childhood, I’d have grown bored of boys my age. They’re like over sensitive car alarms. A brisk breeze is enough to set them off. I should know, I lost my virginity to one in freshman year. I didn’t even realise it when he came – I thought he was still trying to get it in.”

She meets Him at the carnival, they instantly connect, he is older, they ride some rides, play some games and then ride each other…in the car! But this is no quickie or so He thinks:-

“I want you,” he whispered into my hair, and a million filaments of electricity raced across my scalp. “But I want to know you. I don’t just want a hook up.”

Maise realises she is done for..this is no casual hook-up she feels things she shouldn’t and this scares her. He even manages to get her to reveal her name and Him becomes Evan.

“The funny thing was that his kiss had felt like f**king me, and his f**king me felt like being kissed, everywhere, every bit of my body unbearably warm and buzzing.”

So Maise does, what Maise does best and runs.

The next time she sees Him, she freaks, her Film Studies teacher is Mr Wilke, Mr Wilke is Evan and Evan is Him, she is royally screwed.

Yes, we have read student/teacher stories before and the topic has been done numerous times but this book stands out from the crowd. It was the way it was written, a beautiful story written absolutely beautifully (yes I know that I am using beautiful a lot). The prose is captivating, beguiling, enchanting, you cannot help but be pulled into this story, and once it gets its claws into you, you cannot help but read on, you cannot put it down, you don’t want to put it down. Maisie and Evan’s story is hypnotic, you will be under Leah Raeder’s spell and once that is cast, you are done for.

“What are you doing to me?” he said, his voice far away. “This is all I think about. I’m obsessed.”

I know the feeling Evan, I was obsessed with this book!

Evan is 14 years older than Maise, but he is a young 32, he has his own issues and problems, they are like two broken souls who are pulled to each other, each needing to be healed, but will they be each others “band aid” or will it all go to pot and the inevitable pain ensues when that “band aid” is ripped off.

Their story was never going to be hearts and flowers, this is Maise and Evan we are talking about. Although you have to love a man that openly admits to crying at the film “Casablanca”.

“Maise,” he said, “I love you.” 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. If I was the only person truly alive that night, it was because of you. 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 of my lungs, and then he kissed me, and I stopped trying.

This is not just a story about forbidden romance, it is about standing up for yourself, finding yourself, learning to like and love yourself. Maise has to go through a lot to get there, but with the love and support of friends and Evan she does eventually get there.

I must mention Wesley and his mum, Wesley is Maise’s best friend, he, like her is a bit of loner and they stumble across each other and do become firm friends. His mum takes Maise under her wing and is a fountain of advice for Maise. Yes they do have their problems especially being that friendship is new to both of them, but they find out, together.

Where do Maise and Evan end up?? Well that you will have to read for yourself, just remember to buckle up and enjoy the ride, because this is some rollercoaster, but it is truly enchanting, poetic and lyrical and is a total must read. It has to be read to be believed and no amount of superlatives can do this book justice…just go forth and 1click!!

“You should love something while you have it, love it fully and without reservation, even if you know you will 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.

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