REVIEW – Black Iris by Leah Raeder

BI Cover

BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

Atria Books Paperback | 384 pages | ISBN: 9781476786421 | On sale: April 28, 2015 | $15.00 

eBook: Atria Books | 384 pages | ISBN: 9781476786438 | On sale: April 28, 2015 | $5.99


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.


Black Iris is a dark, romantic suspense about one girl’s tumultuous journey in search of acceptance, love and revenge.  It will push boundaries, stir emotions and overwhelm thoughts. The experience is not for everyone.

The story was intensely mesmerizing and thought provoking. I was caught in the web of needing to know what happened next and yet not wanting to continue. It made me feel things I never want to feel again, namely the anguish that was exuded in Laney’s story. The anxiety was obnoxious and my heart was tortured to the point of breaking as the story unfolded and the truths were brought to light.

“Sometimes you feel things so much, so intensely, it becomes a new kind of numbness, the oblivion of overstimulation.”

These characters were wise beyond their years and their behaviors were indicative of their experiences, personal ideals, motivations and sense of right and wrong. They lived with demons and a distorted sense of self-worth that I simply cannot fathom.

“Scars tell a story. My whole life was written on my body. How are you supposed to leave the past behind when you carry it with you in your skin?”

I teetered between admiration and revulsion through much of the book. It’s twisted and perplexing how mixed my feelings are about this book. I wanted restitution for all the wrongs but I also wanted love to be enough. There was a raw and powerful ending that left me wondering about where they might be today if they were real.

Even now, 12 days after I finished reading, I cannot stop thinking about this book. It was difficult to read at times. I am not comfortable reading about mental illness as I feel ill-equipped to understand their behaviors or choices.  The use of drugs and the violent nature of the characters made it difficult to connect. But that did no stop me from experiencing emotions from the story. Leah Raeder put it all out there. The writing was fantastic, the story was unlike anything I’ve read before and I was seduced by the Black Iris.

Overall Rating: 3.5-4.0 Stars

I was provided a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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

FIND LEAH ONLINE: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram


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