Unteachable Blog Tour: Review, Interview & Giveaway

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



Welcome to my stop for Unteachable Blog Tour!
I'm so excited for this blog tour post. I have a review for Unteachable. Also, I'm so grateful to Leah Raeder for letting me interview her. She's totally A-mazing! So don't miss this out. 


Author: Leah Raeder
Release date: August 1st 2013
Publisher: Velvet Pony Press
Series: N/A
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour organized by: Itching For Books
Purchase: Amazon
Add to your library: Goodreads

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.
My teacher.
I don’t know if what we’re doing is wrong. The law says one thing; my heart says screw the law. 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. (via Goodreads)

Review
Who won't be intrigued by that cover? It's unique and it has this pull that makes you want to read the story immediately. Especially when you read the blurb.

I've never been a fan of forbidden love. In its entirety. But I do find it amusing. Most specifically student-teacher affair. I always wonder whether the affair is just some fling. Like maybe it's just infatuation. Or the fact that it's forbidden makes it even more appealing. You know, people do love doing something that's forbidden, right?

Unteachable definitely sets the bar to the highest. It wasn't the common student-teacher love affair. Sure, the school, of course would be stopping them but then, it's more than that. It's more than about the societal norms. After a long time, I've found a taboo story that actually tackled the relationship itself between the two people involved.

What started out to be just a one-night sex turned out to be something more for Maise and Evan. I knew when they first met that they really were for each other. It was intense, emotional and heartfelt. Oh yeah, it was sort of love at first sight. But not your typical love at first sight. Lust was there. But there were emotions involved that I didn't think was quite possible for a love-at-first-sight moment. How do I explain it? It felt like a needle pierced through my heart. Yes, that intense, realistic and moving.

I'll never forget the association of Freud's Oedipus Complex with Maise's attraction to older men. You know, I disagree with Freud about that sexual stuff. There are a lot of personality theories that can explain Maise's personality. It wasn't just about Oedipus Complex. It was all about the upbringing of the parents and growing up with such safe and secured environment. Or the lack thereof. That's why Maise was like that. She never had a father figure. So she'll keep on looking for that old man who'll care for her. Also, her Mom made it worst. My goodness, what kind of Mother would do that to her child? Seriously, no person in his/her right mind would do that. I'm not one to judge her Mother but she could have chosen some things which were better for Maise! Everything that happened to Maise's life was definitely a result of her life at home. Her choices, her words, behavior. All of her. But that doesn't make me love her any less. For all I know, Maise was just looking for that someone who'll treat her right. And holy moly was I ever happy that Evan came. Yes, I love Evan. I don't care how old he is. 

Bad thing was? He was her teacher. Funny how something we swear would just be a one-night thing ends up something we crave for the most and want for the rest of our life. The connection between Maise and Evan was really undeniable. It was so realistic, intense and utterly moving. I know how forbidden their relationship was but I kept on rooting for them. Because friends, that's how touching and raw and just swoony it is for me. You know, there was one scene that made my knees really go jelly-like. I mean, from the first page till the last, I just want to melt and hug my pillow. But that one scene made my heart melt too much. Maise saw right through Evan despite his flaws and all. I swear. It was so sweet. Maise and Evan took me to a roller coaster ride of a lifetime.

I won't even deny that this has sexual content. And if you read my previous reviews about sex scenes, I just usually skim such parts. But I read those parts here. My second time to read such descriptive scenes. Yet it wasn't about the sex. It was so emotional that I felt like crying because it was something that soulful. I didn't even feel like I was invading their privacy. I felt like I was able to know them in such an intimate way.

The best thing about this taboo novel is the fact that it tackled Maise and Evan's relationship. Were they just together for lust? Or for the appeal that it's forbidden? Or because they actually love each other despite every hindrance they have or have yet to encounter? The people around them played a big role on their relationship. They helped them realize what kind of love they had.

Of course, there's something that happened that shook them apart. I think that was the turning point of their lives. I swear I was holding my breath because I didn't know what will actually happen! 

Hold on, I can't finish this without mentioning how wonderful Leah Raeder's writing is. I fell for her writing from the very first line. There's something about it that made me feel more than just imagine. It's more than just words itself. This is a superb debut novel. I can't actually wait to read her next novels! Thank you for writing this, Leah!

Sorry for such a long review. If you get to this part, thank you for reading till here. I don't usually write something this long. I cannot stop typing because I want to talk about Unteachable endlessly. But I have to stop already! And honestly, my review won't be much of a justice as to how amazing this story is. Really, just buy this book now and it will make you see a lot of things in a different perspective.

Unteachable is not your typical student-teacher love affair. It's intense, realistic, soulful, and moving. It tackled Maise and Evan's relationship on the inside. It opened my eyes wider to a lot of things. I'm so glad I was able to have this journey with Maise and Evan. This isn't just a taboo story. It's a story about life itself. It's just amazing, okay? I swear my life on this. This is absolutely one of my favorites. 



Interview
1. Hi Leah! Thanks for taking the time to be here in my blog! How are you enjoying your summer? I'm assuming it's summertime for you right now.
Thanks for having me! Yep, it's summer here in Chicago. It's been a strangely cool summer, which is great, but also kinda eerie. Usually around this time of year, we've melted into puddles of sweat and misery and misanthropy.

2. Forbidden love specifically a student-teacher love affair is such a sensitive topic. What made you write Unteachable?
I've had a thing for teacher/student relationships since the dawn of time. And I have no idea where it came from, because I never had any hot teachers in high school. I'm actually sort of obsessed with this trope, so I've read a ton of books and watched a ton of movies about it. None of them ever quite satisfied me--they tend to either sugarcoat and downplay the taboo, or they end in disaster and heartbreak. I wanted something different: something that confronted the taboo head-on, that even embraced it, but didn't become a hopeless tragedy. So I wrote my own ideal version.

3. What were your inspirations for the characters?
Maise just barged her way onto the screen. The first line of the book popped into my head exactly as it is, and it seemed to perfectly capture her voice: this confident, old-souled girl with a cynical outlook and a sense of humor about life's absurdity. She was a complete person to me from the very beginning. I don't feel like she was inspired by anything, but more as if she stepped out of some alternate universe, fully-formed.

Evan was different. I love the sensitive, sweet, caring type of male lead, and Evan fit that mold, but he's also got some darkness in him. The idea of someone who's unhappy with his life and his unrealized potential hits pretty close to home. I've been struggling to get published for years, and before I self-published Unteachable, I seriously thought writing was simply not going to be a viable career for me. So Evan's feelings of getting nowhere fast are very personal.

4. Will you describe your writing process for Unteachable? Was it hard? If so, how were you able to cope with it?
I shouldn't admit this, but I have a bad habit of being honest, so...I wrote the book in a month. It just poured out of me in a raging flood. I've never written a novel so fast. I credit it to copious amounts of alcohol and simply not caring anymore, because, as mentioned above, this was my last shot at making a living as a writer. I thought I'd sell a few hundred copies at most, then go back to some minimum wage job. So what's happened since release has been utterly mind-blowing. I will actually be able to do this for a living. My dream is going to come true after all. There have been many, many happy tears.

5. What is your favorite student-teacher love affair? May it be in a movie or a book.
Good question. Each of them has things I love and things I hate. I think my favorite is from Alison Espach's novel The Adults. It's pretty messed up--it starts when the girl is 15 and her teacher is like, 25--but it becomes such an integral and ongoing part of her life that it shapes her forever, and you see what happens as she grows up and becomes an adult with this on-again, off-again affair. It doesn't end happily, but it's one of the more honest portrayals of how such a relationship changes the people involved. There's genuine love, yet they're toxic to each other. I honestly don't know if I wanted them to have a future together. But I couldn't peel my eyes from the page. Plus, fantastic writing.

6. Personally, what's your opinion about student-teacher romantic relationship?
I think it's a mistake to group them all under one umbrella. It comes down to the individuals in each relationship. Some of those relationships are abusive and unhealthy. Some aren't. Love doesn't fit neatly into society's predefined boxes, and sometimes it's worth breaking the rules for something beautiful and true...if you do it with open eyes and an honest heart.

7. Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite books? Did they help you realize your passion for writing?
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita), Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tender is the Night), Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body), and the list goes on. I also love the poets Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath.

They absolutely helped me realize my passion for writing. I was into poetry from an early age, and all of my favorite writers are amazingly lyrical. I love a great story, but I need more than just story. I need beautiful words, startling and illuminating ways of looking at the world with fresh eyes. I want to see things as a kid does: everything new and awe-inspiring. These writers make you look at the world like it's totally new. That's the best kind of writing, in my opinion.

8. What can we expect for your future novels?
Probably more fucked-up shit. :D I'm planning to write more New Adult romance standalones. Hoping to have something new out this fall/winter.

9. Lastly, describe how Unteachable is different from other student-teacher love affairs. Persuade them to read it!
Unteachable is, as far as I know, the one teacher/student novel that embraces the taboo unflinchingly. It's not brushed under the rug. Maise and Evan admit that part of what excites them is the forbiddenness of their relationship. It's something they struggle with: is there genuine love beneath it, or is it all superficial thrill-seeking? What happens when their relationship is no longer forbidden? Are they just using each other to compensate for what's lacking in their lives?

If, like me, you're disappointed when most teacher/student romances sugarcoat and minimize the inherently fucked-up elements of this kind of relationship, Unteachable is for you. It's romantic, but not romanticized. I tried to be as honest, non-judgmental, and non-preachy as possible. This book won't tell you how to feel about their relationship. It leaves you to draw your own conclusions.

Also, people say the prose is pretty, so there's that.


         About the Author 
Writes pretentiously lyrical YA and adult fiction of various genres. Loves zombies, velociraptors, and other world-ending things. Copies her bio from Twitter because she's lazy.


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2 comments:

Shane Morgan said...

Wonderful review & interview. Thanks for participating :)

Nina Waters said...

You're welcome. I AM SO GLAD I SIGNED UP FOR THIS!!!! :D

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