Review: BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

Posted April 28, 2015 by Bethany in Reviews / 0 Comments

Black Iris Review: BLACK IRIS by Leah Raederby Leah Raeder
on April 28, 2015
Buy on Amazon
Genres: Dark, New Adult, Suspense
Pages: 384

“Love is not a thing that we create. It’s an undoing.”

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.


‘And maybe this isn’t your typical college romance novel.’

I have been thinking about this book all day and trying to process my feelings about it. Black Iris is a very poetically written story about a troubled and disturbed teenager named Laney. Did I like Laney? Yes and no. This chick had so many psychological issues, it’d take a year to describe them all. However, I did relate to her on some levels.

‘Strength is not in the body, It’s in the mind. It doesn’t lie in flexing your muscles and crushing those who oppose you. It lies in being the last one standing. By any means. At any cost.

This book deals with a heavy amount of drug use and some serious mental health problems by most of the characters. If you’re looking for a “feel good” read then this is not the book. Black Iris is complicated, mysterious, and dark, and it really makes you think. There are no clear cut heroes or heroines. The lines between good guys and villains are severely blurred. I can actually say there are not any innocent characters in this book.

‘Maybe it wasn’t so crazy. Maybe the only person who could understand a villain was another villain.’

Is Black Iris a romance novel? I would have to say no, but the relationships between the characters has an unhealthy love element that may could be categorized as a twisted love story. I mean, when people are intoxicated and suffering from untreated mental illnesses, it’s hard to know what’s real and what is not from an unreliable narrator.

“I fake normal every day of my life.”

Did I enjoy this book? Even though Black Iris confused and befuddled me a times, I can sincerely say I did like it. Anytime a book is that thought provoking it’s worth reading. Do I recommend this book? It depends on the type of reader you are. If you have to read something that gives you warm fuzzies, then this is not the book for you. If you are interested in a well-written, unconventional, “out of the box” book about a girl trying to understand herself in the worst way possible, then Black Iris is worth picking up. The author definitely deserves kuddos for writing this book. It was obvious Laney’s story was very personal to the writer, and it took massive balls to publish such a unique novel.

‘I am a creature with a vast capacity for patience, and for violence. For watching. For waiting. For taking the moment only when it is perfect and sure. I’m a hunter like my mother, patient and watchful and still, my fangs full of black venom. There is a terrible thing tucked inside me raring to lunge forth into the light. And I’m just waiting for that perfect moment. Just waiting. Just waiting.’

About Leah Raeder

I was born in the 80s, which means I have fantastic taste in music and atrocious taste in hair. I knew at eight years 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 Woolf (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 this website were made by me. In my non-bookish life, I’m 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.



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