Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #53: Unteachable

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #53: UnteachableUnteachable by Leah Raeder
Published by Author on October 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 356
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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one-star

This novel contains graphic sexual content and strong language. It is intended for mature readers. 

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.

Recommended by: Steph (Cuddlebuggery)

Let the record show that, though it’s much later now, I finished this book on Christmas Eve, right at the end of the day. Baaaaa. Coal-black sheep reporting or duty. Man, I hate being the black sheep about a book, unless I get to be the lone happy ship, skipping through the fields of daisies and bleating my joy. If you were watching my status updates, my reading of Unteachable was a pretty dramatic process, in which the book temporarily got up to four stars before crashing back down. What it comes down to is that, in a romance novel, if you don’t ship the canon ship, things are generally not going to go well.

Before I get all ranty, I want to start with some praise, because, aside from the flames on the side of my face, I really liked this book. As I said, at one point, I thought I might be rating it up to 4 stars. Raeder’s writing is fantastic, juxtaposing and intermingling beauty with crudeness and grittiness. The effect is startling and lovely. Aside all the cursing and fucking, there’s a lot of nerdiness in this book, too, which I simply adore. I one hundred percent believe that Leah Raeder can write a book I will personally love, which is why I added her next book to my to-read list as I was reading Unteachable, and while in one of the times where I wasn’t happy with it no less. Raeder has a lot of talent, so don’t get me wrong with the rage that’s going to come shortly, probably with a million spoiler tags.

The other aspect of Unteachable I really enjoyed was the focus on the future. So few romance novels about younger protagonists take planning for a future into account. Seniors miraculously never think about college or employment. SATs don’t get taken. Colleges don’t get visited. In book-land, all a student needs to worry about is romantic drama and mean girls. In Unteachable, Maise is making plans for college and for what she wants to be down the road.

Oh wait, I did like one more thing a whole bunch: Wesley. My sweet Wesley. He’s flawed, I know, but, damn it, I ship this. He and Maise are so bantery. They have a great connection. He’s an awesome nerd, and, as often is the case in fiction, he gets shafted (in the non-sexy way).

Moving on into the less pleasant part of the review. Okay, so Maise. She’s really messed up, which is fine. Actually, I really liked how confident and brazen and self-aware of her own issues she was at the start of Unteachable. Maise knows she has daddy issues, and that, as a result, she has a perhaps unhealthy attraction to older men. She regularly has sex with them, which I’m actually mostly okay with, because she’s pretty safe about it and knows what she’s doing. Would I counsel her differently? Probably. But it’s her life. Besides, she does have a point I imagine about the sex being better with men old enough to know what they’re doing. Plus, I love heroines with strong sex drives. Women get horny too, damn it, and hell yes to fiction showing that. Maise, though? Really? Every time someone said her name, all I could see was

CORN.

CORN.

Anyway, Maise’s interest in older men brings us to her random hook up at a carnival. It’s great sex and he wants to connect emotionally and she runs away. Fast forward to school on Monday and SHOCK OF SHOCKS, he’s her teacher. Where have I heard this before?

sexy bathroom time

I am well aware that a lot of people are turned on by the forbidden nature of the whole teacher/student romance, but I am not one of them. Heck, I don’t even generally ship relationships with huge age gaps, so when you add in the whole “one of them is in a position of power” element, I am so not in it. There have probably been a couple of times where it’s worked for me, but it’s rare. If that whole thing works for you, then maybe Unteachable will be your jam, but it is so not mine.

Maise and Evan are so fucking unhealthy. Like, I can’t even. They’re both messed up and whatever, but I never felt a huge connection between the two apart from the incredible sex. Now, it may be that, because the book is a romance (erotica maybe? I don’t know what the line is to make a book erotica rather than more vanilla romance), Raeder felt the need to cut a lot of the actual bonding stuff in favor of sexing. That probably works for most readers, but I felt shown the sexual chemistry and told the lovey dovey stuff. I didn’t buy their love one bit. The main descriptors they use about their attachment are “obsession” and “addiction.” Do I really have to argue that this isn’t healthy?

Keeping affairs with students secret is SO HARD. WAHHH.

Keeping affairs with students secret is SO HARD. WAHHH.

Speaking of so hard…Maise and Evan are about as subtle as a kid with a hard-on in the middle of a presentation at the front of the class. They must want to get caught. That’s the only thing I can think. I mean, she sits on his car, they make out in the classroom all the time (WHICH HAS A WINDOW ON THE DOOR BY THE WAY AS THE LAW MANDATES), and take pictures of themselves together constantly.

baghead picture

Guys, the characters on Pretty Little Liars are smart enough to know that if you’re having an illicit affair with your teacher, YOU DO NOT GATHER EVIDENCE. Maise, on the other hand, View Spoiler ». They can’t even be smart about being stupid. I mean, seriously, you are being outwitted by PLL. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE; LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES.

she is a stupid bitch

Okay, but whatever. Unteachable has a bunch of hot sex and, if you ship it, then you ship it. However, I need to delve into spoilers for a moment, because there is some shit that is in his past that, to me, is completely unforgivable and just HELL TO THE FUCKING NO. View Spoiler »

This could have been so good. For a while, I thought it was, but then everything came crashing down and, by the end, I wanted to throw the book across the room about as much as I ever have before. BRB, I need to call someone about my feels.

chris hanson gif

Favorite Quote:

I respect people who get nerdy as fuck about something they love.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

NOOOOOOO

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18 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #53: Unteachable”

  1. Dahlia Adler says:

    GOD BLESS YOU FOR THE EZRIA GIFS.

    Well, you know you and I felt differently about this book (although…not even that much, because we loved a whole lot of the same things AND had the same favorite quote!) but I’m glad you gave it a shot! Good choice, Steph! (And, obviously, I personally am still accepting entries to the contest. At any point. Until the end of time.)
    Dahlia Adler recently posted…Fun Things Happening Everywhere! (Except Here)My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oh man, I wrote this like a month ago and forgot what gifs I used. I’m pretty proud of myself actually.

      I really did like a good deal of this book, but the last quarter just KILLED me. I cannot and will not endorse that relationship in any way. I’d still like to read Raeder’s next, but I’ll probably make someone spoil it first. Or at least tell me honestly if I will rage.

  2. Alessandra says:

    I totally agree with you on this review.

  3. Y U NO LIK DIS?

    Sorry that was my pathetic attempt to troll you. I might have hurt my brain there.

    Anyway, I laughed so hard at this review. A+ for the gif usage! CORN. BAHAHA!

    I think the only reason why Even and Maise worked for me was because they were both so broken and fucked up and I was popping popcorn. So yeah. Also, I liked Wesley too until he publicly shamed her in front of her class. I do think he was right to say something Maise because the relationship wasn’t healthy at all. But not in that way if he considered her his friend.

    I was surprised at the ending, but I also like how it’s kind of open. Maybe it fails and she and Wesley end up together?

    Also, I didn’t get pedo vibes from Evan. I kinda view pedos as men who prey on pubescent girls. He didn’t make good choices (again super screwed up dude here), but I wouldn’t classify him as such.

    Overall, it was fascinating to see two characters who engaged in something society generally views as taboo. Her sleeping with older guys and Evan being attracted to 17-18 year olds.

    Also, get to THE DEMON KING. I need to know your feels!!
    Steph Sinclair recently posted…Hot New Titles: January 26th 2014My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Seriously! I really wanted a gif from Pocahontas, because I think they talked about maise or corn, but the internet did not have that.

      Yeah, I mean, you’re obviously with the majority on this book. I still liked Wesley, because she NEEDED a freaking wake up call. Doing it in class was a dick move, but I don’t hate him for that for 2 reasons: 1) he did offer to let her see it before, but she said no and 2) Maise’s own video also was about the student/teacher relationship, so it’s not like he was spoiling anything.

      How the fuck was that open? They’re flying to California in the most cliched HEA of all time! *hurls* It was SO cheesy after all the fucked up stuff too. What WAS that?

      UM NO. He fucked two students. Two is a pattern, okay. AND he straight up tells Maise that he likes that she’s young. He’s a pedo. I mean, okay, she’s not like 13, but there is a pattern of going after young girls. And I HATED the way his friend implied that Evan actually was the victim with the first girl, who was an evil seductress. Like, you are freaking 30 and no one forced you to fuck her. And, maybe, if this is your history and a young woman is hitting on you and you’re about to be a teacher in that town, you should hold off on fucking her or ask to see some damn i.d. before letting her on the ride.

      I mean, I did like it as a depiction of a fucked up relationship. I liked Maise’s issues and that she slept with older men. I thought it was fascinating. It’s the HEA that I take issue with. Any ending where she didn’t end up with Evan and I would have given this a positive review.

      Ahhhhh! I want to read it. I need to go choose a new one. WHAT WILL IT BE? (Please not Fallen. Please not Fallen.)

      • Christina Franke says:

        Spoiler: still not The Demon King.

        • Meg says:

          *promises not to harass you about unscheduled reads on scheduling post comment* *throws promise out the window* OMG THE DEMON KIIIIIING. Can you cheat on Sadie Hawkins and bump things up? I think you should be allowed if your alternative is to read Fallen. It can be a special clause or something.

  4. This review amused me to no end. You crack me up. I am not sure that this would ever be something I’d want to read but now I want to just to see how much I agree with you. You write the best reviews, Christina! The best.
    Dana (Little Lovely Books) recently posted…Adding to the Stacks #14My Profile

  5. Kate C. says:

    This sounds exactly like Losing It by Cora Carmack. Are all these NA books basically the same plot over and over again? Because I’m starting to feel like they are.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Actually, I wouldn’t say these books are remotely similar, either in tone or content. They do share the teacher/student thing. However, Bliss is unquestionably an adult and Garrick has no history of hooking up with students. It’s a very different scenario. Unteachable is much darker, but somehow just as wish fulfillmenty.

      • Kate C. says:

        Well, that’s good to know! I just read… Waiting For You and I was so strongly reminded of Easy. I really felt for the MC in both books, but I honestly felt like I’d read Beauty and then Rose Daughter. (Weird Robin McKinley reference there, I know.)

  6. Aww sorry you didn’t like this one. I’ve read books where te story is great and it’s doing so well until like a few things just send it flying down. Evan and Maise’s relationship sounds so toxic and creepy at the same time. Like why would they even be obvious about that kind of stuff it could get them both in serious trouble! Their relationship seems superficial too from the way that the actual relationship building was replaced with a bunch of sex. Splenderific review as always though! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Life of a Blogger (1): Celebrity CrushesMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      It’s quite unhealthy, and I liked the book a lot when I thought it was heading that way, but I just do not see a happy ending for this couple. It’s just creepy wish fulfillment.

  7. Tammy says:

    I never once thought what Maise and Evan had was the least bit sexy or romantic. I wasn’t buying it so it made for a very disconnected read.

  8. Bonnie says:

    You know it’s funny but I totally get everything that you had issues with. Making the movie was the most idiotic thing ever. But I guess sometimes there are just some books you can look past issues. Or maybe I was in a more tolerant than normal mood? I’m not sure but I get it. But it worked for me. MAYBE because I have not seen Pretty Little Liars and did not catch the similarities because that would’ve bothered me.
    Bonnie recently posted…Something To Look Forward To – Week of January 27th, 2014My Profile

  9. Molli says:

    Oh my word. No. No. A world – a universe – of no. I’ve been considering reading this one, to the point I was almost ready to buy it. Noooooooo. *runs away making the sign of the cross*

    Seriously it sounds like I’d like it except for the creeper factor, AND the “addiction” thing. That is my NUMBER ONE peeve in love stories. LOVE IS NOT A DRUG. I can’t even fathom or stomach books where the two in the couple go on and on about how “addicted” they are to each other. Nope. Plus the spoiler about Evan’s past…that really gives me the heebie jeebies.
    Molli recently posted…Review: Silver Heart by Victoria GreenMy Profile

  10. Meg says:

    We’ve already discussed this book and you know how I feel. And that I have no logical defense for my feelings as I 100% agree with all of the things you said.

    I don’t know, I kind of liked how unhealthy and fucked up their relationship is while at the same time recognizing how bad bad bad it would be IRL. I am fully aware that this makes no sense.

    In other news, I love the shit out of that quote. And the corn gif. All the gifs really. But that quote.
    Meg recently posted…The Author CommandmentsMy Profile

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