Unteachable - Leah Raeder Leah Raeder definitely taught me a thing or two with her debut novel, Unteachable. Definitely not the sweet, somewhat innocent Slammed. Unteachable directly challenges the risks and rewards of having an affair with your teacher. Is it all about the pleasure/pain of the fear of getting caught? Or do they truly care about one another? “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?”Unteachable is told from Maise's point of view. A lonely, lost, empty girl who meets a man that shifts her world on it's axis, like the rollercoaster ride at a carnival where they first meet. Maise has always used men and sex to fill the void that her father created when he abandoned her. Sex makes her feel wanted, safe. When she meets the man on the rollercoaster, she expects something similar to what she's always experienced. When they sneak away and have hook up in his car, it touches a place inside of her that she's never felt before. It makes her come alive. Afraid of the response she has to the stranger, the feelings he inspires, she runs. Like she always does. Only she can't escape this particular man, as he shows up Monday morning in her film class. As her teacher. Neither of these broken individuals can fight the draw they have to each other. The illicit affair the results blooms over the following months. Maise has never felt like she does around him. Evan, Evan Wilke. He pulls her out of her broken home with her druggie mother and really makes her experience life. “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.” But secrets like these never stay secret for long. When they are discovered what will happen? The writing was absolutely beautiful. There really aren't words for me to describe the almost lyrical, and at the same time raw, quality of the book. I absolutely adore books like these. Books that make you challenge your assumptions about love and relationships. That can detail the evolution a person as the result of falling in love. Though they were both seriously fucked up people, they brought out the best in one another. Evan inspired Maise to really enjoy life, to live it to the fullest. And Maise challenged Evan to stop living in the past and enjoy the future, to take chances. I freaking loved Maise. I could tell, literally, by the first sentence that she was going to be a strong voice and I love that, because I could see, hear, and feel everything that was described to me. Though she was experiencing something that made her vulnerable she was still a badass who took chances, was in charge of her body and her sexuality. She challenged social norms and propriety for the man she loved. There are times when authors fall flat trying to emulate a character and this was not one of them. I felt Maise in this story, she felt so real. She made some ballsy moves and I totally respected her for them. “Wesley had called it self-destructive. Evan understood. It wasn't about flirting with death, like Mom. It was about wanting to live all the way to the seams of life.” I didn't get as much of a sense of Evan as did of Maise because of the point of view, but I don't really feel like this was his story. He was broken and made mistakes, lots of them. But he tried to be a good man to her. I know that's hard to say because damn, he was her teacher. But that's what made this such an interesting read to me. It's hard to wrap your head around a teacher having a relationship with a student and him still being an okay guy. Especially with what happens at the end. BOOM! Did not see that coming AT ALL. It'll definitely be one of those things that readers will either understand or HATE him for. Ah, like I said. It challenges you. Unteachable explores the fine line of erotic fantasy between teacher/student relationships. When they do happen between two consenting adults is it the thrill of getting caught that keeps them together? Or do they have something once that catalyst is removed? While reading it, you know it's wrong, everyone will tell you it's wrong. But what if it truly is love? Does that still make it wrong? They're both adults and it was legal, it may be wrong professionally, but morally, emotionally? Yes? No. Yes. NO! Even Maise and Evan struggle with whether or not their relationship is acceptable. God, to be caught in that tornado of craziness would be insane. And thrilling. But mostly insane. I would really like to see some kind of sequel, but at the same time, I really love where they left off. A somewhat open ended HEA that left some things to the imagination, but allowed for a satisfying wrap up. Definitely in my top reads of 2013 for it's lyrical quality and emotional resonance. Definitely recommend. 6 stars!“You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They're pretty much the same thing.” 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 law says one thing; my heart says screw the law. 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.