Book Review: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Posted May 6, 2015 by Melissa in Book Review | 16 Comments

Book Review: Black Iris by Leah RaederTitle: Black Iris
Author: Leah Raeder
Publisher: Atria, Simon and Schuster
Publication date: April 28th 2015
Target Audience: New Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Source: Publisher
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
My Rating:

The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.

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.

Shes 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.

My Thoughts

Wow…just Wow.  I wish I could get away with leaving it at that folks.

Black Iris simply blew my mind…in more ways than one and let me assure you…all of them were good!

I confess that I knew this would be one heck of a ride after reading Raeder’s Untouchable.  I have yet to put together a readable review for that title.  And Black Iris blew that clear out of the water.

To start Leah’s writing is amazing…lyrical, poetic, descriptive…everything that my heart yearns for in a good read.

“Falling for someone is like pulling a loose thread. It happens stitch by stitch. You feel whole most of the time even while the seams pop, the knots loosen, everything that holds you together coming undone. It feels incredible, this opening of yourself to the world. Not like the unraveling it is. Only afterward do you glance down at the tangle of string around your feet that used to be a person who was whole and self-contained and realize that love is not a thing that we create. It’s an undoing.”

The pacing on this one is also just perfect…I simply could not put it down.  I loved the way we jumped back and forth through time…slowly learning the full story.  I will also confess that I felt this was also the one drawback to the novel.  Much as I enjoyed the technique, I felt that it jumped a bit too much and often I had to really stop and think hard about where and when I was which took away from my reading bliss a little bit. That said…I wasn’t hindered too much and finished this read in record time.

The plot kept me guessing all the way through and then surprised and blew my mind. The relationships were real and complicated and gritty and diverse and I loved each and every one even though I honestly could not find it in me to like even one of the characters! We know from the beginning that we are dealing with a troubled and potentially unreliable narrator:

“I am not the heroine of this story. And I’m not trying to be cute. It’s the truth. I’m diagnosed borderline and seriously fucked-up. I hold grudges. I bottle my hate until it ferments into poison, and then I get high off the fumes. I’m completely dysfunctional and that’s the way I like it, so don’t expect a character arc where I finally find Redemption, Growth, and Change, or learn How to Forgive Myself and Others.”

But what a fascinating one!! Laney doesn’t justify or explain herself and she owns up to every aspect of herself…if that’s not a strong individual – I don’t know what is.

“If I was gay, I wouldn’t need an asterisk beside my name. I could stop worrying if the girl I like will bounce when she finds out I also like dick. I could have a coming-out party without people thinking I just want attention. I wouldn’t have to explain that I fall in love with minds, not genders or body parts. People wouldn’t say I’m ‘just a slut’ or ‘faking it’ or ‘undecided’ or ‘confused.’ I’m not confused. I don’t categorize people by who I’m allowed to like and who I’m allowed to love. Love doesn’t fit into boxes like that. It’s blurry, slippery, quantum. It’s only limited by our perceptions and before we slap a label on it and cram it into some category, everything is possible.”

This book is crazy screwed up with all kinds of crazy people, crazy situations, crazy relationships and well…just all things crazy and I devoured every last word. I don’t know if this book is for everyone and it was certainly outside my comfort zone a bit, but I am so pleased I read it and hope that you do too!

Leah Raeder’s Black Iris Soundtrack

About Leah Raeder

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.

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16 responses to “Book Review: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

    • Melissa

      Sorry to hear that your experience with this read wasn’t as good. I can definitely see how it would not be for everyone!

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