Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Genre: Romance

Available On: Amazon

Let’s get the obvious elephant in the room out of the way right at the start: Untouchable is a book about teenagers. I know, the cover doesn’t make it look like it would be, and the smut level contained within the pages is considerably higher than you’d normally get from a high school romance, but I actually find that very refreshing.

Teenagers are horn devils, it’s always perplexed me why older teens are depicted as not having sex. So, a more realistic take on high school is greatly appreciated. Ironic, really, considering there are a few completely unrealistic elements to the plot. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 


Untouchable? More Like Unputdownable

I was completely hooked on this book; it held me captive. I found immense pleasure in reading it. It encompasses a range of emotions, including teenage angst, loss, sadness, heartbreak, and the allure of attractive young men. This story truly has it all. Brooklyn, having recently suffered a family tragedy, finds herself residing with her Uncle Jim in a different city, where she attends a new school. It marks the beginning of a completely transformed life for her. Unfortunately, Brooklyn’s enrollment in this new school is solely due to her uncle’s position as the janitor, granting her a special privilege. Alongside her new best friend Kennedy, she embarks on this new journey, navigating her way through the unfamiliar territory.

Existing in the shadows, unseen, while the privileged high school elite engage in their nefarious activities. I found all the characters likeable, particularly Felix, who appeared to be a genuinely pleasant individual. However, I had an inkling that there might be something hidden beneath his amiable façade. As for Matt, words cannot fully capture the extent of his appeal to Brooklyn. From the very first moment she laid eyes on him, she was captivated. Sadly, he belonged to the elite class, posing a barrier between them. Nevertheless, there seems to be a glimmer of sincerity behind his cloak of secrecy, suggesting that he may truly be a good-hearted person.

An excellent book with an unexpected ending – genuinely, I thought I’d predicted the whole plot within the first couple of chapters but it went somewhere I really didn’t expect. This is book one of the Empire High romance trilogy, and I’ll definitely be buying the rest! Normally I like to offer spoiler-free reviews, but in this case it’s tough to discuss what I want without spoilers so, if you’ve not read yet, go no further!

Warning: Spoilers From Here On Out

This book immediately captivates with its well-crafted writing, a great quality for any book, but especially satisfying when it’s the first instalment of a series. Brooklyn, a 16-year-old high school student, finds herself uprooted from Delaware to New York after her mother’s recent passing. With her absent father and Uncle Jim as her only remaining family, she moves in with Jim, who works as a janitor at a prestigious school for the wealthiest kids. Thanks to this familial connection, Brooklyn gains the opportunity to attend the elite high school free of charge.

Within the school, there exists a group known as the Untouchables, consisting of four attractive, affluent, and popular boys, one of whom is Matthew. There’s an undeniable allure about Matthew that enthrals Brooklyn, even though he doesn’t even acknowledge her existence. However, there is a moment when he comes to her aid after she injures her hand during a task, revealing that he knows who she is. Throughout the book, there is a teaser hinting at Brooklyn’s connection to one of the students, although her physical appearance is somewhat hazy, possibly due to an oversight by either the author or the reader.

The Classic Love Triangle

Brooklyn finds herself torn between two boys: Felix, who lacks wealth but possesses an intriguing charm and is involved in the school’s drug trade, and Matthew, an Untouchable who is incredibly handsome and seemingly more accessible. Alongside the typical high school drama involving mean girls, Brooklyn and Matthew struggle to establish a solid connection, constantly oscillating between coming together and breaking apart. Despite their intense longing gazes and stolen moments away from prying eyes, they cannot openly express their feelings due to Matthew being blackmailed by the wealthy and spiteful Isabella, who inexplicably harbours hatred for Brooklyn. The justification for Isabella’s animosity, based on Brooklyn’s mere act of observing the Untouchables during lunch, feels far-fetched and implausible. However, the book’s ending potentially offers a more genuine explanation.

Tragically, Uncle Jim succumbs to cancer, and Brooklyn’s father resurfaces at the funeral, revealing the shocking truth that Brooklyn and Isabella are sisters. The issue of Brooklyn’s continued enrollment at the prestigious school is resolved neatly, assuming her father continues to support her education there. Nevertheless, it remains deeply satisfying to witness Isabella, the mean girl who constantly belittled Brooklyn, discover that they share a familial bond. The thought of Brooklyn taking the opportunity to remind Isabella that she is related to “the help” brings a sense of vindication.

Returning to Brooklyn and her entanglements with the boys, Felix seems like a cool guy, but she cannot resist the allure of Matthew. Matthew becomes her first kiss and desires to be her first everything. Although Felix serves as a negative influence, he also exudes openness and friendliness. While Brooklyn kisses both boys, she repeatedly wavers in her feelings for Matthew, willingly leaving Felix behind in pursuit of more excitement with Matthew. Time and time again, Matthew makes promises but fails to fulfil them, leading to Brooklyn’s bewilderment and anger. One gripe I have at this point is that Matthew demonstrates just how much of a dick he is by completely failing to be in any way supporting while Brooklyn is grieving. 

She eventually labels him a liar when they meet clandestinely, and the cycle repeats itself. Although this pattern was initially frustrating, it becomes more tolerable, given the nature of teenage relationships. However, should I decide to read the next book, I hope this aspect becomes a thing of the past, as it was initially awful, then infuriating, and finally downright annoying.

Complex Relationships

Prior to Felix, Brooklyn’s only friend is Kennedy, who attends the school on a scholarship. Kennedy has been living down the hall from Uncle Jim for years and knows him better than Brooklyn does. Although Kennedy has struggled to make friends during her two years at the high school, she and Brooklyn develop a close bond. There may be hints of a crush Kennedy harbours for Felix, which she denies, along with alluding to something that occurred between them during their freshman year. Perhaps the next book will shed more light on their relationship. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that their dynamic will change, whether they intend it or not.

As I continued reading, I found myself wondering about the implications for Kennedy and Brooklyn’s friendship. Despite their best intentions, their evolving circumstances and romantic entanglements may inevitably alter the dynamics between them. Will their bond withstand the challenges they face or be reshaped by the complexities of their new experiences? It remains a lingering question in my mind.

Teenage Rollercoasters

In the midst of Brooklyn’s journey, the book offers glimpses into the multifaceted tapestry of teenage life, with its typical dramas, insecurities, and desires. It captures the rollercoaster ride of emotions and decisions that shape the lives of adolescents, painting a vivid picture of their struggles, hopes, and the transformative power of connections.

With the book’s conclusion, I am left with a mixture of anticipation and curiosity. While some plot elements were frustrating or far-fetched, I still find myself invested in the lives of these characters. The unresolved tensions, the evolving relationships, and the unanswered questions beckon me to delve deeper into the next instalment of the series, eagerly awaiting what lies ahead for Brooklyn, Kennedy, and the tangled web of their lives.

How Spicy Is Untouchable?

Spice Rating: 🌶️🌶️ (2/5)

While Untouchable offers a surprisingly high level of spice for a high school romance, it’s not as high up there on the spice scale as others. I feel that’s a good balance given the age of the characters and the fact the MC is just beginning to explore sexual relationships. 

Romance Trope Count

Trope Count: 💚💚💚

The novel incorporates several popular romance tropes that add depth and excitement to the story. Some of the prominent tropes found in the book include:

Bully Romance

Why do we all fall for the guys (or girls) that treat us like crap? The Bully Romance trope can go one of two ways for me. I either like it or loathe it. And it all comes down to how well the bully has been written. Matthew is, without a doubt, a douche. There’s just no getting around a lot of his dickish behaviour. And yet, he has a lot of development, he has a lot of attractive qualities (largely the fact I find him funny…I’m not sure I’m supposed to, but I do). So while he has a lot of bully behaviour going on there’s more to him than just that. This trope goes horribly wrong when the bully in question is no deeper than that behaviour.. 

High School Romance

Anyone can set a romance in high school. It takes a little finesse to create a high school romance that’s believable. It doesn’t feel like adult characters shoved into a high school setting (which, to be honest, was a concern based solely on the age of the cover model). Nor does it feel like an adult’s idealised view of high school. There’s no rose tinted view of the romance of adolescence here. It’s almost cruel in its depiction of the various challenges you face at this age. Yet that (to me at least) is realistic. There’s also no ‘teenagers never have sex’ nonsense going on, in which everyone is inexplicably chaste.

Love Triangle

A good old fashioned love triangle pulls you back and forth between Matthew and Felix. I often find a love triangle a little predictable, and this one is no exception – I will be shocked if Felix wins this one in the end, but we shall have to see. As with most love triangles it feels like there’s the genuine love interest (Matthew) who offers all the feels the MC is after, and the other guy. The more accessible guy who logically maybe makes a bit more sense but doesn’t elicit the same kind of feelings. 

What Genre Is Untouchable?

Untouchable is a straight up contemporary romance.