Monday, August 5, 2013

**Hot Pick** Review and Giveaway: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

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.

4.5 Star Review by Jen Hagen

Maise is an 18-year-old high school senior who is visiting the carnival two weeks before school begins.  She is facing her fear of riding a roller coaster.  While she is waiting for the ride to begin, a gorgeous male passenger enters her car. 

His first words to her are: 

 “You’re pretty brave,” he said, lowering the bar over us. “Must be a veteran, sitting up front.” 

After the ride they continue to take in the sights of the carnival, talk, and see a little car-making-out-action.  For only meeting tonight, their limited conversation gets deep and it’s almost as if they can see through the darkness in each other’s eyes and into the depths of each other’s thinking.  They can be real with each other .

“I see the lights every night. It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one’s letting me in on the secret.” – Evan

Two weeks later Maise is quite surprised to find that the gorgeous guy she rode a roller coaster with is her teacher for film class.  They haven’t seen each other since that night when Maise ran away from him.  Since that time Maise has discovered that she wants more in the form of a relationship.  She wants more from Evan but how can he give her more when he’s her teacher and the risk of being caught could damage both of them.  Maise wants to go to California and make movies.  She needs this class to get accepted into college.  She cannot back down from it.  Evan needs a job.  He cannot back down from it.

What ensues is a hidden relationship and it’s a beautiful relationship even though there’s a 14 year age difference.   Both of them are broken from their pasts and both of them are fixing each other.
“I keep pretending I’m okay, looking at you in class and playing Mr. Good Teacher, when all I want to do is take you in my arms. And I wanted you to know that even though we have to do this, the hiding and pretending, there’s not a moment that goes by when I’m not thinking of you, wishing it was different.”
Maise’s life is complicated.  Her dad is absent, her mother is a drug dealer who owes a lot of money to the drug lords, and Maise is always left to pick up the pieces.  When a person who is supposed to be Maise’s best friend betrays her in the worst possible way, Maise’s life falls apart even more and the discovery of her and Evan’s relationship is at the frontline ready to destroy any happiness she has finally found.   Maise questions whether they had a real relationship when Evan’s past is brought out or if she was just another student.
“I covered my face with my hands. He sat up and pulled me close, holding me. After a while I felt a hot point at the crown of my head, trickling down through my hair, and realized he was crying, too.”
It’s time for Maise to go to California.  She wants Evan with her, she has told him they can start their lives together in California.
“If you’re not on that plane with me, it’s over. And I’m not holding my breath a minute longer to find out. Are you coming with me or not?” This is what he said: Nothing.
This was an amazing story.  Although it’s the story that we’ve heard before with a teacher/student romance and the hiding that comes with it, it is so much more than that.  It’s about both of them finding happiness, something that neither has ever had.  Story wise it rates a 4, but the writing is so intense that I couldn’t give it any lower than a 4.5.  The story is a slow buildup without a lot of dialogue, but the writing will pull you in and you won’t want to stop reading.   I didn’t find it to be a quick read, and had I encountered this book a year ago when I was starting to discover young adult romances, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it.  Since that time I have read hundreds of books and I know what to appreciate in a good book. 

This writing can definitely be appreciated.  The story includes romance, deception, blackmail, and a few steamy love scenes.   The ending became emotional  for me and I had to read between the lines to make certain I had the correct ending in my head.  The book does a lot of word play relating to making movies and this was unique. 

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