Unteachable

Unteachable - Leah Raeder Yesterday I thought this was five star, right after I finished it. Today, I'm still thinking about it, but there are some issues, so I'm bumping it back down.

This story is a page-turner for sure. It's well written, which is a blessing because I'd come to despair that well-written books are even being published anymore. The voice of our protagonist, Maise, is authentically teenaged. (I did have a moment at the beginning of the book where I wondered if she was going to work as a narrator. Her front of extreme self-confidence reads a bit strangely in the first few pages of the book.)

This is a "taboo" love story, but it's pretty tame in so far as the characters don't begin their romantic entanglement with the knowledge that it's taboo. It's an accident that they get together at first and pure coincidence that they are subsequently teacher and student. It's pretty romantic and a VERY steamy read if you're looking for something to get you out of your contemporary romance book slump.

My main issue with the book, which caused me to knock it a star, was with believability. Specifically regarding the twist towards the end. Mr. Wilke sleeps with on high school girl before he meets and has sex with Maise. After that first incident which leaves the girl pregnant (she later miscarries, absolving him of responsibility, but still) he is able to find employment as a teacher again? There is no way. Name change or no. If it got so bad that he had to change his name that means people knew what had happened. You can't impregnate a student and continue to work in high schools. Not gonna happen. No dice.

Probably the most compelling part of the book was the exploration of Maise and Evan's relationship as it pertained to the taboo. Both of them questioned their attractive to one another repeatedly: would they want each other if it wasn't forbidden? They don't seem to be able to answer that question with any certainty and neither can the reader. Probably if you're reading the book it's because books about things that can't and don't happen in real life are more interesting than more plausible love stories.

It did definitely make me think about the motivation for doing things that you are "not supposed to do." Maise is a kid so we can understand her fascination with doing things that are against the rules. But what about Mr. Wilke? What about all adults? I don't know. Maybe we don't ever really grow out of that need to rebel we have when we are teenagers.

All in all, this was a good one and I recommend it.