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.
Reviewing Black Iris is proving to be one of the hardest books that I have had to formulate words for. Leah Raeder has an unspeakable talent in the way that she strings words together to create sentences. She takes letters of the alphabet and arranges them lyrically, magically, so that you are left with the deepest impression on your soul. Black Iris one was so much darker, so much heavier than what I normally read, and I’m not even sure how to review it, but I know that my words will never do it justice.
“Scars tell a story.”
This is definitely not your hearts and flowers romance novel. It is full of deceit, lies, and revenge under a cloud of drugs and illness. It bounces back and forth between different time periods in Laney’s life and told solely through her point of view. We’re given morsels of clues until everything unravels at the end and you’re left with your jaw on the floor. Even though these characters were so broken and dejected, there is a part of me that couldn’t help but let them in. My compassion overrode everything, even when the mystery came full circle.
“My whole life was written on my body.”
My heart felt heavy and my mind was reeling throughout the entire book. Despite these feelings, there was something so poignant and breathtaking about Raeder’s words and emotions. Not only does the author deliver a well-crafted story, but she also discusses issues and topics that are so prevalent in today’s society. She gives a voice to countless people who may feel stifled in their everyday lives. Most of all, she uses her gift to make others aware that they are never alone.
“How are you supposed to leave the past behind when you carry it with you on your skin?”
Whatever you think this book is, clear your mind. Whatever you’re expecting to get, raise the bar. Black Iris is undoubtedly one of the best books I have ever read. Leah Raeder’s blood, sweat, and soul were poured into these pages and I felt them with each and every turned page. I’m sure that this book will have triggers for plenty of people, but if you can get passed that, I urge you to read this one. Black Iris is different, pushes boundaries, and is certain to leave readers with a permanent mark.
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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.