Review | Layla
Author: Colleen Hoover.
Length: 301 pages.
Trigger Warnings: death of a loved one, eating disorder, depression, anxiety.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.
When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.
Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.
It is no surprise to anyone that follows me that Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors–if not THE favorite. Everything that she writes is powerful, meaningful, and incredibly unique. Despite all this, I was worried about how much I would actually enjoy Layla. I’ve gotten into the habit of not even reading the synopsis’ for her books because I think it’s 100 times better to go in blind, but what I had heard of Layla had me doubting if this would finally be the novel that would somewhat deter my opinion on her writing skills. Spoiler alert, I was completely wrong.
Is it scary?
This is a paranormal romance about a ghost. That is as much as I am comfortable to share with all of you. I think that anything else tarnishes your experience. But this was enough to make me absolutely terrified of the idea of reading this novel. I am the biggest coward that you could ever meet. I am terrified of everything and anything, I have nightmares almost every single day, and I stay as far away as possible from anything that is the tiniest bit cryptic. Unsurprisingly, when I started reading Layla, I was scared of what would happen, without actually knowing what would happen. I was just waiting for something horrible to happen that would make me want to crawl under the covers. However, I soon realized that I wasn’t really that afraid. I was very intrigued, but after that short-lived, initial creepiness that comes with getting to know the ghost in question, I was completely fine. So, even if you’re a scaredy cat like me, I don’t think this book will scare you that much.
Falling in love with her was weightless, like air was breezing through my bones.
When it comes to the story, I am very proud to say that I figured it out early on. Colleen did a good job of confusing me at times, but ultimately, I had a pretty good idea of what was going on. I think that that on itself speaks of how great this novel is. Although the twist wasn’t a surprise, I loved it and the way that it all went down. The plot was fabulously developed and it could be considered as morally grey. Everything that happens depends on difficult decisions, which stem from horrible things that happened and are happening. So it’s very interesting to see how all of the characters manage what is going on. In fact, it is so prominent throughout the story, and the emotions of each one of them are so important, that I cannot explain the excellence of the plot without explain how remarkable the characters were.
Let’s start off with Leeds. He was our main POV throughout this whole ordeal, and I thought it was very interesting to be inside his head. He is definitely not the best person, which can turn out to be a little annoying. Though, I think that just makes him even more realistic. Still, one of the best things about reading from his perspective was the rollercoaster ride of feelings. We go from loneliness, to love, to fear, to guilt, to grief, and about a million other things. It is amazing how the author manages to squeeze every single emotion that exists into this tiny person, because that is what actually happens to all of us on a daily basis. Sometimes we feel so much at once that it is extremely difficult to gauge how we feel and therefore explain it, but Colleen managed to do it perfectly.
Layla, on the other hand, was a treat to get to know. Everything about this character and her journey fascinated me to no end. I could not get enough of her and I cannot believe everything that happened to her. Her relationship with Leeds shook me to the core–it ate me up and spit me back out, completely mangled and destroyed. I can’t describe it any other way.
There’s not a lot to say about this story without spoiling it. If you’re interested and think this is something you might enjoy, definitely give it a shot because I think that it’s absolutely worth it. Layla is a gorgeous story about love exceeding unfathomable realms and the power behind soulmates and spirits.
Perhaps what we desire can sometimes be so strong it overpowers our fate.