Title – Finding Laila
Author – TK Rapp
Publication Date – January 13, 2015
Joey, Cole, Haden and Braxton have been a constant in my life since I was five, and I have loved being one of the guys.
I’ve been cheerleader.
I’ve been study partner.
I’ve been listener.
When we’re young, we don’t realize the profound impact certain people will have on our lives. I had no idea twelve years ago I’d meet four boys who would turn out to be my best friends, my soul mates – my barmy.
Now school is almost done, our last summer together is drawing closer, and I’m trying to hold on to what we have while I still can. After this, we’ll have to say goodbye to each other as our choices will take our lives in different directions. But I don’t know if our friendship can survive once secrets and surprises begin revealing themselves to us at every turn.
When it’s all said and done, will our friendships remain unbreakable? Or will our once strong bond prove to be weaker than we anticipated?
Letting go is harder than I thought, but some changes are necessary.
And finding Laila…finding myself…may be the greatest journey of all.
I’m not quite sure where I want to go with this review, to be honest. This is probably one of the more complicated ones I’ve had to write in some time. Finding Laila by TK Rapp is a sweet coming of age novel that chronicles that important final year of high school. The story focuses on a girl and her four best friends, who happen to all be guys, and explores the changes that the ending of such a monumental chapter brings with it.
“So be with me, here and now. We’ll worry about everything else later.”
Laila was, without a doubt, a fun, lovable character. She took a lot from people but knew that with her boys by her side, she could conquer anything. I admired that quality in her, because if it were me, I don’t think I could be even nearly as strong as she was. Through everything, she remained a rock but I felt like she got a little softer as the book progressed. It was like she was growing and allowing her walls to come down, even just slightly. As much of the driving force is Laila, this novel wouldn’t be what it was without the shining personalities of her barmy. Each friend gave something equally important to the story, as well as brought out different aspects of Laila’s personality. As a reader, their relationships fascinated me and I found myself often wishing I had a group like that to depend on.
“No matter how often he says those three words to me, or how long I’ve known him as one of the guys on my street – my best friend – he still has this way of making my heart flip.”
I was smiling to myself and remembering first love and all those milestones that come with high school as I was turning the pages. These five had something rare and beautiful and it was a joy to watch them grow. However, I also didn’t feel like much happened over the course of the book. It felt very one level at times and I wanted to pull more from the author during certain moments. I was also left utterly confused and derailed by the Epilogue. It didn’t feel like there was conviction or a real purpose to it, which ended the book on a slightly lower note than I would have liked.
“Please let me get over him. I can’t have my heart broken by one of my best friends. It will ruin everything.”
This was my first TK Rapp novel, but I highly doubt it will be my last. She has a fun, quirky writing style that sucks you in to keep turning those pages. Finding Laila was about discovering the brave we all hold within us and it was nice to be back in that young adult mind set once again. I definitely look forward to seeing what else Rapp can deliver in future novels.
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