Title: Finding Laila
Author: T.K. Rapp
Release Date: Jan 13, 2015
Find on Goodreads
Author: T.K. Rapp
Release Date: Jan 13, 2015
Find on Goodreads
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.
Finding Laila by T.K. Rapp is a coming of age story that will grab at your heartstrings and pull you through the entire book while reading. Laila befriends a group of four boys with very unique personalities on her first day in her new home that become a family she never even knew she would need. Each of the four boys loves and protects Laila in their own way, forging a friendship that the reader can only guess will withstand the test of time. Laila struggles throughout the story, taking place throughout her senior year of high-school and the inevitable changes that are starting to impact each of their lives. This story was a 3.5 star read for me and I would recommend it to others.
Laila is close to each of the boys that she considers her best friends, her family but she is especially close to Joey who is the only one of the four that knows every one of her secrets. Spending all of her free time with them doesn't make her the most popular girl in school but she doesn't care what her classmates think about her, knowing that these boys have her back no matter what because they love her, each in there own way. It is only when Haden, the broody quiet artist one of the group, finally confessing that his feelings for Laila are more than friendship and have been for a very long time that things begin to shift and change.
Haden has loved Laila for as long as he can remember but he has kept those feelings to himself; worrying that she wouldn't reciprocate the feelings and abiding by an oath that the four boys took long ago that she was off limits to all of them romantically as to not ruin the amazing relationship that they all had with each other. After a nudge from her bestie Joey, Haden shows Laila how he feels in the most unconventional of ways and they decide to try to have a romantic relationship.
As Laila and Haden's relationship becomes more serious and she begins an unlikely friendship with Joey's girlfriend, the only girl friend she has had in her life, the changes that are taking place without her tight knit group make her anxious for the end of the school year when she knows that she and each of the boys will be going their separate ways to college. Wondering how she will ever survive without each of them everyday haunts her on more than one occasion. Until a revelation on her eighteenth birthday from her parents throws her world into even more of a tailspin. With the boys at her side, they go on a road trip the summer before they all head off to college, with Laila hoping to spend one last time alone with her barmy, as she calls them, while looking for the answers that she needs in order to accept the truths that she has been told.
The strength and courage that Laila has throughout the story to forge her own path in light of all the changes around her is exceptionally encouraging. T.K. Rapp has a way of making the reader feel that you are right there next to her through each of the situations she faces; cheering her on and supporting her right along with Joey, Braxton, Haden and Cole. The ending of this book was nothing that I could have ever anticipated and I won't lie that I grabbed for the tissues and cried like a baby. I encourage you to pick up this book as you will not be disappointed.
“I guess we know the flavor of the week,” a female voice says from behind me, causing several others with her to laugh.
I know they’re talking about me. They’re always talking about me. It’s been this way since I was in seventh grade, but I’ve made it my mission to ignore it.
“She certainly gets around,” another voice chimes in.
Cole is sitting to my left, Haden to my right and both guys are staring at the field, but neither is paying attention to the game. I watch out of my peripheral as Haden’s forearm muscles tense and relax while Cole bites his lip. They are intently focused on the words being thrown at me, but keep quiet for the time being.
“She must be good because they all stick around,” a guy’s voice states in salacious tone that makes me nauseous.
I don’t wait for another barb to be hurled my way, even though I know it’s coming. I throw my arm around Haden and whisper something in his ear before kissing his cheek then turning to do the same to Cole. I lean forward to see Joey, who is next to Cole and give him a wink, “I’ll get you later, Baby.”
He shakes his head and laughs, “Why must you stir the pot?”
Haden smiles - proud of my display - and it pushes me on.
I turn to look at the three classmates who have stopped chattering long enough to watch my little show, jaws hanging open. I shrug my shoulders, and answer Joey, “I’m just giving them what they want.”
One of the girls, Kasey, looks at me and raises a brow, “And what about Braxton?”
I glance over to Cole who’s listening to everything, but is still watching the game. He smirks, as if he knows what’s coming and a smile of my own begins to break.
They are gawking at me when I turn and wet my lips before winking at the girls.
“If he wins, we all win,” I say huskily.
“Touchdown!” The announcer yells and the crowd jumps to their feet to celebrate. All but the three jerks behind me.
T.K. Rapp is a Texas girl born and raised. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M and it was there that she met the love of her life. He had a contract with the U.S. Navy that would take them across both coasts, and ultimately land them back home in Texas.
Upon finally settling in Texas, T.K. worked as a graphic designer and photographer for the family business that her mom started years earlier. She was able to infuse her creativity and passion, into something she enjoyed, but something was still missing. There was a voice in the back of her head that told her to write, so write, she did. And, somewhere on an external hard drive, are several stories she started and never finished.
Now at home, raising her two daughters, T.K. has more time to do the things she loves, which includes photography and writing. When she’s not doing one of those, she can be found with her family, which keeps her busy. She enjoys watching her kids in their various sporting activities (i.e. doing the soccer mom thing), having Sunday breakfast at her parent’s house, singing out loud and out of key or dancing like a fool. She loves raunchy humor, gossip blogs and a good book.