Reading Series

Reading Series – Strays – Chapters 8 and 9

As usual, this post will contain some light spoilers, so read at your own risk.

Chapter 8


Things are starting to turn around for Iris. She has a summer school teacher, Perry, who actually seems to care about her students. Their focus on fairy tales in the English class is a great way for Iris to work out her other issues about her mother, relationships, and trust. I like this storyline with Perry and the coursework because it is showing us that with attention, care, and diligence, Iris can begin her transformation into a better person. I imagine that this isn’t unlike what happens with rehabilitating dogs; the dog needs persistent, attentive training to unlearn behavior. So Roman isn’t the only one being rehabilitated, and it’s nice to see this parallel between the characters.

Of course, Iris’s transformation won’t come easy or quickly. An obstacle arrives at the end of the chapter: Iris’s English class has to go to the library for their assignment. Iris’s mother who passed away was a librarian, so libraries are places that Iris prefers to avoid. We’ll have to see what happens when Iris goes to it.

Chapter 9

When Iris arrives at the library, she runs through the advice of her court-appointed therapist. She manages to get inside the library and join her class group and teacher, Perry. It’s seemingly going well, although there’s another student in the group, Lorrie, who wants to push Iris’s buttons and get a reaction. Unfortunately, it works. While Perry is away from the students, Lorrie insults and embarrasses Iris, much to the shock of everyone. Iris snaps. This is expected of the Iris we’ve grown to know over these pages. However, the way Perry responds is perfect. She lets Iris cry and then asks her how she ended up at this school. Iris reflects on why she is so angry, and Perry lets her leave early.

I was hoping that Iris would go to her dog training session in a better mental place, and that the session would go well. At first it does. But, Roman is stubborn and doesn’t seem to understand the commands that Iris was attempting to teach him. He’s not unlike Iris in the way he responds. Iris, however, is unlike Perry. She lacks the patience and the compassion to figure Roman out, and to let Roman learn to trust Iris on his time. The training session does not go well, and Iris tells the rehabilitation group leader, Kevin, that she doesn’t feel safe.

Roman is taken away, and lets out a cry as he’s being lead away from the group. Reading that broke my heart. I’m worried for Roman. “How in the world was someone as damaged as me supposed to be able to help a dog like Roman?”


The author of Strays, Jennifer Caloyeras, has kindly offered to give away one copy of the book. I will be setting up a Rafflecopter for the Chapter 10 post. I’m so excited and hope you are too!

That’s it for now. Next week will be Chapter 10!

Please comment below or reach out to me on Twitter to let me know if you are reading along or if you have any thoughts on this post! I would love more interaction with my readers!

Previous Chapters:

Strays: A Novel can be purchased directly through Ashland Creek Press.


Add Strays: A Novel to your Goodreads shelf!


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