I honestly don't even know where to start with this review, the more I think about this book the more I dislike it. I hadn't read Leah Raeder's first book Unteachable, but I had heard so many good things that I jumped at the chance to read Black Iris. This book was nothing like I had been expecting, and it just didn't work for me. While Leah Raeder is a beautiful writer, I found myself lost and confused more than once in this story.
After her world falls apart, Laney Keating sets out to start over. She plans to get her fresh start with college, and ends up making friends with Armin and Blythe. As she grows closer to them, her past resurfaces. Laney decides to live up to her reputation and get some help from her new friends. She plans to show everyone exactly who she is.
I could not connect with these characters at all, and I couldn't even really understand them. Each of them had issues and I thought they were all pretty messed up. I thought that as the story went on that I might be able to start to feel something more for Laney, but it honestly just got worse for me as the book continued. I started to actually dislike her more, and I guess I was warned at the beginning by the author that she wasn't a heroine so I should have expected that. But even with the darkest stories I have read, I always find something redeemable about the main characters. That wasn't the case here, and I honestly found myself starting to feel more for Laney's enemies as the story progressed. They were completely awful and did horrible things, but what Laney did wasn't okay to me and it might have even been worse. She was manipulative, a hypocrite, and just plain bitchy. I really didn't like her and I didn't really care for Armin or Blythe either. I will say that I typically read M/F books, and occasionally M/M. I don't have a problem with F/F books, though they aren't really my thing. That didn't bother me in this book and I was warned ahead of time so it was no big deal. But what was a problem for me was that I just didn't really feel the connection between these characters. There was a ton of sex here, but I felt like that and the drug use was all there really was. Nothing felt real, and I just found myself going through the story not caring or really wanting to continue reading.
I also thought that the constant changing of time was pretty confusing. It jumped around a lot and I found it hard to keep track of where we were and what was going on. Part of the problem was Leah Raeder's writing style for me. With it being so wordy and detailed, I found myself lost and confused in not just the timeline but also in the long descriptions. While a lot of people seem to really enjoy the lyrical prose in which seems to be Leah Raeder's style, I just thought that it came off as pretentious and hard to get through. These characters were constantly speaking to each other in poetry quotes, and it was just a bit much for me to get into. When Leah Raeder says that this is a dark and twisted book, she definitely means it. If you have any problems with any of the following topics: tons of sex, drugs, depression and suicide attempts/thoughts I would honestly not recommend this book for you. Those topics were basically set on repeat for this entire book, and I just couldn't get behind the story at all. I have seen a lot of really positive reviews for this book, so if it sounds like something you might be interested in you might want to give it a shot. But this book didn't work for me personally, and I honestly wouldn't recommend it.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**