Review: Unteachable

Unteachable by Leah Raeder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book. The author was new to me, the “new adult” category was new to me. And the subject matter was … edgy.

Maize is an 18-year-old high school student who meets (and has sex with) an older man at a carnival. She ditches him, but guess what. Turns out he’s the new film studies teacher at her high school. So they have a real affair. Maize gets blackmailed, has a male best friend who betrays her, learns her 33-year-old boyfriend has secrets, and has to deal with her junkie mom. True love may or may not win out in the end. I’ll let you figure that one out.

I expected this to be pretty much a young adult book. Umm, no. The graphic descriptions of sex would never make it through the editor of any YA novel. I mean, there’s A LOT of sex, and not much is left to the imagination. Plus, the fact she’s banging a teacher is pretty much a YA taboo, I think.

One thing that kind of made me go back and forth on how much I liked this book was the use of language. Maize has an incredible vocabulary and can paint with metaphors and similes like the great Italian masters used paint pallets. For the daughter of a drug-addled whore going to public school and not really being academically focused, her diction and use of imagery was just a little unbelievable. But then, as a writer and English teacher, I did like it. So … yeah.

Unteachable is a good story. A little predictable, but it’s a fast ride. Probably won’t be on the shelves of too many school libraries, though.

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