Author: Leah Raeder
Narrator(s): Grace Grant
Length: 11 hrs 33 mins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Source: audio received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.
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.
This book, much like Unteachable, was very much out of my comfort zone. It's also not for the faint of heart. This is a story of revenge, of turning the tables on bullies, and some serious shit goes down before it's all over with.
If you have a morsel of humanity in your being, you will feel for what Laney suffers through. And once you know the whole story, you'll want revenge on her behalf because it is so twisted and vial and repulsive what these people did to her. Being picked on is terrible in and of itself, but these people messed with her head and her whole world. And when the motive for doing so is revealed, I wanted those people to pay for their actions more than ever.
This story is going to push some buttons because all it does is push you to your limits. I've read LGBT books before, but never one like this. And while the romance(s) in this book are so beyond anything I've read before in this particular genre -- more intense, more graphic, more everything -- I still found it beautiful in a chaotic, crazy way.
And the revenge plot line, on top of an unreliable narrator, pushed this story over the edge. The manipulating and the plotting and the violence. If the romance was intense than this aspect was acute in its execution. I've never been more afraid for the villain to get his comeuppance because when Laney goes on the attack, she's out for blood.
I loved Grace Grant's narration of Unteachable, and I appreciated her narration of this novel even more. She's not shy about getting into the story and owning the characters. In my review for Unteachable, I said, "Her inflections and intonations made each character sound different and stand apart, even the most minor characters," and I feel the same towards her narration of Black Iris. I feel as though only this narrator has the capability to represent Leah Raeder's characters. Her characters and stories are just too powerful and intense for any old narrator to do the job.
Despite driving me from my happy place, I loved this novel. Raeder's characters have considerable strength and the way the story just wraps around itself until you're only found when you're completely lost...I can't even. At this point, it's pretty much a given that I will read any and all of Leah Raeder's novels, no matter what they're about.
About the author:
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.
(And she still writes pretentiously lyrical fiction.)
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