Title: Black Iris
Author: Leah Raeder
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/New Adult
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I'd first like to thank Leah Raeder, for once again, tearing out my guts and squashing them under her feet. Reading this book was like getting hit by a sixteen-wheel semi truck, and I loved every moment of it.
I read Raeder's debut novel, Unteachable, not too long ago, and now, I'll confess it--I am a new adult junkie because of her. Solely because of her. Black Iris has been sitting on my library stack for a while, taunting me to read it. I was a little nervous--I was anxious that Black Iris would somehow let me down and not resonate with me as much as Unteachable.
I had absolutely no reason to fear, because Black Iris is even better. It is a twisted, frightening story that is intense, gory, and frightening, but in a way that is so powerful and compelling you can't hope to tear yourself away from it. It was like walking into a fever dream and not being able to find your way back, where no one, and nothing, not even your eyes, can be trusted.
You're thrust into the main character, Laney's, life. She's the freak, the oddball out, the quiet, poetic misfit with a doomed history of mental illness, passed down from her dark, menacing mother--they are birds of a feather, tied by blood. She has been tortured daily by classmates and even instructors for years on end. Getting inside her head, as I said previously, was like walking through a delirious, darkly beautiful dream that devolves into a nightmare, complete with gore, violence, and a lot of sex. But it was also scary because I couldn't really trust her voice--did that all really happen? She scared me and seduced me all at once.
And then there are the characters in Laney's life, all equally destructive and secretive in their own ways: Gorgeous, patient Armin, and Blythe, the beautiful, compelling and intense Aussie girl who steals the hearts of all she meets. Laney just by herself was like watching a star collapse, but when she meets these two, she goes spiraling toward destruction even more quickly, and when it finally happens, the result is intense, visceral, bloody and dark.
Simply put? Go out and read this book immediately. Go to the bookstore, or the library, lock yourself in a room in a comfy seat and your choice of drink, and walk Laney's path. I can personally guarantee you'll be a Raeder addict forever. The bottom line: Leah Raeder's sophomore novel, Black Iris, is a stunning feat in contemporary new adult fiction--one of my very favorite books! Next on deck: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind!