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.
About the Author:
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.
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Review by Michelle:
To be honest I went into Black Iris completely blind. I didn't read a blurb and I hadn't heard anything about the book other than its name and the name of the author, but that was enough. As soon as the name Leah Raeder was mentioned I was 100% on board. After reading and loving Raeder's first novel, Unteachable, I was eager to get my hands on more from this promising author and I was far from disappointed. The more I read, the more enamored and utterly spellbound I became. Not only was the writing just as impressive, the storyline just as compelling, the characters just as irresistibly enticing, but the added element of suspense made this story completely riveting and totally addicting.
There are just some books that within minutes of starting, within just a few pages, you are thoroughly sucked in and consumed by the story . You just know this is going to be something great and you are going to enjoy absolutely every minute of this experience. Black Iris is most definitely one of those books. With one of the most intense and captivating beginnings I can remember, I was mesmerized by Laney and her tale and was completely and totally hooked from the get go.
The foreshadowing and mystery of that first chapter was undeniably gripping and made it virtually impossible for me to put the book down. The thing is, it only got better from there. Each new experience was more fascinating than the last, more perplexing than the last, and more unexpected making Black Iris a story that I devoured within hours, a story that stayed with me when I was forced to walk away to continue on with real life, a story that I was so addicted to I stole any available moment no matter how long or short to sneak in a chapter or even a few pages often finding myself locked in the bathroom or reading at stoplights.
The pacing of the narrative, the hints and glimpses of what was to come, and the vengeful plot absorbed me, fueled me, and left me with no choice but to keep reading, unable to walk away from this darkly unique, haunting, and significant story. The constant back and forth between timeframes kept me just disoriented enough to in no way foresee where this story was headed or what was about to come. I love being surprised, I love twists and turns, I love an intricate, well thought out plot and that was exactly what Black Iris delivered.
Leah Raeder writes wonderfully cunning, manipulative, and complex characters and this book actually offers three. Three characters whose relationship together and amongst one another is constantly in flux, impossible to get a hold of, to figure out, and to predict. Characters who are always making you second guess your thoughts and expectations as well as their feelings, motivation, plans, direction, and truth. I couldn't keep my mind off of these three characters. All so equally fascinating, mysterious, and alluring that I was constantly at war with myself as to whom to love, whom to hate, and whom to trust.
Black Iris is a rare gem. A story that is so original, captivating, and eye opening I found it impossible not to love, impossible not to devour, and impossible not to walk away with a new found respect and perspective. It is a story not to be missed.
Rating: 5 Stars