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BOOK REVIEW (WELL SORT OF) ~ BLACK IRIS BY LEAH RAEDER

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.

Ever since I finished this book I’ve been thinking about it non-stop and how to convey all these weird feelings I have in a cohesive review but because I’m on a time crunch that won’t be happening. This will be short and unadulterated.

Because WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS BOOK?!?!?!?!?!

I want to say 95% of books I read it’s easy for me to tell where I’ll fall in the like/dislike/love zone. Then 4% where I get mixed feelings but in the end I’ll let my heart take over. Then that super rare 1% where both my brain and heart are muddy and I honestly have NO CLUE how to feel or what to say about a book.

Black Iris is in that 1%.

I want to applaud the author for writing such a raw and real story that ideally, I want everyone to read and would wholeheartedly recommend everyone to read. However, the book is like a poisonous black hole; read it and prepare to get sucked in and it doesn’t even matter if you read a chapter or the full book: you head will get fucked with and Leah Raeder does it with a little evil smile on her face.

Of course there were some technical issues I had like the jumpy timeline that seriously made me use all my brainpower to focus on (then again, I despise choppy timelines and those make me think extra hard so this may just be an issue for me) and the way things tied up in the end made me think it got a little cheesy considering the other parts of the book were dark, crazy, and completely unpredictable. The writing is bloody brilliant though, and some quotes just stun me speechless with their truthfulness and brutal beauty. Like this one for instance:

“Girls love each other like animals. There is something ferocious and unself-conscious about it. We don’t guard ourselves like we do with boys. No one trains us to shield our hearts from each other. With girls, it’s total vulnerability from the beginning. Our skin is bare and soft. We love with claws and teeth and the blood is just proof of how much. It’s feral. And it’s relentless.”

^^What. What is that. I don’t even know what to say to that. Quotes like these just kill my brain and make me experience such gripping fear, like I know this is an author whose words – if read enough – will probably AK-47 my psyche. I mean, I already feel like I need to check in to the nearest mental facility.

Bottom line is, I read books to escape from reality. This book was not an escape. It wasn’t romantic or fun or light or even an easy read. It was ugly, it stressed me out with how complex the plot and characters were, and it was like all the crazy in the world was gathered together and stuffed into this one book.

I’m not even going to try to rate this book as that in itself is a mindboggling task. I hated it, loved it, wanted to burn the book and yet wanted to hug it tight to my chest all at the same time.

I really don’t know what else to say. I’ll end with a quote from the book that 200% describes what I’m feeling right now:

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

An advanced copy was provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.