Title – Black Iris
Author – Leah Raeder
Publication Date – April 28, 2015
It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.
If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.
She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.
But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.
Which was the plan all along.
Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.
She’s going to show them all.
“Maybe I’m a little bitter.
And maybe this isn’t your typical college romance novel.”
BLACK IRIS is a powerful and shockingly different book that kept me up reading all night. Leah Raeder’s fierce and descriptive prose is poetic and gripping and pulled at all my emotions.
This is a stunning tale of mental illness, love, adolescent angst, sexuality, revenge and finally, self-acceptance. Laney is the voice of the story and she is not the most lovable of characters. Yes, her tale is sad and depressing at first but ultimately it is uplifting in a way that only Leah Raeder can make honest, real, believable and sympathetic all at once.
“Tell me something.” He leaned closer, his voice raspy at the edges, charred. “If you hate human connection so much, why come with us?” Because I don’t hate it. I hate how much I need it. Because you’re the ones I was waiting for. Because you smell like prey.”
Unteachable is one of my favorite books so I could not wait to read BLACK IRIS. And Leah Raeder has written another powerful and brilliant story that will keep you guessing until the very end. It is not told in chronological order, which adds to the element of disorientation present throughout the book. Her writing style is beautiful, seductive and addicting, a world where wet eyelashes become black petals and a lowly puddle of water becomes a brilliant oil color painting.
The characters in this book are unforgettable and I felt as though I personally knew Delaney, Blythe, Armin, Donnie and Hiyam. The writer is wise beyond her years and her glimpses into married life are brutally honest and painful and will haunt me for a long time to come. The plot is incredibly imaginative and meaningful and is not all hearts and flowers. If you are looking for a thrilling, suspenseful book with a powerful message and perfect writing, then read BLACK IRIS. It is one of the best books I have ever read.
Change isn’t peaceful. Change is violent, savage, cruel.
(ARC provided by the publisher with thanks.)
Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago. Visit her at LeahRaeder.com.