a top ten romance of 2013: Unteachable by Leah Raeder


What makes a great book? Lots of things, right? Great plot, startlingly interesting characters, writing that leaps off the page and slams into your heart and brain, emotional power that reminds you what’s worth living for: I put all those things on my list. I’d also put originality paired with readability.

There were quite a few singular romances published in 2013. Out of my top ten, five are books that I’d never read anything quite like them. One of those five is Lear Raeder’s Unteachable.

I reviewed the book on this blog earlier this year. If you’d like to read the whole review, here it is. In that review, I didn’t rave about the book. I felt then and still feel now the romance between an eighteen-year-old girl and her thirty-two-year-old male teacher is a discomfiting one.

I’ve read it again since I wrote that review and while I still find the love affair on the icky side I decided the book itself is excellent. In some ways it reminds me of Gone Girl, one of my favorite books of 2012. (You may read my Dear Author review of it here.) Neither book proffers a happy ending for its fucked up lovers. Maise and her now ex-teacher Evan may end up together by the book’s end but I predict their future is grim as a couple and as disastrous individuals.

Still, I’ve thought about Unteachable since I read it. I thought about it enough it’s made my top ten list for 2013.  I wouldn’t say it’s a great romance but it is an acutely interesting book.  I’m glad I read it and I want others to read it too… in part so I can ask them “Did you think this was a great book?” 

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