Title: Finding Laila
Author: T.K. Rapp
Release Date: Jan 13, 2015
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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 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.
** ARC provided by Southern Belle Promotions for an honest review.**
Finding Laila is a poignant and gripping coming-of-age story through the last year of this tight knit group : Laila, Haden, Joey, Braxton, Cole, best friends since they were 5 years old. But now it’s the last year before each of them will take different paths in their lives.
They reached a turning point.Some changes are necessary.
Laila is a teen full of life, never taking shit about gossips about her and her incredible, profound friendship she has and will always have with these four guys. This girl rocks and can manage herself.
It wasn’t easy for her to be friends with girls because they were jealous of her and didn’t understand her friendship with them. She handled the situation very well, she was very classy about it!t makes me remember how in high school, teens could be mean, and that appearances mattered, people categorized you and you had to be tough!
For her, all her quarry gang boys are so special and different, they complete each other:
– Haden: quiet, didn’t care about what people say about him, bad boy image, big heart and gentle, very secretive.
– Cole: school spirit junkie, good looking boy, more invested than he seemed to be, very popular with girls but played aloof.
– Joey: Her platonic soul mate, her other half,he can understand her like no one else, they shared all their secrets, school geek.
– Braxton: top athlete with model looks, great personality, very kind.
But they stand for each other and their interactions were so endearing, moving, funny.I loved that no matter what, they always have each other’s back. Back to were they met for the first time when she was five years old, it felt so natural to them to be connected, even she was new in the neighborhood. They immediately get well together and never get separated, until the end of this year.
We can sense how important this year was important to them and everyone began to reveal more of themselves, like that each moment counted. She was the rock of their group.
Some of them fall in love, some got their heart broken, some had family’s issues, but even through the difficulties,this close-knit group sticked together and helped each other out.. it’s a friendship that stands for a lifetime.
Laila had different interactions with them, unique. Never one was behind an other, it was equal but different at the same time.
I don’t want to spoil the story because all i can say that Laila found love during this year. She was so oblivious of his feelings and all the others boys knew about it and damn it was intense, so real and i thought she was kind of overwhelmed about it. But this guy was patient with her, and i truly think that they are soulmates, even she was in denial at first. Their love was so beautiful; best friends, lovers, partners with a honesty very mature for teens, but never felt unreal. Young love but so strong, and he was so romantic, makes definitely my heart swoon!!
All of them grew up, had different choices of lives, future, trying to find a way, future but without being together, something they never experienced before. It’s why the story was so moving, seing them having their last moments together. And when you realize that, some of them understood that they had to be honest to themselves, even with the fear to be rejected by the others.
You should read this amazing true heart story about this young girl, trying to find a place in the world, and finding herself in the way! I was so glad to received an ARC from Southern Belle Promotions. I was experiencing a lot through Laila’s POV: happiness, sadness, laughter, hope,..,but even if the end kind of shocked me, even crushed my heart (i was sobbing, but i tried to stay strong).But this is life, with good, tough times that you had to go through. This book has obviously a special place in my heart, and trust me i was so surprised by the writing, story, but in a very good way! So just read it!Go find Laila!!