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What is the true meaning behind Layla by Colleen Hoover?

Before you continue reading, you have to know that this post is bursting with spoilers. This is a discussion about everything that happens in Layla, and there will be information about events from the beginning to the very end. Do not proceed if you don’t want to be spoiled. If you’re interested in reading my spoiler-free thoughts, head on to my review of the book.

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I did not expect to like this so much. I mean… I did, but I didn’t. Paranormal is not my go to genre, but Colleen is my favorite author, so I had to read it. Still, the fear of not loving it as much as all her other books was eminent throughout the first few chapters. But, thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised.

Is it scary?

This book isn’t scary. I promise. This is coming from one of the biggest cowards you will ever meet. Going into this book, I fully expected to be absolutely terrified and not to sleep for at least a week. This might sound like an exaggeration, but that’s how big of a scaredy-cat I am. At the beginning, it is a little creepy, for there is a lot of uncertainty around what is actually going on. But, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t scary. Once we’re acquainted with Willow and understand her and what she’s going through, we feel more compassion than fear. At the end of the day, I now know that I was more scared of the anticipation and my expectations of feeling scared. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for something that would keep me up at night, but nothing ever did happen. So, I promise that if it didn’t scare me, it will most likely not scare you either.

Leeds and Layla meet

She smiles gently. “Does the song mean something to you?”

“I wrote it using piece of my soul.”

This is such a beautiful moment!! Be still my heart.

When the story starts off, we’re introduced to Leeds and Layla and how they fall in love. In all honesty, I was very confused about the relevance of it. I even considered it a bit long. This was not because I thought it was uninteresting, but when you’re waiting for something to happen, it’s hard to embrace what’s going on at that moment. Thus, while I was reading the introductory part of the book, I was constantly thinking: Is she going to die? Is he going to die? Where’s the ghost? Is the ghost in that weird motel? I could not focus.

It took a little conscious effort on my behalf for me to get into that first part. Despite that, all of these scenes were wonderful. They weren’t only cute and romantic and gorgeous as Colleen Hoover always manages to do. But they were also incredibly relevant. Getting to know these characters and learn about their relationship makes us love them and hurt for them. Their love and their bond are extremely important in this story, which we’re not aware of at the beginning. But, after finishing the book and knowing how vital it all was… It is magical.

The Accident

When that b*tch shot Layla and Leeds my mouth dropped. I could not believe what happened. I thought that the ghost would then be Layla, but she survived. It was all shocking and very confusing.

There’s blood pooling beneath her shoulder. In her hair. I immediately drop to my knees and lift her head.

“Layla,” I whisper, right before feeling a sting in my shoulder.

My heart stopped right about then.

As Leeds described how Layla had changed and how much they were struggling, I really hurt for them both. However, looking at Layla from Leeds perspective made me resent her a little too. Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely annoyed with Leeds because I felt like he critiqued her a lot and judged her because of her mental state. But, simultaneously, I felt that Layla really played the victim on many different things and exaggerated on others that weren’t that big a deal. The change in her personality was huge and evident from that moment on, even for the reader.

The Bread and Breakfast

“We have the whole place to ourselves?”

I nod. “Just me and you.”

Yeah, right.

To say I was creeped out when Leeds said they were going back to the Bed and Breakfast is impossible to explain. I mean, how big of an idiot do you need to be to go into an abandoned bread and breakfast… IDIOTS. It was obvious that they would encounter the ghost there, and I was so freaked out. And I know it was a very special place for them and everything, but really? Again, they really decided to go back to a place that was (1) completely isolated from society, (2) mysteriously put up to sale, and (3) completely abandoned. Really? Leeds thought it would be a great idea to go back and spend time there on their own. I don’t think it’s relaxing at all to go back to a creepy AF house, with your girlfriend that was just shot by a crazy lady, and spend time there without a single soul in sight.


I was so surprised when we first met Willow and realized that she was… Nice? I mean, the first things she did was save them from a fire. I was very intrigued because I didn’t expect for the ghost to be so good. She proved to be a nice person that really didn’t want to do any harm. And I felt SO sorry for her. I hurt for her too. She didn’t know what happened to her, how she got there, what her life used to be like. I can cry with how much I loved her. I think I fell in love with Willow as much as Leeds did.

“You look like you just saw a ghost,” she says with a wink.

I love her.

However, the whole possession of Layla’s body was extremely weird and morally gray. Because we know how they all feel, we kind of disregard the situation and try to not question it. I know that at one point, I didn’t even mind that they were possessing her all the freaking time. But, at the end of the day, that was a horrible thing to do. They literally took advantage of her body and free will, though it wasn’t exactly manipulation. Also, I think Colleen was very sneaky trying to justify the situation a little saying that it helped her stay healthy and all that.

And then, Leeds and Willow start falling in love. I wasn’t sure how I felt about all this. Layla is right there, but Leeds feels completely disconnected form her and as if she’s not the same person anymore. And besides the fact that he is fascinated by the situation, Willow is an amazing person that exudes happiness and joy. It’s no wonder that he fell in love with her so quickly. But I also felt really bad for Layla. She was clearly in love with her boyfriend and she had no idea what was going on. She felt sick and as if she was loosing her mind, and then everything started to get worse and worse, and she was terrified. I felt so bad for her because that it a horrible situation to be in.

The Twist & The End

I’m going to be honest, I knew the twist from the beginning. I knew that Willow had to be Layla in some way, shape or form. I didn’t really know how, but I wasn’t that surprised by the twist. Still, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. I thought it was brilliant, particularly the way that they found out. And it also answered many questions that I had. It was very interesting how she could remember everything in her body and how her personality remained. The fact that they feel in love all over again makes me want to cry with happiness. And I was SOOO creeped out on how Layla and Sable changed bodies. That was so bizarre and it felt like a violation. And then it was also a little weird for me cause I already had mixed feelings about the possession, but then it wasn’t really a possession considering it was Willow/Layla’s body… It was a weird situation.

Layla is Willow, and not that I’m looking at her, I have no idea how I didn’t see it before tonight.

Even though I kind of figured it out, HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH A STORY LIKE THIS ONE???

Oh. My. God. I think this was one of the most stressful endings–to any book–that I have ever read. When Layla said that she wanted to go back to her body and that Leeds had to KILL HER. I died. That killed me. I was so worried. Even though Colleen always has HEA (at least everything I have read and remember), I was sh*tting myself because what if this was the exception????

But anyways, Layla planned everything and made Leeds drown her. That was horrible to read obviously, and then her sister was so mad and suspicious. And I was so mad at HER. I mean, she was completely right in worrying–it shows she’s a good sister. Besides, Sable had taken over earlier that day saying that Leeds tied her to the bed and all that, and then he had a bunch of scratches in his arms after Layla drowned… It would’ve been weird if she wasn’t suspicious. But still, I was so angry at her because I knew what was happening and I was stressed and I was annoyed at that additional worry.

And then, we had our beautiful ending. And I was happy again.

My Final Thoughts.

Honestly, Colleen Hoover just proves again and again that she is my favorite author. She doesn’t even let me doubt it. She releases masterpiece after masterpiece. And I think that this might be one of my favorite books of hers EVER.

Because this is paranormal, the plot was very intricate and extremely interesting. I couldn’t put it down and I will recommend it forever. On top of this, the characters (as always) were REAL and projected their emotions beautifully and perfectly. We are so conflicted while reading this, because the characters themselves are conflicted. If that doesn’t show what an amazing author she is, I don’t know what does.

Please let me know what you guys thought of the book and any other theories you might have!!