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My Name Is Layla

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  46 reviews
On the first day of eighth grade, thirteen year-old Layla has a pretty good idea of what’s in store for her–another year of awkward social situations, mediocre grades, and teachers who praise her good behavior but find her academic performance disappointing. Layla feels certain she’s capable of more, but each time she tries to read or write, the words on the page dance and ...more
Kindle Edition
Published January 19th 2021 by TouchPoint Press
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Average rating 4.59  · 
Rating details
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Jennifer Blankfein
I don’t usually read YA but enjoyed Unreasonable Doublts by Reyna Marder Gentin and decided to give My Name is Layla a try. Loved it! Layla is in 8th grade, lives with her single mom and older brother, has trouble in school and often feels less than...This story brings to light the importance of good friends, astute teachers and parental support and unconditional love. Self acceptance is a game changer whether you are young or old and this book is perfect for middle school and up! Full review an ...more
C.B. Lyall
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story of an eighth grade girl with learning difficulties resonated with me as a dyslexic. Layla’s struggles with reading and word recognition were well described. Her home life, friendships and school life were woven into a heart warming tale that was easy to get lost in. Totally enjoyable.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I loved this. Definitely order yours! I was lucky enough to read an ARC, provided by the author (who I know), but nevertheless - I LOVED THIS. I read this with my son, who is in 7th grade and the perfect audience for this book.

Layla is an 8th grade girl who has a best friend, a mother who works nights as an ER nurse, and an older brother who is THE basketball star in the district. She also has an undiagnosed learning disability. Over the course of the book, Layla deals with the appearance o
Ms. Yingling
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Art Bell
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is narrated by Layla, a thirteen year old girl living with her single mother and older brother. In addition to the usual middle school aggravations (friends, boys, popularity), Layla is doing poorly in school, and not for lack of trying. She knows she’s not stupid and she puts in the effort but to no avail. Her English teacher sees her potential, suspects a learning disorder and tries to help, but Layla’s so frustrated she ends up doing something desperate that gets her in trouble. I qu ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hitting right in the middle school hard-to-read spot, My Name is Layla is the story of 12-year-old Layla, an eighth grader living with her single mother and older brother, who has a secret: she has a hard time reading. The letters move on the page; she has to fight to focus, and it takes longer than the turnaround time to complete an assignment. When a new English teacher, Mr. McCarthy, sees her potential, Layla is terrified: she can’t have promise, can she? The teacher has to be imagining thing ...more
Dvora Wolff
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! Open, clear-sighted, fair-minded, compassionate Layla, a bit down on herself but game, resilient and brave, captivated me from page one. I rooted for her as she struggled in school and at home with issues that felt particular, poignant and real, and friends and family members who were flawed, each in his or her own way, but good at heart. The book manages to be true to life and at the same time tender-hearted and hopeful: a winning combination. I was riveted throughout the ...more
jeannie h;
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My Name is Layla is a heartbreakingly poignant story of a young teenaged girl who makes a start on finding her place in her family and her friendships, while coming to terms with her difficulties in middle school. Reyna Marder Gentin skillfully weaves a tale of courage and resilience that will resonate with young readers, especially those facing learning challenges, and it can easily be read in one sitting.
Amy Baynash
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this short novel, targetted at the Middle school reading audience, Gentin reveals the inner life of 13 year old Layla. As Layla struggles with her self esteem and real-life challenges, the adolescent reader will be able to identify with the many intense emotions Layla confronts. Young readers will be able to relate to Layla and her desire to accept herself, struggles and all. This book would be great for a young readers book club.
Annabel Monaghan
I read My Name is Layla in one sitting, mainly because Layla grabbed my heart on the first page and wouldn’t let go. This story perfectly captures the complexity of one 8th grade girl's life - a very real family dynamic, a perfectly drawn academic challenge and the intense nature of friendship. It’s that rare novel that is highly satisfying but leaves you hoping for more. ...more
Stephanie Newman
Reyna Gentin captures the adolescent voice (and angst) beautifully. The novel, written in crisp, clear prose, is fast paced and satisfying. Highly recommend.
Caroline Barney
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Name is Layla is a heartfelt, inspiring middle-grade novel. It is a beautiful story and realistic portrayal of 8th-grade lif, that takes you on a journey that you won't want to end. The book highlights the importance of friendships, family, community and love. A delight to read and a gift to our children! ...more
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jacqueline Friedland
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous and important book. Layla is an 8th grader with a few things to sort out, especially her trouble with words. As the story unfolds, Layla learns many important lessons about resilience, bravery, and especially, about herself. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a good read, but especially for middle schoolers with hurdles to overcome. I loved the last book by this author too (Unreasonable Doubts), and I am so impressed with her range! Highly recommend.
Kate Szegda
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Middle school fans will appreciate eighth-grade Layla’s heartaches and frustrations as she learns to cope with life and dyslexia. Recommended for those dealing with learning disabilities, either their own or of those around them. Review based on ARC.
Story Circle Book Reviews
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Heather Frimmer
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed this beautiful middle grade story from Reyna Marder Gentin. I loved her first novel, Unreasonable Doubts, a women's fiction story set in the legal world, and this one is totally different and equally enjoyable. The main character, Layla, is an eighth grader who's been struggling—with her family life, her friendships and most of all, with her performance in school. She tries hard, but for some reason, it's hard for her to shepherd her thoughts from her brain onto the page. When he ...more
Jackie (readingwordsmith)
Before diving into my review, please note that it is based on my opinion of the book. As you consider my thoughts, remember that you are allowed to have different feelings about this book. If you haven't read it yet, feel free to pick up a copy and form your own opinion on it.

Content Warnings: Blood, Physical Injury, Abandonment, Loneliness, Bullying.

Note: This book contains some sensitive topics, particularly related to undiagnosed learning disorders and bullying, please proceed with caution.
Apr 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


“My Name Is Layla” is a beautiful middle-grade novel that talks about facing your troubles and boosting your confidence with the help of family and friends.

The author did a beautiful job in narrating the tale. As someone who had trouble in school fitting in and feeling inferior to others, I could very much relate to Layla. She does not look forward to studies because she figures she won’t excel in any of them. I enjoyed how t
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s the first day of eighth grade and Layla is dreading it. She’s certain the year will be no different from all the rest. She knows she won’t be able to keep up, she’ll be a “C” student even though she tries her best and worst of all, she knows she’ll disappoint her mom once again at parent teacher conferences. On top of that, her family is not the one she dreams about - two parents, dinner together every night and a mom who always buys a first day of school outfit for her. Instead, she has a ...more
Cassie’s Reviews
Layla is an eighth grader, she has self esteem issues from her struggle with dyslexia and her father abandoning her. She worries she won’t even be a grade C student even if she studies and tries her best, and she knows her mom will be disappointed after attending her parent teacher conferences and hearing her grades. Her mom works non stop as a nurse in the emergency room, which leaves Layla and her older brother alone most nights. Luckily she has a best friend Liza who is so patient with her an ...more
Linda Zagon
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 adults, 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 attitude ...more
Apr 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
✏️ My Name Is Layla ✏️
By Reyna Marder Gentin
Published: January 2021

Layla is beginning her 8th grade year. For some students it’s exciting, but for Layla it’s just another year to keep her head above water. Being a teenager is hard, but struggling in school and family problems at home make it that much harder. Layla knows she has a lot of potential, but her reading and writing are a jumbled mess. It always takes her longer than others to complete assignments, but she has no idea why. Not until a
Leslie - Shobizreads
𝐋𝐞𝐭'𝐬 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐌𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐥 𝐲𝐚'𝐥𝐥. 𝐈𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐰𝐤𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐞? I would argue there isn't. I'm in my 40s, but I remember so many details of my middle school years, especially now that I'm in the midst of parenting three middle schoolers myself. There are some teachers that stand out to me from that era. Now, I am so grateful for the teachers, coaches and mentors that our pouring into my 6th and 8th grade boys.⁣

In 𝐌𝐲 𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐋𝐚𝐲𝐥𝐚 𝐛𝐲 𝐑𝐞𝐲𝐧𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧, we get to follow
Literary Redhead
Eighth-grader Layla has crippling self-esteem as she struggles with dyslexia and abandonment by her father.

Fortunately, she has support from her best friend Liza and Sammy, a neighbor boy interested in being more than friends. She also has an amazing English teacher who sees her potential and opens the door to learning disability testing and treatment.

I liked every character and found this spare story ever compelling. My heart broke for Layla, and when she makes a bad choice out of desperation,
Melati Lum
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an engaging and lovely middle-grade story about 13-year-old Layla who is just starting high school but has difficulty reading. Her home life is relatively happy, but with a non-existent father, her mum has to work long night shifts so Layla and her elder brother are often left alone. Layla wonders what it would be like to have her parents around all the time and whether things would be different if she was able to score good grades at school. Perhaps her mother wouldn't be so disappoint ...more
Jill (chill_jilland_read)
It has been a long time since I read a middle grade novel. I am so glad I picked this one up.

Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours and Reyna Marder Gentin for a copy of this novel.

My Name is Layla follows an eighth grader as she navigates school and life. Layla is pretty sure her year will consist of awkward situations, average grades, and teachers who praise her for great behavior. But one thing the teachers do not praise: her academic performance. When Layla tries to read or write, the words swir
I received a copy of “My Name is Layla” from the author asking for my honest thoughts. Since I do not read a lot of middle school books, I am hesitant to give it a rating.

This is Layla’s story as she navigates the eighth grade while dealing with undiagnosed dyslexia. She knows she has difficulty attending in class and reading is a chore.. Words become jumbled and letters hop around on the page. She is convinced she is just not one of the smart ones until an empathic and attentive teacher believ
By Reyna Marder Gentin

My Name is Layla is a wonderful short fiction book written by Gentin - her sophomore book and first young adult/middle grade fiction novel perfect for young teens, most especially those with learning disabilities - in this case our main character Layla suffers from dyslexia.

This story is about thirteen year old Layla as she begins her eight grade, full of anxieties as she hopes for success but once again fails to succeed academically. Fortunately her new En
Susan Ballard
Layla, or “munk,” short for chipmunk as her brother calls her, is not looking forward to eighth grade. It’s just that she’s tired of struggling with her grades. She wishes her mom didn’t have to work so many hours, but since “you-know-who” left (aka dad), mom has to work extra hard, so she’s not home much.

This year Layla and her best friend, Liza, have a new English teacher, Mr. McCarthy. At first, he seems like he is picking on Layla a bit, and she pushes back in defiance, but Mr. McCarthy sees
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Reyna Marder Gentin grew up in Great Neck, New York. She attended college and law school at Yale. For many years, she practiced as an appellate attorney with a public defender's office before turning to writing full time. Reyna has studied at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and her work has been published widely online and in print. Her debut novel, UNREASONABLE DOUBTS, was named ...more

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