REVIEW: Colleen Hoover Part Two: Layla and Regretting You
Layla is Colleen Hoover’s first dip into the world of paranormal romance. Having known that when I first went into this book would have made the world of sense but I found myself without that knowledge when I begun this journey and as such because of it, I found myself in a state of confusion and not really liking this book much at all.
We meet our main character Leeds Gabriel when he meets a girl named Layla. Leeds is in a band that plays at Layla’s sisters wedding. Upon seeing Layla, he finds himself immediately attracted and infatuated with her. Their romance begins to blossom but when he posts a photo of the beautiful Layla on his social media, things start to take a turn for the worst. When an ex-girlfriend turned stalker attacks her, she spends months in hospital. And upon recovering, Leeds finds that what attracted him to her is gone and even some of her memories of both of them have seemed to have vanished. Her family and Leeds put this up to having gone through a traumatic event. But in a last ditch effort, he decides to take them back to the place where they first meet, at the resort that her sister had her wedding in as it has now gone up for sale. He decides to rent the place so that he can try and get his Layla back but upon being there Leeds finds himself infatuated with a guest that is staying at the lodge, named Willow. We eventually realise that Willow is a ghost and so starts to inhabit Layla’s body so that her and Leeds can spend time together. But another shock twist happens. Willow is actually Layla who was displaced from her body at the time of her attack and the person inside Layla is actually the stalker ex girlfriend. Leeds is now in a position where he thought he would never be and realises that he must get the true Layla back into her original body.
It’s not until the realisation hits that Willow is actually Layla, that the story starts to feel right with me again. What I mean by this, is that having a ghost talk to Leeds through his girlfriends body is definitely one that is weird to me as after all technically he is cheating on his girlfriend. When we were going through the interview bits, having Layla upstairs tied to her bed made me think that might have been a psychological thriller instead of a paranormal love story. I get that Colleen Hoover is branching out but it’s only when that plot device is revealed that it all makes sense. If anything, I would have loved the story without the paranormal for about a quarter of the book, as some scenes get really weird and out of character and place of the novel. The paranormalcy starts to make sense after the big reveal but not before. When Leeds started doing those things to Layla, it almost made me give up and DNF the book because it felt so out of character. I just didn’t like it.
3 out of 5 stars.
Regretting You stars two main characters named Morgan and Clara. Morgan and Clara are mother and child but we begin our story when Morgan is in her teens. We find out that Morgan is pregnant with Clara with her highschool sweetheart named Chris but found herself to be more in tune with her sisters boyfriend and Chris’ bestfriend, Jonah. Feeling pressured to marry him due to the baby, she does so but finds throughout their marriage that something isn’t quite right. She is now a stay at home mum to Clara but feels like something is missing from her life. When her sister Jenny, mistakenly hooks up with Jonah however many years later, Jenny finds herself pregnant with their little boy Elijah. Due to the pregnancy, Jonah and Jenny find themselves back together again and become engaged and now Jonah works at Clara’s highschool where she goes. And things start to untangle from there.
Clara dreams of being an actress but her father and mother disapprove of such actions due to it being an unsteady career. Clara being Clara doesn’t want to listen to her parents and so signs up for an extra-curricular to make a short video and submit it to a competition. For this extra-curricular she is paired up with the only other person who signed up to it, Miller. This is the Miller that she has had a long term crush on but has a college age girlfriend who is jealous of them becoming close. And when they do become closer, all hell breaks loose for Miller and his girlfriend.
But you see, this is only the beginning of the story, we found out that Aunt Jenny and Chris have been having an affair behind their retrospective partners backs. The pair of them get into a car accident causing both of them to lose their lives. Knowing that Clara would be devastated by this news as Clara worships the feet that her Aunt Jenny walks upon, Morgan hides it from her. This news draws Jonah and Morgan together like they were during their teen years when we find out that Elijah isn’t even his, it’s Chris’s child, no wonder why Clara and Elijah look so similar. But Clara seems to think that Jonah is replacing her dad and starts to act out against her mother but when all is finally revealed to her, she starts to realise what has been going on and why her mother needed Jonah throughout this troubling time.
This book is extremely emotional and exactly what I expect from Colleen Hoover. What goes on throughout this novel is extremely heart-breaking and even made me cry a few times just due to the frustration that I knew Morgan would be feeling. Having such a traumatic event happen and then lies upon lies coming to light and being discovered must be truly distressing. Colleen Hoover delivers a tragic and painful tale that will have you thinking about it and feeling those emotions for days on end.
3 out of 5 stars.