Black Iris

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By: Leah Raeder

Remember all those preconceived notions you had regarding this book?  Throw them out the window, because Black Iris is everything you thought it would be and so much more. The storyline is powerful and intense and Raeder brings to life the themes of this book with a main character that will blow your mind. Delaney is not a traditional girl, in any way shape or form, and you will fall in love with her passion, her dedication and not so often her vulnerability and the way she exposes the little secrets of her heart.

The themes in this book are so relevant in today’s society and I think Raeder does an epic job in making the reader aware and attentive. We witness the brutality of life when you do not fit the mould and the lengths that people on both ends of the spectrum will go to, to defend what they believe in.

Black Iris focuses on Delaney (Laney) Keating; an eighteen year old girl, who is battling a war within herself and with everybody else around her to come to terms with her sexual identity.  The book concentrates on a specific time in Laney’s life; her last year of school and first year of college. It goes backwards and forwards to moments that ultimately contribute to the apex of the story.

We follow a young girl, who experiences almost every negative emotion that can taint one’s life. She deals with feelings of anguish, heartache, deceit and anger. They all impact her growth and confidence as a person and more than often she refers to suicide as being an option. We witness her difficulties with trust and ultimately falling in love. At the end of the day the importance is on how Laney deals with all these feelings and experiences. How her journey pans out and how she feels about herself at the end is what is most prevalent.

I will not delve into much more of the story because there are so many elements that contribute to this fantastic piece of literature and I don’t think my words will do it justice. But I will finish off by saying that Leah Raeder has successfully captured the troubles facing young people and their sexual identities. Black Iris is not an exaggeration on how far people will go to humiliate and diminish, nor is it an exaggeration on how far a victim can be pushed.

Hopefully one day this will only be a work of fiction, without the lingering possibility that it is happening to someone in the world.

“I’m not confused. I don’t categorize people by who I’m allowed to like and who I’m

allowed to love. Love doesn’t fit into boxes like that. Its blurry, slippery, quantum. It’s

only limited by our perceptions and before we slap a label on it and cram it into some

category, everything is possible. That’s me. I’m not gay, not bi, I’m something

quantum. I can’t define it.”

“You’re just human.”

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Black Iris

After I read the scene where Laney finds Blythe on the roof, I found myself empathising and hurting for Blythe. From this, I then took it upon myself to immerse myself in the character of Blythe and write a diary entry of how Blythe may have felt after that moment.


I can’t be in this space with her anymore.

I can’t watch her waltz around me with her hardened eyes and her spellbinding body.

 I wonder what she feels when he touches her? Does she know that I can’t stop thinking about her or them? I don’t know if I’m turned on by the thought of them together or completely repulsed because she’s mine…

Fuck!

Laney your mine..

 Why don’t you know that?

 Do you know that?

Am I yours?

Do you think of me, like I think of you?

Do you know, I can’t breathe without imagining your lips on mine….

Ravaging you, taking you, opening up my body to you so you can just climb on in.

I want to feel you crawl your way into me. Skin on skin, blood in blood, mixed till there is no difference between you and me. 

I want to kiss you till I can’t breathe. I won’t stop – I will not come up for air. We won’t need it; you alone will keep me alive.

I want to touch you. I want to set your skin on fire with my touch and brand my self on your skin.

I want to take you to the end of the earth, to the place where passion and ecstasy live.

Where we can be free and just be.

Just Be. 

Come to Me Laney, Be Mine.

Show me your heart, give me your body and let me own your soul.

I know you feel something; I can hear how your heart beats when I’m near you. I can almost see it jumping out of your skin. And your breath; the way it quickens, the shallow sounds matching your pulse. I know there is something…

I don’t want there to be JUST something, I want it to be EVERYTHING. 

I’m not your game – don’t play with me.

Don’t mess me up.

I’m already ruined.

I won’t be able to love again after this.

Treat me like glass.

Hold me tight.

Wrap me in your arms.

Tell me I’m yours.