Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “My Name is Layla” by Reyna Marder Gentin. 2021. On tour with Suzy Approved Book Tours
Wow! I am a retired teacher, and I have to state I am quite impressed and highly recommend “My Name is Layla” by Reyna Marder Gentin. The genres for this book are young adult, friendship, coming of age, family, and fiction. I appreciate the way Reyna Marder Gentin vividly describes how the school, teachers, parents, friends and children working together as a team, and emotional support for the young students negotiating their classroom experience. I love the positivity, and encouraging attitudes that the author discusses.
Layla is a 13 year old teenager starting school again. Just like so many other students, she worries, how she will fit in. Her mother is divorced, and a hard working nurse, working long hours. Her older brother Nick keeps an eye out for her, and tries to give encouraging advice. Layla struggles and doesn’t understand why she can’t be “more” or do “more”. Layla has a good friend who does buddy up with her for many assignments, but there is so much stress and insecurity.
The new English teacher does see something in Layla. I loved the example of how the teacher chooses a poem that he thinks is a fit for each student. As an assignment, the student writes their interpretation. Layla finds that she does relate to the poem, and wonders if she can have the courage to do what she has to.
This reminds me of of the book “Thank you Mr. Falker” by Patricia Polacco. This is based on a dyslexic girl and the teacher that stood by her.
Layla has many frustrations, as many students do, and does something that is not appropriate, that almost destroys her year. Layla does find out that with the support of some teachers, friends, and the love and encouragement of her family, that there is hope.