My rating: 3 of 5 stars
UNTEACHABLE left me a bit conflicted. While I typically flock to and revel in stories of taboo topics such as the forbidden relationships between students and teachers, I am not quite sure this was the story for me. The story revolves around a high-school student, but make no mistake about it, it is intended for a mature audience.
❝ As the stream-of-consciousness goes on, it grows more crowded and chaotic. Images and words flash past too fast to parse, like the cliché dying moment in film, when life flashes before someone’s eyes.❞
UNTEACHABLE is written in an interesting arrangement of rambling prose delivered in a staccato type fashion. The author describes her writing as being “pretentiously lyrical” and I would have to agree. Although well written, I felt that this unconventional manner of delivery was a teensy bit distracting for *me* as a reader. Author Leah Raeder is talented, there is no doubt about that and I thought it very clever of her to combine a story that revolves around film and photography, among other things, with an arrangement of words that reminded me of a fast moving series of film clips or photos – you know the ones that move so quickly that you can barely compute what you have just seen?
❝Cold water on my skin, his heat on my neck. A live wire ran up my spine straight to my brain stem. I turned and he lifted my face and kissed me, and I let him, my wet hands falling to my sides. My chest felt tight and heavy. He let go and I dried my hands and kissed him again, harder. Beer and almond cookies. Buzzing fluorescent light, linoleum smacking beneath our shoes. My shoulder blades knocking against the fridge. The kiss grew intense and we stopped simultaneously, pulling away.❞
I also wasn’t in love with the characters. Evan, or “Mr. Wilke” as his students call him was a bit boring in my opinion. If I am going to (mentally) encourage an 18 year old high school senior to go and get freaky with her thirty-something year old teacher, then he has got to light my panties on fire! He really didn’t do it for me. AND by the end of the book, I viewed him more as a predator than a hunky piece of man-candy.
I would rate UNTEACHABLE a 4 out of 5 stars for writing talent, but a 3 overall for the story as a whole. It’s a great choice if you enjoy discovering new authors with a unique writing style and like a romance that revolves around forbidden love.