“How do you explain that everything is too beautiful for words? If Wesley had been here, he would've filmed the moment, captured it. Raising the camera was his first impulse; mine was to feel, to let the world crash against my skin. What if I was wrong about what I wanted to do with my life? What if I really just wanted to live, and hadn't truly come alive until I'd met Evan?"
After seeing all the glowing reviews for Unteachable, I figured it was time to (albeit hesitantly) re-test the waters of new adult fiction. The whole student-teacher relationship doesn't really do it for me (high school drama. Don't ask). I'd already read Colleen Hoover's Slammed and found myself incredibly disappointed, but still... I was intrigued. So I whipped out a gift card and got to downloading Unteachable. And despite my trepidation, I was utterly fascinated from the very start.
I knew right away that Maise O'Malley and I were going to have a wonderful relationship. She had a voice unlike any I've read before. She was badass without trying too hard, she was funny without, well, trying too hard. She was strong and focused, blunt and beautiful, and everything I wish I could have been at her age. She was a trip, and I adored her for it.
Sure, there were times when I found the writing was a little too fru-fru artsy pretentious for my taste, and I'd have to take a break before I ended up with my fist through the screen of my e-reader in annoyance (and maybe a bit of jealousy, too). Small doses were absolutely key to my enjoyment. But I think the one thing really holding me back from a *5 star glowing review* is Evan. He just wasn't really present enough for me to form any real kind of opinion of him. I mean, sure he was there, but I feel like we never really got to know him. I spent most of the book waiting for that ah-hah! moment where I really connected with him on some level, and it just never happened. About 3/4 of the way through, I actually found myself rooting for Wesley (I knew it wasn't going to happen, but he was the true show-stealer, if you ask me).
But all that being said, I loved the book. I really did. I found myself highlighting the shit out of passages, swooning at the beautiful way Ms. Raeder fit her words together, wanting to grab onto the imagery, sit in the front cart of a roller-coaster, and just stand half as tall as Maise-fucking-O'Malley. And you know what? It's been a while since I've finished a book (that wasn't a part of a series) and my first thought was: I cannot fucking wait for this author's next novel. And believe me -- Leah Raeder, I'll be waiting ;)
Aaaaand one more quote, mmmkay?
“Out of everything I ever learned from Evan Wilke, I think that lesson was the most important: that none of us actually grow up. We get bigger, and older, but part of us always retains that small rabbit heart, trembling furiously, secretively, with wonder and fear. There's no irony in it. No semantics or subtext. Only red blood and green grass and silver stars."