Book review: Unteachable by Elliot Wake (Leah Raeder)


UNTEACHABLE by Elliot Wake (formerly Leah Raeder)
Published: March 24th 2014 (Atria)
Format: Kindle e-book
Pages: 320

Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.

But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall.

When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.

That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.

Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.

Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script. 


I had put off reading Unteachable for a really long time (as in, multiple years) for no other reason than the fact that I had other things to read. And then one day, it showed up as a suggestion when I was browsing the Kindle store and I just bit the bullet and went for it.

For me, the best thing about this book was the writing style. I realise that the poetic, dream sequence-like writing is never going to appeal to everyone, but for this story it worked. It created the impression that the heroine, Maise, was permanently living in a dream, rose-coloured glasses and all.

The plot, girl has one-night-stand with man who turns out to be her teacher, isn’t the most original (Pretty Little Liars, anyone?) but Elliott Wake made it his own and gave it a creative twist. However, it was predictable and cliche at times. I could see the ending coming a mile away. The author could have taking his time a little bit more towards the ending of the book, which did feel slightly rushed and sloppy.

Both main characters were so imperfectly flawed which was very refreshing. I don’t think the author had the intention of making either character particularly likeable, but rather a reflection of how imperfect we all are. However, I couldn’t help but root for Maise O’Malley throughout the entire book.

I loved Maise’s character. She was pretentious, with a side of superiority complex, but also intelligent and caring. Evan is someone I would absolutely despise if I ever came across him in real life. And for this reason,  he worked so well as ‘the teacher’ in this book. Some of the side characters were a bit bland, boring and unrealistic, but I’ve never read a book where I liked everyone.

I know there are many opposing views and opinions on Unteachable, and I’m curious to hear from everyone. If you haven’t read it, start now, and if you have – let me know because I would love to discuss!

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