My Name Is Layla

TouchPoint. Jan. 2021. 140p. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9781952816086.
Gr 6 Up–Layla is expecting eighth grade to be just like the previous school years. She struggles academically, although her teachers always compliment her good behavior. She feels like she is capable of more, but reading takes her longer than her best friend Liza, and the words on the page jumble as she tries to decipher them. Her home life is a bit rocky too. Her dad is out of the picture, and her mom works nights as an ER nurse. With an untraditional sleep schedule, she isn’t always around for important moments. Layla’s brother Nick, a senior on the high school basketball team, keeps her grounded when he’s not in his bedroom playing video games. However, her new English teacher Mr. McCarthy sees her potential and she is going with Sammy, the boy across the street, to the Homecoming game. After an incident at school that almost costs her everything, Layla begins to get the help she needs with her dyslexia, and learns that others have flaws as well. Layla’s struggles at school and home are authentically depicted, and readers who face their own challenges will relate. The characters are predominately white.
VERDICT While readers will root for Layla as she overcomes her struggles and builds resilience, this book is an additional purchase for larger collections.

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