I met him at a carnival, of all corny places. The summer I turned eighteen, in that chaos of neon lights and cheap thrills, I met a man so sweet, so beautiful, he seemed to come from another world. We had one night: intense, scary, real. Then I ran, like I always do. Because I didn’t want to be abandoned again.
But I couldn’t run far enough.
I knew him as Evan that night. When I walked into his classroom, he became Mr. Wilke.
I don’t know if what we’re doing is wrong. The rules say one thing; my heart says screw the rules. I can’t let him lose his job. And I can’t lose him.
In the movies, this would have a happy ending. I grow up. I love, I lose, I learn. And I move on. But this is life, and there’s no script. You make it up as you go along.
And you don’t pray for a happy ending. You pray for it to never end.
Refreshing, original, gritty, real… I absolutely loved this!
5 stars for Maise & Mr. Wilke!
I love Leah Raeder’s writing! She is an incredibly talented author and certainly one I will be watching for in the future. This book is so cleverly written and so engaging! I’ve highlighted so many quotes in this book. And now I have to narrow it down to fit into this review. Yeh… trust me, this is narrowed down!
This is the story of Maise O’Malley and Evan Wilke.
Maise is a screwed up, cynical, hard-faced eighteen year old girl, with a tortured past, a non existent and a poor excuse for a mother.
Maise meets the gorgeous Evan at a carnival and they share a few hours of intense passion, all consuming lust and then Maise does the only thing she knows how to do. She bails.
She doesn’t expect to see the beautiful stranger again… she especially doesn’t expect to see him sitting at the teacher’s desk when she walks into her film class on the first day of her senior year.
But neither of them can help pursuing this forbidden relationship.
What is this feeling? I wondered. What is this hunger that grows worse the more I feed it?
They’d come up with a name for it a long time ago. But you already know what it’s called, don’t you?
But I really enjoyed the honesty that these characters displayed when the acknowledged the fact their relationship was completely built on the excitement of the forbidden element. And what happens when it’s no longer off limits? When she is no longer his student and he no longer her teacher. Is ‘normal’ enough for two broken souls who seem to thrive on the rebellion of conducting a relationship that is considered morally wrong?
The removal of all boundaries, all distractions, leaving us with nothing but each other – scary. What kind of people would we be without secrecy and desperation?
This is so much more than just a romance. It’s incredibly seductive. There is nothing illegal about Maise and Evan’s relationship re. age of consent, so it’s just a morally questionable, for those of you wondering. But the sex scenes are so sensual, they’ll make your toes curl! It’s taboo, so obviously there’s the element of wanting what you can’t have, so those of who love anything a little bit naughty will adore this…
He embraced me, and said into my ear, “I’m going to fuck the shit out of you.”
I lost my breath.
It was crude, it was unexpected, and it set me on fucking fire.
… but it’s more than that. Maise’s internal monologues are so honest and true. She voices things that we all think, yet didn’t even realise we think. Her observations during sex are frank, yet extremely erotic. There is an innocence in her that is intriguing to read and the mere trueness of her thoughts makes it that much more sexy. It’s written in such a way that you can almost feel the things she’s feeling.
His hand circled the back of my neck. “I need you tonight.”
Has there ever been a more effective line in the history of pickup lines than “I need you?”
The imagery in this book is so strong. The colours, the seasons, the weather, the sex, the emotion, the scene setting, the atmosphere. You can almost, feel/taste/smell/hear everything that the characters experience, thanks to the soulful, descriptive writing. The excitement, the thrills, the highs and the lows, the fear, the desperation, the sensuality between the two characters, the angst. I had such strong visuals throughout this book. The metaphors that the author uses are wonderful. I was so drawn in to this story that at times I totally forgot that I was reading. I was lost to Maise and Evan’s world. And that was all thanks to the writing.
Maise is a film student and parts of this book were written as if it were a film script. I loved that… again, it allowed the words on the page to disappear and the story to turn into a film-roll in my head.
So, let’s talk about the characters. I know that some people weren’t taken with Maise O’Malley. I loved her. She’s completely nuts. She has no filter between her brain and her mouth, but not in a clumsy way, just in a no bullshit way.
It wasn’t about flirting with death, like Mom. It was about wanting to live all the way to the seams of life.
She’s had a terrible childhood, she’s brought herself up, been neglected and experienced things that no child should have to experience, and her tough exterior reflects that. She’s hardened, suspicious of everything and everyone, un-trusting, defensively arrogant, sardonic… but I just loved her.
Yeah, I hook up with older guys. And then I leave them, before they can leave me.
Thanks for the abandonment issues, Dad. Fuck you very much.
I loved her for surviving and for her determination. I enjoyed the bluntness and the strength of character. I also enjoyed watching her change and soften, against her will, throughout the book. I liked that she was both predator and prey; a walking contradiction.
Maybe I fell in love with the idea of love, but I’m a teenage girl. This morning I fell in love with raspberry jam and a puppy in a tiny raincoat.
I adored Evan, too. I have to say I was a little disappointed in him towards the end of this book. For me, he didn’t fight hard enough for his girl. I get that he was being romantic and trying to do the right thing; ‘loving her enough to let her go’… but that didn’t sit well with me. Sod that. Man up! Luckily, he does redeem himself by the end of the book, so don’t panic. However, having said that, for the most part of the book he is just perfect. He’s the perfect mix of upstanding, respectable teacher, sensitive lover and sexy rule breaker.
“I’m also thinking the night I met you was like someone handed me a winning lottery ticket and said, ‘You can only have it if you don’t tell anyone.’”
He gave me a sad smile. “I feel like that too.”
“Do you start to wonder if it’s even real?”
“All the time. Like maybe I made you up on that rollercoaster.”
He’s a sad soul and I just wanted to protect him. Obviously, Maise is the young, vulnerable one in this relationship, so I felt that Evan spent a lot of time offering her strength, and rightly so. But I really wanted him to open up, share his problems with her and get the support he needed to battle his own demons. My heart ached for him.
“Nobody knows how to be a grown-up. We’re all just pretending for each other.”
And I really felt his love for Maise. I loved that he just couldn’t help himself where she was concerned. He couldn’t stay away. There is nothing sexier than a man that just can not keep away from the woman he is infatuated with. I love it when you can really feelthat obsession and I got that with Unteachable.
“You should love something while you have it, love it fully and without reservation, even if you know you’ll lose it someday. We love everything. If you’re trying to avoid loss, there’s no point in taking another breath, or letting your heart beat one more time. It all ends.”
Surprisingly, I really liked the ending of this book. Now, usually, I like everything all wrapped up and adorned with a pretty little bow. I want to know exactly what happens with the characters. I want to know the date of the wedding and how many kids they are having and the name of their family dog! Lol! You don’t get that with Unteachable. You do get a happy ending. However, it’s quite vague and it leaves an awful lot to the imagination. I’d usually even say that there would be the possibility of a sequel, but I just don’t get the impression that that would be Leah Raeder’s style. The ambiguity of the ending was kind of what made it what it was. Ambiguity really isn’t usually my thing… I like everything tied down and spelled out for me… but this just worked. It fit the style, the characters, the nature of the plot. It was the perfect ending for Evan and Maise.
You can call it love, or you can call it freefall. They’re pretty much the same thing.
Before I finish, I have to mention (and cast) Wesley. I felt he was such a special part of this book and signified so much. He was Maise’s best friend, the boy her age, the boy should could have but didn’t want, as opposed to the man she wanted but shouldn’t have. He was the safe, the dependable, the reliable, the taken-for-granted. I have such a soft spot for this character, so I felt the need to give him a face.
So, this book was so much more than I thought it was going to be. I thought I was going to read a typical, steamy, high-school, teacher/student, taboo romance. And that would have been fine, I’d have enjoyed that… but what I got was an alluring, addictive story of two tortured, broken souls, piecing one another back together, dealing with twists and turns that will make your head spin. I’d highly recommend this book, but do go in with an open mind.
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥♥♥
• Ending: HEA
• Length: 356 pages
• Narrative: Maise’s POV. First person. Past tense.
• Series: ✗
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• WARNING. This book includes…
Sexual content. Forbidden love. Drugs.
• Writing: Fantastic
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