Cam Girl Paperback – 19 Nov 2015
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Praise for Cam Girl:
“Raeder’s beautifully broken characters are so full of life that they leap off the page and demand that the reader pay attention to them…it’s a must read for anyone wanting a sexy deep dive into a tangled psyche and a difficult life.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
"Cam Girl is a beautiful exploration of gender and sexuality that begs readers to question how well we know those closest to us, including ourselves. Raeder's trademark sensual lyricism is in full effect here, but it's the fraught yet tender relationship between Vada and Ellis that will have you glued to the pages until the oh-so-perfect ending." (Dahlia Adler, author of UNDER THE LIGHTS)
“Raeder keeps the action moving as readers try to figure out the dual mysteries—what happened on the road that night, and who is Blue?" (Booklist)
“Gripping, emotional, relatable, and yes, romantic (in all the best ways) read. Whatever Raeder writes, I will always want to read and recommend.” (RT Magazine)
“Raeder’s best book yet. It has the grit, language, and heat you’d expect, but there’s more. Raeder has clearly dug down and bled and studied the mirror to reveal the ugliest and most beautiful parts of herself, and human nature. CAM GIRL is a rich and unflinching narrative.” (Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer)
Praise for Black Iris:
"Like an afternoon special on bullying gone impossibly dark, Raeder's dizzyingly intense, drug-addicted queer teenage revenge fantasy takes its reader on a sexy, bloody journey of pure emotion...A twisting timeline dancing over a year's events makes every moment seem both immediate and angrily steeped in memory. Major themes include depression, mania, and the ways that the use and abuse of drugs affect access to the reality of self and the world's essential nature; but the soul-searching always comes in the context of action,everyone around hit by the shrapnel of exploding feelings. This is an exhilarating ride for our inner underdog, craving a taste of what it would feel like to just get back at everyone if we were reckless enough not to care about the consequences." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Risky, brave, bold. Heart-breaking, captivating, and sensual. There aren’t enough words to describe this suspenseful powerhouse of a novel. Raeder’s gorgeous prose and raw characters will keep you flipping to the very end. Black Iris is one of the best books I’ve read this year."
"Intense and visceral, Black Iris is as sharp as a knife and beats with a heart that is double-edged and dangerous." (Lauren Blakely New York Times bestselling author)
"Provocative, seductive, and skillfully written, Black Iris is a story that stands out from the crowd." (K.A. Tucker USA Today Bestselling Author)
"Raeder masterfully weaves a dark, twisted, dangerously sexy quest for revenge with a raw, honest search for kinship and self-acceptance. Black Iris demands your attention, your heart, and an immediate reread." (Dahlia Adler author of Last Will and Testament)
“Equally wicked as it is beautiful. This story is one of the best reads I've read to date. My book hangover afterward was real. It honestly opened my eyes to all things LGBTQIA+ and the importance of treating mental illness. Overall a very note-worthy read that everyone should digest at least once.” (Book Baristas)
Praise for Unteachable:
"Lyrical, vivid, and poignant, Unteachable is one of best forbidden romances I've ever read." (Lauren Blakely New York Times bestselling author)
"Unteachable infuses the complicated dynamics of forbidden sexual tension and untamed passion, all while managing to break your heart. Easily one of my favorite reads." (Gail McHugh New York Times bestselling author)
"With lush, haunting prose, deft storytelling and scorching sensuality, Leah Raeder weaves a love story that obliterates convention. The best book I’ve read this year." (M. Pierce bestselling author of the Night Owl Trilogy)
"Leah Raeder's writing is skillful and stunning. Unteachable is one of the most beautifully powerful stories of forbidden love that I have ever read." (Mia Sheridan bestselling author of Archer's Voice)
About the Author
Aside from writing and reading, Leah Raeder enjoys video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives in Chicago. Visit her at LeahRaeder.com.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved the character of Vada and I loved that with a character that is an artist that Leah was able to add to her already colourful way with words and loved the artists notes to certain scenes in the story. Vada is a complex character with a multitude of issues, her heritage, her overbearing mother, her refusal to accept her sexuality, her need to please her family, her refusal to let anyone get close, she is a difficult character to connect to but for me her story resonates so much.
We meet Vada and her best friend Ellis in the midst of car crash during which Vada is seriously injured threatening her passion for painting and any future as an artist. So we watch as Vada slips deep into a spiral of depression during which she pushes those she loves away both intentionally and unintentionally. In the midst of her depression and as she is on the verge of losing everything Vada encounters a couple that offer her the opportunity to escape her life. It was difficult to read through the low points for Vada and it really made for intense reading.Read more ›
I found this to be a really good read - although it did take me a while to get into it. If you start to flag, have faith that it is going to be worth it - and really, it absolutely is. It is one of those books with lots of different levels of engagement, and when sometimes one level seems too much, another will draw you along until you return to the first one again. I sort of felt I knew what was happening a lot of the time, and often was pretty much on track, but then there would be a mini twist ... It is by turns shocking, romantic, sexy, slightly sleazy, loving, painful, funny, uplifting and sad.
What I am trying to say is that you should read this book, and persist to the end, even if you have moments of doubt - because possibly that is exactly what this is about ... doubt, confusion, indecision and uncertainty ... and yet a desire to carry on and to experience and understand ... and to at the least try and live.
My compliments Ms Raeder, your work will stick in my mind for a very long time - and probably be reread to get even more of the nuance sometime in the future.
~~Wicked Reads Review team~~
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I almost gave Cam Girl a 4 or 4.5 because I had figured out the twists and was getting frustrated with Vada for not noticing some things. However, it’s not the twists and reveals that matter. It’s the whys. Those I definitely didn’t figure out. And why these characters are doing what they’re doing is much more interesting and important than what they’re actually doing. I know that’s very vague, but spoilers! My heart was breaking when the truths came to light.
Cam Girl has a lot going on. There’s the suspense plot revolving around what really happened the night of the accident. Vada grows close to the father of the other driver, and then he starts behaving oddly. Of course, there’s also the very complicated romance between Vada, Ellis, and Blue, as well as Vada’s struggles with her sexuality. The author goes pretty deep into a lot of issues of identity, both of gender and sexual orientation. There’s a lot of important conversations and inner monologues about both subjects. On top of all of that we also see Vada learning to live with her disability. Lots of good stuff, all handled respectfully.
Let’s talk about sex. Obviously Cam Girl is going to have sex. Mostly there’s a lot of solo sex, because that’s essentially Vada’s job. But it definitely goes beyond just touching herself for anonymous men. She does breath play! I certainly was not expecting that! That’s one kink that makes me very nervous (the studio does have an EMT on site at all times). Then there’s the sex between Vada and Ellis, which is holy hell hot. If you’re looking for sweet caresses and gentle petting, this is not that. Those girls know how to go at it!
There’s a lot to love about Cam Girl. While it’s sexy and exciting, like I said, it’s also extremely important. It’s messages are ones that we need to see more of. I know I didn’t really talk about what those are, because they are spoilers, and essential to the plot. I guess you’ll just have to read it to find out!
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review. No compensation was offered or accepted.
I don’t know how this review is going to end up, I don’t know if this will be an open letter to Leah, the fantastic author, an ode to Ellis and Vada the two faces of the same coin, or if it’s going just to be an emotional rant, but I do know is that whatever this becomes will come from the place my heart and soul is right now. I don’t want it to be mechanical and detached, I’m good at that, it sort of happens when you’ve had to keep your emotions close to your chest during most of the important parts of your life.
I have to start saying I wish this book translated to spanish so I can shove it to my mom, my sister, my immediate family that spent so many years rolling their eyes at me, saying I spend too much time thinking about stuff, or most often than not, ignoring me.
“Sometimes when you absorb all the hate and cruelty meant for someone else, it gets inside you”
Since I cracked the book open (a big feat if you got it on kindle) and I read the dedication “For all the girls I’ve lost” I felt my heart tear, I didn’t have context, I thought about the girls I have loved, the girls I didn’t and the girl that was the hardest to love, myself. Am I lost to myself? I thought I had found me but apparently is hard to keep track.
“Names have power. They give contour to ideas. Lines to color inside, or to break free of.”
And then the wonderful prose, the painting analogies while creating a whole universe in my head in which my heart was being pulled and controlled by words and feelings and suddenly I was a puppet here, my entire being was consumed by the pain and horror, the relief and love, the darkness and sadness, the sense of loss, the finding of oneself, the facing of fears, the rebuilding and strengthening, the kintsugi of it all.
I wanted to tell you my story, to give another layer as to why this book is so damn important, but I think that would mess up the reading experience for someone that’ll dip their toes in the big pool of identity and sexual acceptance. So now I’ll just praise Leah’s work, because there are not enough adjectives to describe how beautiful this story is, how it twists your guts and messes with your feelings. Makes you question how you relate to the world and when a book achieves that, it’s when it’ll change history.
I recommend this book to everyone, to anyone who is questioning themselves, to anyone who found peace in themselves, to someone looking for a beautiful story, to someone who is looking to feel like they fit in the world, to you that want to enjoy an incredible story. Read this book, start a conversation, make a change.
My boundaries were pushed tonight. I was challenged, my emotions obliterated, my mind, my thoughts, just a jumbled mess. I was scared to start this book. I knew it was going to be heavy. I knew it was going to be something new for me. I even had to set it down and walk away a few times, but I’m glad I didn’t give up, because I learned a big lesson here.
If you are looking for something light and cheery, walk away right now. If you want something that will test you, something that will inevitably change your way of thinking, and something that will pull emotions you never even knew you had, CAM GIRL is your next obsession.
There were so many layers, so many surprises. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where my mind was racing the entire time. I was making lists, crossing out names, thinking about the possible outcomes, wracking my brain and talking out loud to no one at all.
Would you believe this is my first read from this author? I know! Crazy right? I’m an emotional reader, and I’m kicking myself for not reading Leah’s work sooner. This author has crazy talent, giving us layer upon layer of topics that most people are too afraid to think of. This is a book that will evoke emotion, make people stop and think, help people to raise their voice in hopes that just one person will hear their pain, feel their struggle, and make a change.
Heartbreaking and beautiful. Emotionally captivating. Thought provoking. Unique and special. This goes without saying, but Leah is doing something great in the literary world, and I can’t wait for more people to experience it.
*Gifted copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
As with all of Raeder's books, Cam Girl offers an insightful perspective that resonates deeply. Leah's evocative and poetic prose draws you in and leaves you utterly spellbound. One of the reasons I've never been disappointed with Raeder is the writing although dark at times, it's an honest account of powerful emotions that many people experience, yet few are brave enough to acknowledge. For some, Raeder's books may be seen as controversial, but they are nonetheless captivating. I'm glad there is a writer out here that can connect not only with the LGBTQ community, but she is an author whose voice can transcend gender and sexuality and force people to take a hard look at themselves as well as their perception of others.
There is a raw and painful undercurrent that forces you to think, forces you to feel, forces you to connect with these characters. Leah Raeder's writing often gives you a bit of a harsh yet plausible reality check and you're usually left stunned. I read this book in one sitting and could not put it down. I knew from Black Iris and Leah's hilarious tweets that Cam Girl would be different and it definitely was. I stopped thinking in terms of gender and just read about these characters who loved, hurt, and clung to each other for support and hope. It was a poignant reminder of how far we still have to go. I don't make a habit of reading reviews about books I read, but I came across a few that made me wonder if these characters were heterosexual would the ratings have been a bit higher? I'll leave that to you to decide. For me this was a wonderful book. Every character was connected to some piece of Leah's puzzle and by the end you may figure it out as I did, but the way things unravel is always the prize. I implore you to also read the acknowledgments. They always give you bit more of who Leah is and what struggles helped created this amazing author. As with all of Raeder's books, if you really pay attention, you'll learn something. Highly recommend this to all readers.
A book about love, acceptance, sexuality and I think also friendship and loyalty, Cam Girl is one of my favorite books of the year. There is a rawness to Ms. Raeder's writing that is addictive and very real and very challenging. Vada and Ellis kept me constantly guessing, constantly on edge and ultimately, left me with a much deeper understanding of the human condition.
Vada is an artist who has become unable to draw like she had in the past. She is forced to drop out of grad school. But she never stops thinking like an artist and seeing the world through a artist's eyes.
"Art is an imperfect impression of the world. As the self is an imperfect impression of the soul."
This story is about losing love, finding love and learning to love yourself. I highlighted so many parts of this book, that I can't possibly pick out my favorite quotes! Vada and Ellis' journey was suspenseful, sexy and breathtaking, and I'm not revealing more of the plot other than to say read the blurb, and then dive right into this fabulous, sexy and beautifully written book. Ms. Raeder's prose is lyrical and her words come alive on the page.
"My love is savage and rapacious. It isn't content to the touch. It wants to be inside, crawl into the marrow, caress each vein until the cells are all mixed up and there is no you and me anymore, no secrets or shadows sliding between our skin."
Be prepared to be challenged. Cam Girl is not your everyday story. It is filled with unforgettable characters and a story I won't soon forget. Another must-read from Leah Raeder.