Have you ever been so invested in a book that you felt like you were the one living the book’s story, you were the one being betrayed, you were the one discovering friendship, you were the one falling in love? Unteachable by Leah Raeder was that book for me, and then some. And now that I’ve just finished it, my heart is bursting with sadness, joy, and everything we experience in life in between.
If you think New Adult books are nothing but trash, then Unteachable is the slap in the face you never knew you needed. (Maybe I won’t fully embrace the genre, but I’ve fully embraced Leah Raeder!) And I mean, one read of the summary (a student-teacher romance) would probably give you a few preconceptions of this book. I’m no different – I read this book thinking that it’d be a sexy, fun read, and after hearing all of its praise, well, why not give it a go?
Instead, Unteachable is a raw, witty, rich, and beautiful book that is so full of life. There were so many moments where I lost myself in the story; if I ever pulled myself away from the book, there were these two wild seconds where reality and fiction were barely discernible. I feel like I have lived another life, lived another’s great pain and sadness, but also found great joy and love. I felt for this book – and every iota of it – so deeply that I burst out crying by the end. God, I never knew a book could make jaded-me feel this way.
The prose was so beautifully written and atmospheric. There were these moments where the writing had this hazy, quiet, sitting in a summer sunset quality, whereas some moments were hot, filled with musk, and flow.
Autumn was spreading its golden disease through the woods, Midas trailing his fingers over the treetops. Dying things became extraordinarily beautiful at the very end.
What Unteachable showed was how the mundane is multidimensional and fluid. It is in our moments of happiness, we see beauty and all its colours, while in our moments of grief, we see gray and bleakness. All of this, and the prose was also heartfelt, lyrical and introspective; it is contemplative of unorthodox love, the crossroads of the future, and how life is comprised by a montage of erratic but coherent moments of life. This book is such a visceral experience that it’s hard to detach yourself from the plot and its characters.
And do we need to be fixed? It was the messiness and hurt in our pasts that drove us, and that same hurt connected us at a subdermal level, the kind of scars written so deeply in your cells that you can’t even see them anymore, only recognize them in someone else.
But Unteachable isn’t only just that; it is a perfect blend of a meditation of young, wild love and life, and pulses of energy, liveliness and capricious moments. The two coincide and balance each other, producing a deep and thoughtful book that is more than just a hot, steamy romance (though there is plenty of that). Furthermore, the novel avoids making stereotypical cliches, or if it ventures into that territory, it takes the cliches, and fleshes it into an earnest portrayal of the human condition.
It is so strange how a book seeps into your soul. Never in a million years would I expect Unteachable to pull me in and engrave itself onto my being. For readers who can read mature content, Unteachable is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I loved this book so much.
Random fact about me: when I love something deeply, I don’t tell my friends that I ‘loved it’. Instead, I say that it fucked me up. Examples: Her fucked me up. Wolf Children fucked me up. So, safe to say, Unteachable fucked me up. A lot.
Book Name: Unteachable
Author: Leah Raeder