Find Layla by Meg Elison – Book Review

Book Cover Find Layla by Meg Elison

Find Layla by Meg Elison

Rating: 4/5

What It’s About:

Underprivileged and keenly self-aware, SoCal fourteen-year-old Layla Bailey isn’t used to being noticed. Except by mean girls who tweet about her ragged appearance. All she wants to do is indulge in her love of science, protect her vulnerable younger brother, and steer clear of her unstable mother.

Then a school competition calls for a biome. Layla chooses her own home, a hostile ecosystem of indoor fungi and secret shame. With a borrowed video camera, she captures it all. The mushrooms growing in her brother’s dresser. The black mold blooming up the apartment walls. The unmentionable things living in the dead fridge. All the inevitable exotic toxins that are Layla’s life. Then the video goes viral.

When Child Protective Services comes to call, Layla loses her family and her home. Defiant, she must face her bullies and friends alike, on her own. Unafraid at last of being seen, Layla accepts the mortifying reality of visibility. Now she has to figure out how to stay whole and stand behind the truth she has shown the world.

Find Layla on Goodreads

What I liked:

  • the main character
  • the family relationships
  • the unique overall story

The Book Review

Find Layla was such a great book. First, I loved that it was under 200 pages long. Work has been stressful lately and it was a perfect length and family easy to get through. I’ve had this book on my Kindle for a long time and have been wanting to read it for a long time as well. The number one thing that stood out in this book was the uniqueness of the main character. When we think of diversity, often we mostly think of race, ethnicity, or gender. Layla’s character hit new areas of diversity for me to explore.

I was immediately drawn in by the writing style and the main character, Layla. Layla’s thoughts an actions were fascinating. As it mentions in the blurb, Layla (age 14) lived a life of neglect with an unstable mother and her 5 year old brother. What she and her brother had to live through just broke my heart. I’ve never read a book that was quite like this one. The way the author describes the living conditions, the familial relationships, and how Layla finds a way to survive such a life was completely riveting. It provided me with a whole new perspective on children living a life of neglect and how it affects the different aspects of their life such as their social/emotional development, school, and friendships.

The only thing I didn’t like about this story happened after Child Protective Services was brought into the story. Even though I liked that the book was short, I actually would have loved for the book to be longer to see how Layla’s life would pan out. The story seemed to wrap up too fast and it felt a bit unfinished with the way the story ended.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.



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