4.5 stars Smart, serious, sexy, and playful all at once--and not a single freaking cliche. It is heartening to see authors taking advantage of the lib...more4.5 stars Smart, serious, sexy, and playful all at once--and not a single freaking cliche. It is heartening to see authors taking advantage of the liberties that writing for the New Adult category affords--and doing it with integrity and style.
This book is kind of like a really great episode of Felicity, with smart girls (non liberal arts girls, too!), intense worry about education, complicated family relationships, anxiety over identity and dating and life decisions, and one seriously cute boy.
Big thanks to my friend Emily, who raved so much about this book that I added it, bought it, read it, and loved it without ever reading the synopsis. We should all have awesomely reliable blogger friends like that.
And now I'm going to have to go get some baklava tomorrow. *fans self*(less)
3.5 stars You have to give it points for being so readable. And hot.
Things I liked:
-- strong, vulnerable heroine who is unapologetically secure in he...more3.5 stars You have to give it points for being so readable. And hot.
Things I liked:
-- strong, vulnerable heroine who is unapologetically secure in her femininity, sexual power, and identity -- engaging narrative voice -- humor -- extremely flammable sexual tension -- memorable characters -- story that isn't just about the romance, but is also about college, pressure to perform, future plans, parental relationships, and side friendships as well -- drugs and alcohol included in a way that didn't feel exploitative or cheap.
In the middle:
-- teetering on melodrama at times. But that's somewhat expected in NA. -- there is a lot going on in this book, which actually didn't feel like too much, except that one plot line involving Nora's brother escalated throughout the book so much that the resolution felt rushed.
Things that could have been better:
-- pacing felt uneven. The first half is pretty well structured, but then the story felt a little dragged out later on, too much waffling back and forth.
-- in the end, (view spoiler)[the actual consummation felt a little rushed and not quite as big of a payoff as expected, given all the tension that had been building up (hide spoiler)].
All in all, a fast and fun read, however, and among the better NA and indie titles out there. Would definitely read the next book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is, by far, the most well-written romance I've read to date in the dubious "new adult" category--not to mention one of the best in the indie pres...moreThis is, by far, the most well-written romance I've read to date in the dubious "new adult" category--not to mention one of the best in the indie press one. There are a handful of other NAs that I've liked, among them Faking It, Double Clutch, and Easy, but this one's much closer to the mature YA/NA writing of The Sea of Tranquility. Albeit with characters and problems that are a lot more fucked up.
This story is basically a much better version of Slammed, which has gotten a lot of attention but I didn't find all that compelling, particularly in the too-honorable-to-be-true teacher. Unteachable is honest about how the fantasy of the older man/forbidden relationship plays into Maise's intense relationship with her teacher Evan, as well as mostly honest in Evan's fixation on her. It's filled with the kind of lust and sweat and regret that you rarely get in New Adult titles, maybe because so many of them are too busy trying to appeal to YA readers that they aren't pushing the envelope enough, or maybe just don't have that much insight to share.
I think one of the most bold things about this book is that as messed up as the idea of this relationship is, it's interesting to see how honestly Maise is portrayed. She's not an innocent ripe for seduction, and her awareness of her own femininity and sexual power is shown in a way you don't ever see in contemporary romances--I mean, why is it that you mostly only get that in urban fantasy? Most women who are 18 are aware of the potency of their attractiveness and youthfulness on some level, even if they aren't mature enough to fully understand the consequences of their actions--or the lack of responsibility, and what that implies, in his. But the situation is put into the right context later on. I do think that a little more time could have been spent on (view spoiler)[Evan/Eric's past relationship, and more proof that this wasn't just a predilection for teenage girls. Because honestly, to me, that's how the situation still feels, and I don't know if Maise's just fooling herself. It's pretty creepy, but you knew that going into this story. (hide spoiler)], and the story might wrap up a little too neatly in some ways. But I'm okay with it, because there is a lot of attention paid to things that are also important, and the story and writing exceeded my expectations in most ways. I also like that the book gives you just enough back story for Maise being the way she is, and gives her enough self-awareness to be sarcastic/realistic about it, without becoming a cliched sobfest.
Incidentally, while the sex is extremely well-written and fairly graphic (and there's a good amount of it, so beware, readers who like clean romances), this isn't just sexed-up YA, as it's not just about an obsessive romance; there's real emotional connection between these two, as well as between all the well-drawn secondary characters. (view spoiler)[Whether Evan's attraction to her stays as she gets older, I'm not sure. But it's an escapist fantasy romance book, so it's not going to get into that. (hide spoiler)]Unteachable is also rounded out with worries about parents, career, identity, college, friendships--you know, all those things that NA is purportedly about but rarely is.
I hope this author is working on another book, because she's clearly got things to say. And I'd be interested in hearing them.
*** This makes such an interesting bookend to Tampa, by the way. I still haven't reviewed that book, but there is so much room for discussion there.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)