Cover Image: Find Layla

Find Layla

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a free advanced copy of this book to read and review.

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This book was heartbreaking but wonderful. I couldn't put it down. The story stayed with me a long time, like a weird book hangover. I can't wait to see more from this author.

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DNF - Did not finish. I decided not to keep reading this title because I did not connect with the writing or plot. Thank you, NetGalley and publisher for the early copy!

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An interesting novel about a girl who is trying to figure out her life and find a way just to survive it. Doing her best to protect her younger brother and survive her mother's irrational behavior. She finds comfort in science and when the opportunity to use her home as a science experiment approaches a world of trouble is now at her doorstep. She must now find a way to fix all the wrongs in her life and get her family back.

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I received a copy of the book from Netgalley to review. Thank you for the opportunity.
An evocative and deeply emotional story based around the MC Layla who is an interesting and engaging characters. The writing is good and the story relatable.
A good story.

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Layla was immensely well written character and went through so much pain in her young life. The sheer strength of this character is admirable. I feel that this book really pinpoints a real issue in society that needs to be focused on. There are many children that are home and food poor and use the schools as a way to escape their damaged home lives. I thought the book was well written and will resound with many readers. Thanks for the ARC, NetGalley.

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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Find Layla was so freaking good. It also broke my heart a little bit because of how horrible Layla and her brother were being treated. It's never a good sign when you live in an unhealthy family and your own mother doesn't want to do a lick of parenting to you. So when I dove into Layla's life.. well, let's just say we did not go through the same experiences at all.

Even though my parents are divorced, they have never been neglectful to raising me and my older siblings. Heck, not even to the dogs either. So for someone to just do that to a fourteen year old and everyone else in this apartment building is a-okay with this? Yeah, no, I don't see that happening at all. Mostly because the world is filled with nosy ass people (like my sister) and I'm sure someone would've said or done something at one point.

Then again, that's just my opinion on that one thing.

Other than that, this book went by pretty quickly and in a way - I think I'm okay with it all. I guess I wanted more information on Layla and her brother before the last page.. but in a way, it was okay. Definitely liked diving into this book and getting to know a new author. I look forward to my next book by Meg.

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Thank you @netgalley, @amazonpublishing @meghanelison for this ARC of Find Layla. This book is available now for you to pick up!

Find Layla is a heartbreaking story of a young girl that is living a life neglected by her mother who suffers from addiction. She spends her time trying to have friends, taking care of her younger brother, and trying to keep her mother happy, because that’s better than the alternative. When a school project has her showing what is really going on at home, things change.

Review: 3/5. This book really was heartbreaking. Layla would take showers at her friends and when her mother took a special interest in that I loved that mom. This book reminded me so much of what some of my previous Foster siblings would have gone through. It reminded me of what my friends foster children go through. While I couldn’t imagine what these kids were going through, their strength and ability to rebound was amazing. I recommend this book, but be prepared to feel crushed in a few times throughout the book!

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After trying to get into this for a while, I just wasn’t motivated to read any further. The story was not what I expected and unfortunately not my cup of tea.

That’s why I decided to DNF this rather than continuing it and having to write a review that basically said: this book is just not for me.

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Find Layla
Author: Meg Elison
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ • ✨ / 5
Reviewed: Maya

[Trigger Warning: child abuse, child neglet, parental emotional abuse, bullying, drug addiction, overdose, death of a parent, homelessness]

Wow, this book is so incredibly raw and important. Please read it (but pay careful attention to the trigger warnings) because Elison tells such a powerful story. The writing style is very clear and the pacing is perfect - I literally couldn’t put this book down and the size of it makes it a quick (but still heavy) read. The incorporation of science into Layla’s narration really brings her to life and displays her personality. Elison is clearly a very talented author and has numerous powerful quotes throughout the book. I felt outraged, angry, sad, helpless and relieved throughout this book - there is quite a rollercoaster and if you’re an emotional person, there will be tears (this book broke me many times over). There were a couple holes in the plot or things that weren’t very realistic, but the message was so important that it compensated for these. The singular thing that really bothered me was the lack of awareness or action by Layla’s school on her bullies (I thought they definitely should have been asked to leave schools and even involved with the police), so when they were let off lightly, I was not impressed. I still recommend this book to everybody, and it would definitely make an important book to read in schools.

Huge thanks to Netgalley, Skyscrape and of course Meg Elison for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date was set for the 1st of September 2020.

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This was a quick read but it carries quite the emotional punch. It was well written and while I think a couple of bits weren’t quite how it would really go down it was realistic enough to keep me in the fictional world. Layla has an important story to tell and I love that there are more and more stories like this coming out of what abuse and neglect and foster care look like from the child’s perspective. In addition other important (and potentially triggering) topics are discussed including bullying, self harm, and mental health issues. And I liked the growth of how social media played into the situation, I felt like it was done in a realistic and new way.

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In Meg Elison's Finding Layla, the eponymous heroine is a 14-year-old girl whose life is...messy, to say the least. She lives in squalor, in an apartment where the power has been shut off for months, trying to take care of her six-year-old brother with the scraps and pennies she can scrounge from her mentally unstable, abusive mother. All the while, she's still trying to survive the regular messiness of junior high, with everything from bullies to best friend drama. When she's assigned a science project to film a unique biome, she records her apartment - from the mushrooms growing in the dresser drawer, to the cockroaches and maggots infesting the kitchen, to the rarest creature inhabiting the biome: herself. But when Layla shares her video online, the reaction is more than she bargained for.

Find Layla is a short, fast, and emotionally weighty read. The narrative voice, written in Layla's first person POV, is dead on for a smart fourteen-year-old - neither artificially adult nor dumbed down, Elison has nailed what a teenage girl sounds like. The story is likewise sharp, with clear focus and tight plotting. The end result is heavy and emotionally fraught, but eminently readable - it's a book that zips along through difficult content.

Content warnings: Bullying, child abuse, death.

Thank you to Skyscape and NetGalley for the advance review copy.

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I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ok, so did I pick this book purely because it has my name in it and I rarely find my name in books? Why yes, yes I did.

What I wasn't expecting was the parallels this characters life had with my own. This was poignant, raw and beautiful.

Layla's story is a story that belongs to so many young people around the world, struggle, neglect, responsibility and love.

An emotional ride ftom start to end. If you're looking for a heart wrenching yet inspiring story of perseverance and survival then this might just be for you.

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Meg Elison really shows that she has range with the release of Find Layla. This YA contemporary is hard-hitting and impressive. It is raw and heartbreaking, incredibly impactful, and gripping.

The writing blew me away. It's SO well done. The teenage perspective is very well handled and it truly feels like Layla leading the story rather than an adult writer. I sunk right into the pages and it felt like reading a diary. The detail to the senses is both impressive and assaulting. The detail to the squalor of Layla's living conditions was amazing, but so horribly evocative. I got seriously nauseated just imagining it.

Layla is a very well constructed character. She felt real. She is a strong, yet very sympathetic character. She is incredibly resilient and does not give up, despite the ridiculous obstacles she face.

The depictions of Layla's mother were interesting. The story is told by Layla, so the only views we have of the mother are what Layla sees, understands, and wishes to share. This limited narration is super powerful in its own way, drawing the reader even more completely into Layla's frame of view.

Find Layla is a short, but amazing novel. It is a great read for the upper middle grade and YA reading set, exploring the effects of bullying and the ways that circumstances and challenges are often hidden and/or misunderstood by those outside the situation. The book also is terribly relevant for adults, exploring the failures of CPS systems and the ability to allow all children to have a quality of life and a chance to succeed.

* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

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This book is utterly heart wrenching and I absolutely loved it. Whole heartedly recommend. At times it stressed me out, like when her brother would say he loved her and she wouldn't say it back, but this book doesn't pull any punches. Good reminder that life is messy and the real world is brutal, yet still managed to offer a sliver of hope for better days even if life doesn't go the way you hope or expect. Layla is fierce and a warrior.

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Find by Meg Elison is a hard hitting contemporary YA book with an endearing and memorable protagonist. The titular Layla is a fourteen year old girl who lives with her mother and younger brother in a less than ideal situation. It soon becomes apparent that she is dealing with neglect and abuse on a daily basis, not just at home but also from her peers at school who love to mock her ragged appearance. None of them know her closely guarded secret- she is living in squalor because her mother is unwilling and unable to maintain a home. Things have been going downhill for a while, faulty plumbing causing leaks and mould, a broken refrigerator that is now home to a thriving colony of maggots , a door that no longer opens so that Layla and her family are forced to climb in and out of a tiny window, the list goes on. Despite her hardships, Layla is determined to protect her little brother, and make sure that nobody finds out the truth until one day it gets to be too much and Layla ends up exposing it all on social media. Soon she finds herself alone and on the run from Child Protective Services, who are forced to investigate when her story goes viral , and she must figure out how to come to terms with her situation and find a way forward for herself and her brother.
This short book packs a huge emotional punch, and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. The descriptions of Layla's family situation and living conditions are at times stomach churning , but unfortunately completely realistic. Layla herself is a wonderful character, smart , witty, strong and determined, it is impossible not to root for her as you read, and while the ending to her story is not a neat and happy one, it is perfectly in keeping with the rest of the book.
Overall I would describe this a difficult but impactful book, and one that I would recommend bearing in mind the author's content warnings.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

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What a beautiful gut-punch.

Find Layla is one of those deceptively short novels that can actually take ages to read, just so you can process the story and truly come to terms with what's happening. Written from fourteen year-old Layla's perspective, it reads really, really easily, but from the get-go, you're forced to understand that Layla's life is the stuff of quiet nightmares, and that this is not going to be an easy or fun ride.

But that's okay. Really. While it absolutely could have been, given the subject matter of parental neglect and mental health struggles - to name but a few - the way this book is written isn't precious. It isn't trying-too-hard gritty either, and it also doesn't actively try to pull on your heartstrings. Any one of these approaches would have taken away from the simple beauty and importance of this book and made it tacky. Instead, Layla's perspective is honest, matter-of-fact, and entirely human.

It's very near perfect, and absolutely worth a read.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Skyscape for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

5/5 Stars!

Layla is fourteen and raising herself, she's raising her brother, and in a lot of ways, she's raising her mother too. She's smart and clever and nearly the perfect student, but that doesn't stop her from being tormented by her classmates. Layla's home life is chaotic, her house is a mess, the bathroom sink is constantly overflowing, the front door doesn't open, and the whole apartment is generally a wreck, but Layla makes the best of it. She has to, for her brother. When her best friend signs them up for a school competition, Layla films her own home - her own biome. She shows the world the mushrooms growing in drawers, the mold all over, and what it's really like inside her life.

This book is heartbreaking and definitely not for everyone, but it was told extremely well and I couldn't put it down. There is no happily ever after, so please take note of the content warnings at the beginning of the book. Elison creates a sadly real world of emotional trauma, abuse, and neglect, and brings the reader along for the ride. All throughout you're pulling for the amazing Layla, and can only hope that things will be okay for her in the end.

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Difficult to read at times, but a really interesting take with the MC using science as a coping mechanism for the abuse/neglect that they experience at home

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📖 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 📖💫

📖 𝙵𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝙻𝚊𝚢𝚕𝚊
👩🏻‍💻 𝙼𝚎𝚐 𝙴𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚘𝚗

⭐️𝘼𝙢𝙖𝙯𝙤𝙣: 4.6/5
⭐️𝙂𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙨: 4.26/5
⭐️ 𝙎𝙚𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙤𝙬 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙢𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬!

🦠𝙎𝙮𝙣𝙤𝙥𝙨𝙞𝙨: Layla is a 14 year old who loves science and does very well in school. Her home life however is something to be desired, living in an uninhabitable home, with a bipolar mother, where she cares for her 6 year old brother. She posts a video for her science class of her home on Twitter which goes viral and turns her world upside down.
🦠𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙂𝙤𝙤𝙙: This Novel really pulls at the heart and shows how resilient children can be in terrible situations. At one point Layla compares sleeping on the floor of a pool utility closet to what she thought a nice hotel might be like.The author does a good job in explaining the home life and reactions by secondary characters.
🦠 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙖𝙙: This isn’t necessarily a bad comment, but this story could be difficult for people to read. It is a YA novel and does confront some difficult topics. See earnings below.
🦠𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙐𝙜𝙡𝙮: I would recommend this book, it was a very quick read and identified some serious issues that young children may be facing, such as bullying. The ending was heartbreaking, but unfortunately very realistic.

⚠️ warnings include drug abuse,child neglect and bullying.

⭐️ 𝙈𝙮 𝙍𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜: 4.5/5 ( rounded up)

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