Just to let y'all know, I don't read New Adult
a lot. There was Easy
and a few others I can't recall right now, but it was never a genre that absolutely enthralled me. A lot of them are more cliché than the YA dystopias we are getting, and some are downright trashy. It's just not my thing. But that doesn't mean there aren't "gems" out there, because they exist, as Unteachable
by Leah Raeder has proven. NA isn't my favorite genre, but this book is making me reconsider.
I don't really know how to describe this book other than it being absolutely raw, intense, and honest. I read this with no high or low expectations, and man, did it hit me like pick-up truck! I have no doubt in my mind right now that was a quality book, and books in this genre should strive to reach its calibre. Yes, folks, Unteachable
has set the bar high. If ever the time comes that I'll read another NA book, it better be this excellent or better, lest it will get three stars or less from me.
I love first person narratives. I love how it allows the reader to see the deepest thoughts of the character and make the story feel more personal and genuine. The narrative in this case is one of those rare ones that really does it right. I liked the main character, Maise. She's spunky, feisty, rebellious, and sarcastic. But behind that brave façade is a kind and fragile spirit that seeks those who can and are willing to understand her. Despite the fact that I am nowhere like Maise, I couldn't help but forge a deep relationship with her as I read her thoughts and fears throughout the book. It was like listening to an old friend tell her life story with all the intricacies, or listening to a grandparent recall his childhood with such vibrancy. I loved how the narrative absolutely and perfectly captured each moment in striking and resounding detail without going too far too much.
Let me make it easier for you guys.
If I could compare the narrative to one thing, I'd compare it to Van Gogh's Starry Night
Give it a long look. In it, you feel a sense of melancholy. You sense the painter's sorrow, pain, and pent-up feelings. But even with this knowledge, you can't help but feel awe. You can't help but feel how the sadness makes the painting so beautiful, how the pain makes it bewitching. You are enthralled by it all.
That's how the narrative in Unteachable feels to me and why it's so memorable. The author has woven a tale that's largely sad and painful, but it's so beautiful to read and consume at the same time. The characters grew to me, the story grew to me, and eventually, everything grew to me, that it made me feel a hundred percent immersed in the book.
I also loved the subject matter, as it's so real. Age gaps are something that I don't read often in fiction. The last time I read age gaps being the central conflict in fiction was when I tried to read a Danielle Steel book. It happens often in the real world - younger person falling in love with a significantly older person and vice versa - that I was legitimately wondering why there aren't any more books about this. I was so happy when I found out the relationship here was something like that because I could finally read something I could somehow relate to, since I'm also in such a relationship. It was fun to read, and since I felt very attached to Maise, it felt like seeing a dear friend of mine enacting how it was for me then. I loved how it was portrayed so genuinely and so honestly, how it effectively showcased the possible conflicts that could rise (especially since it was a teacher/student relationship, too), and how it illustrated a healthy bond between two people depends on the efforts of both parties, and not because of factors like age.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book, and am recommending it to those who love New Adult and those who'd like to enter this genre with a good book. There IS a lot of sex in it, though, and thankfully, they were hot, hot
Honestly the best I've read ;-)
Final verdict: 4.5 stars!!