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Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Black Iris

by Leah Raeder

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Deliciously dark and completely off-the-wall. A twisting tale of revenge that's absolutely worth reading. ( )
  majesdane | Aug 8, 2017 |
Warning: here there be spoilers.

Even though the description uses the word "romantic", this book is so far from being a love story, it's more like a hate story. Laney is one of the angriest character I've read. Teen angst and violence for days. I came here for the bisexual main character and ended up with a story full of vengeance and drug abuse. At one point Laney 's brother says to her, " All you cared about was hurting people. You didn't want to feel better, you just wanted everyone else to feel worse." This pretty much sums up 99% of the book. But at the same time, I wonder what I would do in Laney's situation? Probably a lot of the same, minus the drugs. ( )
  brideofsevenless | Apr 18, 2017 |
FOR MY FULL REVIEW---> http://southernbredsouthernread.blogspot.com/2015/05/black-iris-by-leah-raeder.h...

I have been looking forward to the release of Black Iris pretty much since Leah Raeder announced she was writing it. I absolutely loved her book Unteachable, and it is usually one of my all time favorite books.

Black Iris follows Laney and her two "friends"/lovers/I-don't-even-know-what-to-call-them Blythe and Armin. I'll be upfront with you and say I didn't finish the book, so I can't tell you what it is all about. I stopped at page 153 (about 41%) because I just could not effing read anymore. IT WAS SO BAD. Laney and Blythe are so jazzed up on pills and X and booze the whole time that you have no idea what they are talking about. They're super into each other, but Blythe is one of those girls who wants to tease everyone and have fun but doesn't actually ever want to have a serious conversation. Oh, and Blythe and Armin used to be a thing, but as Armin describes their relationship "She can't fall in love, and I can't fall out." So the whole book is this weird love triangle between Laney being super into Blythe but actually hooking up and being a sort of girlfriend to Armin, Blythe teasing everyone but mostly just going home with rando guys every night, and Armin saying he's in love with Laney but still gets weird around Blythe. Oh, and let me just say that the romance and the scandy scenes are completely weaksauce.

Anyway like I was saying, I had no idea what was going on in the book. I still don't know if it was romance, or contemporary, or mystery, or what. All I know is the chapters jump around so much that you can't keep up with what is happening. There are some flashbacks to when Laney was in high school, some flashbacks to when Laney first meets Armin and Blythe and the summer following, but then there are what I assume present day chapters as well. It's so freaking confusing. I feel like the author had to be smashed the entire time she was writing this book because that is exactly how it reads: like trying to talk to someone who is belligerently drunk.

To make matters worse, Laney and Blythe are so freaking pretentious in the way of their dialogue. Every other sentence is a reference to Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson or some other famous poet/author who makes them seem really worldly and well read...... EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT THEY ARE WASTED FOR THE ENTIRE BOOK. All of the literary references had me rolling my eyes so hard that I felt like they were going to fall out of their head. You know poetry! Awesome! So does every other person who has taken some sort of basic Intro to English Lit class. GTF over yourselves.

I don't know how the book ends. I don't care. I just got to the point where I couldn't read anymore without wanting to die. I want to take this book and throw it in the middle of the road and run it over with my car while I'm drinking some sort of free trade organic black coffee (with my pinkie up of course because I am totes grandiose) and reading Poe's best works. Repeatedly. *insert emoji with gun to head*

( )
  leahlo89 | Nov 2, 2016 |
Black Iris isn't a book that can be easily be summed up without giving away too much. The story was complex and unlike any other story I've ever read. It was risqué, emotional, intense, dangerous, romantic, and at times, a complete twisted up mystery. It switches back and forth from past to present to show you how everything came into play. Crucial details are revealed and important characters are introduced. The plot is one that will make your mind hurt in the best way possible. It will strip away at everything you believed and make you feel completely different. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book... The pages couldn't turn fast enough. I wasn't sure how everything would come together, but I never expected the outcome we got. When I finally finished I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I could finally breathe again. My tense body fell relaxed and mind felt sane again.

Honestly it was like a 1,000 piece puzzle. Each word came together to a form a slightly flawed, slightly messed up... absolutely captivating picture. My heart went out to these fictional characters. Yeah, they were emotionally unstable and yeah, at times I wanted to punch each one, but somehow, someway... They managed to capture my heart and fill my body with sympathy.

It was an intense subject and the Author's writing was flawless. It felt raw and vulnerable. While at times the story became jagged and sharp, it somehow remained smooth and flowing. I did question how Leah went from writing Unteachable to this dark, heavy story and after I read the acknowledgements I understood. My hat goes off to her and anyone else who lived similar scenarios. Sadly, this happens a lot more than we would like to think. It opened my eyes and made me feel things I didn't feel before reading. I am utterly head over heels for this book and quite frankly I now have a girl crush on Leah Raeder.

I definitely recommend this one to every reader out there. It is a MUST READ. ( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
It's almost impossible to tell you what exactly Black Iris is about without spoiling the whole story. The blurb is accurate enough, I guess, but it didn't prepare me for what I actually got. Because, above all, Black Iris is about revenge. It's about taking things three steps too far. It's about a girl who was wronged, so she feels an intense, burning desire to ruin everybody's life at least twice as much as they ruined hers.

This is clearly a love-it-or-hate-it situation. I requested Black Iris from Netgalley because I saw pages and pages of glowing five star reviews. I should have scrolled a bit further, because then I would have seen the pages and pages of one star reviews. For me, it's neither a five star experience nor a one star experience. I'm actually just really conflicted about how I feel.

Not that I regret reading this book. Not at all. It was an experience. Probably a good experience. But it's intense, and it's not at all happy, and it's not the kind of book you to read to unwind after a stressful day at work. Laney, Blythe, Armin, Zoeller, Donnie -- they're all still in my head. This is a book that sticks with you.

I think the biggest issue I had with this book was that I didn't connect with any of the characters. I'm not even sure that I was supposed to connect with them. Laney comes right out and says that she's an unreliable narrator. Is she telling the truth? Is she lying? We'll never know. We don't know whether we can trust her descriptions of her friends. Of what happened. She tries to justify her behavior, to explain why exactly she feels it's necessary to ruin the lives of so many people. For me, she never quite succeeded. Let it go, Laney. I know it hurt. I know it was awful. But it's in the past. And it does no good to dwell on it now. No good to obsess over everything they did to you and said about you. Move on with your life. Don't let them win.

Something to keep in mind when starting this book is that it has a very non-linear timeline. It jumps all over the place, to the point that I found myself going back to check the dates at the beginning of each chapter so I'd know where we were supposed to be. Everything really comes together in the last 20%, but it's very disconcerting for most of the book. As much as I disliked the back-and-forth chapters, I don't think that the story would have worked as well if told linearly.

Above all, though, the writing is beautiful. The pacing is more or less even, and I was putting it down because it was just so intense, not because I was bored or sick of it. It actually gets better and better as it goes -- and the last 40% just flew by. But keep in mind that this book is dark, it's twisted, and nearly every character is supremely unlikable. But somehow it's good, and somehow you want to keep reading.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
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