20 January 2016

I Like/Don't Like Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Here lies Unteachable, the new adult novel that stressed the shit out of me.

I would totally write that on the book's gravestone if I buried it like how Joey of FRIENDS stuffs The Shining in his freezer whenever he got to the scary parts

I'm totally kidding. Or not. 

Unteachable is not like most of your usual new adult novels (save for the many many sex in each chapter... but I'll get to that later). For starters, the main character Maise is... colorful. She's headstrong but a bit fragile and scared on the inside. She can be crass but she's also delicate. She's a contradiction of a lot of things but surprisingly, it all works. You know how there are a lot of NA characters who pretend to be good but are actually hypocrites? Nope, Maise isn't like that. She fearlessly owns up to who she is or what she does, even if she can be a class A bitch lots of times. It's refreshing, especially in a new adult novel. 

I think, with everything going on in the book, Maise's realness made for a great anchor in a book filled with passion, romance, and drama. There was a lot of that ~new adult flare~ to lengthen the plot but what made me interested in all of it was our protagonist. You don't need too much realism in a book but at least have some form of it to keep the readers glued til the end. In this book, it was Maise and the way she took everything in and reacted on/to them. Am I making sense? I HOPE I AM. 

Not a lot of people know this about me, but my top two favorite tropes are: 1) faux-relationships turning real and 2) teacher-student relationships. (You may judge me. I give you permission.) The latter being, quite frankly, the main reason why I picked this book up. Much to my disappointment though, the build up was lacking. It started so fast and kind of stalled in the middle and went quickly again towards the end. There was none of the excitement brought about by a budding (forbidden) relationship. It's like hiding was just so easy for them! I didn't feel any real threat to their relationship except for the school diva threatening to tell on them but she just seemed like a scapegoat towards the end. 

I realize that maybe the real struggle in their relationship isn't really how they're going to keep their love a secret but rather how they'll deal with their individual issues and still be together. Sounds pretty much like a regular romance novel but the difference is their age gap. Since Maise is a highschool senior and Evan is in his 30s, there was a lot of talk on whether they should stick it out even if she had a whole future ahead of her outside of their small town. It all makes perfect sense but to me it sort of dulls out the whole forbidden fruit idea. But for all I know, maybe the author didn't really intend to focus on it in the first place. 

A lot of the things in the book really got me thinking if I like the book more for it or less. But I am sure that there is one thing that I do not like about the book and it is is the gazillion sex scenes. I'm not a prude, I'm totally fine with detailed descriptions of sex in books. However, when there is waaaaaaaay too much of it, it bores me. After the third one I basically skimmed every similar scene after. Constant love making does not convince me that the characters have chemistry and that I should root for them. It takes more than that to build a really good romance (in life and in books! LOL). 

Towards the end, my reading experience was saved. Their happily ever after is inevitable but it was the last few chapters beautifully written with so much love and passion that got me. It's bizarre! One minute I want to get it over with, the next I'm all teary-eyed! It was a confusing yet pleasant feeling. 

Would I recommend Unteachable? Yes. It's not all bad but it's not OMG good for me either. It's worth the try though, that I can say. I've said this before about other books and it still rings true: you might have better luck with it than me.

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