Finding Laila by 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 struggled with this review. It’s true. I am not sure how to even begin a review for one of the most touching and beautiful books I have read in a long time. This book shook me to the core. It reminded me of all the amazing people from my past that I was lucky enough to call friends. It reminded me of my best friend, who to this date, is still one of the most amazing men I will ever know. It reminded me of simpler times and times when you kept those who were your friends closest. It reminded me so much of the love I had for all those boys in my neighborhood since I was one of two girls in a six year age group.
Laila has her best friends, but she is unique in her selection. These four guys were the first people she met when she moved to town. The took her in, held her close and were her everything. Each of the unique and amazing in their own way. She may have had crushes on them all at one point or another, but she has always remained faithful to each one of them. Seeming to carry the weight of their friendships on her back, she made it through every day of school knowing that in the end she always had the amazing four men standing by her, no matter what anyone else said.
Joey Parker the third was her confidant. He knew everything there was to know about Laila. He was her go to. Braxton is the star football player that every girl wants a piece of but hiding behind that very athletic exterior is a deep secret. Cole is the smartassy friend that you just can’t help but love. Haden is the romantic artist. Though is friends seldom see that side of him, they know he is extremely talented and has a heart of gold. These four guys make up Laila’s core. They are her go to. No matter how busy things get in their lives, they are always going to have time for one another, spending time at the quarry or hanging out at Braxton’s games, these five share the most incredible friendship and nothing will come between them.
But times are changing. They are in their final year of school. They are all going to go different directions in life, but they are all discovering who they are meant to be and in some cases, who they are meant to be with. Making the decision of what to do next is one of the hardest things they will have to do at their age, saying goodbye, the second.
So may unexpected changes happen in Laila’s life in this last year of high school. An age old pact, broken. A heart found. Identities revealed and love won. What an amazing year I spent with these five in the pages of Finding Laila.
This book touched on so much and I am not going to give any of it away except to say the art show stole my breath and the final goodbye broke my heart. This was one of the most moving stories about the ending of an era, finding your future and making something great out of it. With an amazing support system by your side, you can have it all, do it all and never worry about what will happen next.
T.K. Rapp, your writing in this book is exceptional and it captured and stole my heart. It was so moved and touched by this book and it will be going on my favorite list. A reminder of everything that was great (and everything that sucked) about those high school days, this book is something special and this group of friends, I love them all.
This is a must read and I know I will be re-reading it time and time again. A reminder of the past, hope for the future, faith in friendship. I love this book!
“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.
About T.K. Rapp
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.