“I respect people who get nerdy as fuck about something they love” Unteachable, by Leah Raeder



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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 afterwards, 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 are starting 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. 


Lean Raeder’s novel Unteachable is about a student-teacher relationship that breaks barriers and laws. Raeder’s writing flows like you’re being told a story by a friend – about her experience in high school when she seduced her teacher. Maise is a cross between a Lolita type character, and Pippy Longstocking. Where she is highly sexual, knowing it – and loving it. But completely parent free as her mother is a meth dealing junkie who’s never around – and when she is it’s just to cause problems. Her father isn’t in the picture – having taken off when she was very young. So of course, she’s drawn to older men – she admits it – she knows her flaws and the cause of them which is refreshing.

When she meets Evan at a carnival – they share a ride together and she instantly knows she’s going to seduce him. They share a moment in his car; one you think is both sad and sexy – but above all fleeting. Until she starts her first day of school and see’s the same man in her film studies class – Evan is her teacher.

You forget how young Maise really is – with all her life experiences; dealing with her mother, not having a father figure around and learning at a young age the power she held in her sexuality, you forget she’s just a kid. You forget she shouldn’t have these kinds of problems – or be having an affair with her teacher, but you tend to forget about all of that and get engrossed in their relationship and hope they don’t get caught. You fight for them – you fight for Evan to break Maise out of her shell and to show her that not all men are bad – they can make you feel things that are good – pure – and make her feel safe.

Raeder’s way of writing is very easy to read and her description of things whether it’s through film or music is refreshing and beautiful. Her characters are flawed – and she shows the beauty in their flaws.


“…You should love something while you have it, love it fully and without reservation, even if you know you’ll lose it someday. We lose 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.” His fingers curl around mine. “That’s all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths.”

“You can call it love, or you can call it free fall. They’re pretty much the same thing.”

“There are moments, when you’re getting to know someone, when you realize something deep and buried in you is deep and buried in them, too. It feels like meeting a stranger you’ve known your whole life.”

“I see the lights every night. It seems like the whole world has figured out how to be happy, but no one’s letting me in on the secret.”

“Grow up. This is real. The world is ugly and nasty and fucked up, and so are we.”

“I respect people who get nerdy as fuck about something they love”

“I can’t hold on to you. You’re like a shooting star. Just a trail of fire in my hands.”

About the Author, Leah Raeder


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I was born in the 80’s, which means I have fantastic taste in music and atrocious taste in hair. I knew at eight ears old that I wanted to be a published author when I grew up. Of course, when I was eight, “published author” was a glamorous daydream where I spent all day in bookstores, signing hardcovers and posing for photos with fans. In reality, authordom involves lots of bourbon-scented tears and neurotic self-doubt. At least there are fewer mullets. 

As well as being a writer, I’m a voracious and omnivorous reader. Seriously. I read everything from contemporary Young Adult to dense, doorstop literary fiction. Some of my favorite writers are Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita), Virginia Woolfe (Mrs. Dalloway), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tender is the Night), and Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body). I’m a total poetry geek, too – my two absolute favorites are Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath. 

All the pretty colors on my website were made by me. In my non-bookish life, I’m is a graphic designer. 

I’m from Chicago and have lived all over the world, from NYC to LA to Tehran, Iran. I currently live in the Windy City with my partner, Alexander, who’s very understanding about all this girlsmut business. 

How to pronounce her name (it rhymes with “see ya later.”)


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