Review by Dzejn_Crvena -- Kalayla by Jeannie Nicholas

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Dzejn_Crvena
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Review by Dzejn_Crvena -- Kalayla by Jeannie Nicholas

Post by Dzejn_Crvena »

[Following is a volunteer review of "Kalayla" by Jeannie Nicholas.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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In this contemporary fiction set at the onset of the new millennium, Kalayla revolves around the interconnected lives of three female characters in each respective generation. Told from multiple perspectives, this novel is a realistic portrayal of a story of a child, a mother, and a grandmother. In this harrowing tale, Kalayla LeeRoyce is a feisty girl who wants to be reconnected with her long-lost family. Maureen O’Rourke-LeeRoyce is doing her best in raising Kalayla while coping with the death of her spouse. And Lena Manero Barzetti, their landlady, is hiding a dark past that has been haunting her for more than a decade. They form an unlikely friendship that involves family issues that bind them together until they have to face each own demons.

How will Kalayla react if she finds out that her mother lied to her all these years? How will Maureen restore the connection between the family who disowned her and her child? What is Lena’s role in the reconciliation between Kalayla and Maureen?

My reading experience was a smooth-sailing journey. I did not have to stop for the words to sink into my understanding. The author’s engaging writing style is not challenging to read, and it did not confuse me when there were new characters. As for the story itself, I am constantly thinking about the aftermath of the relationship of the couple in If You Come Softly: What happens if they end up together and have a child? The main characters have gradual character development in the end, and I love the dynamics of how each one brings out the best in the others. They are humans like us with relatable problems. I like the usage of analogies in dealing with problems in life. Overall, I find this book inspirational for me to persevere in life when there is still a chance to pursue something and to let go of my fears.

The only thing that did not leave a lasting impression on me is the plot. There is no room for me to predict the outcome of their conflict. I expected the plot twist throughout introducing the novel, and I did not find any surprising revelation in the end. Also, Kalayla has overplayed rude behavior towards Lena even after all the pampering she got from “The Crabby Old Lady”.

I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. While Kalayla looks exceptionally well-edited to me, there is one conflict resolution that appears incomplete and rushed. I cannot stop thinking about it, and I was expecting a more realistic scene of the last encounter of the main characters with Clarence, Kalayla's uncle.

If you are looking for a slice-of-life story with family drama and diverse characters, this debut novel of Jeannie Nicholas is for you. Content warning: this book includes themes on racism, domestic abuse, and rape. Fans of Jacqueline Woodson should give this a try.

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zainherb
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Post by zainherb »

I too read Kayla and enjoyed it immensely.
I agree with your rating totally.

And yes, Kalayla and the rude behaviour, tsk...

Great review!
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maggi3
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Post by maggi3 »

I also read Kalayla and thought it was a pretty enjoyable read. I agree about the ending, though; I thought the plot line with Clarence could have been handled much better. Thanks for the review!
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Michelle Menezes
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Post by Michelle Menezes »

I was disappointed with the way things were dealt with Clarence too. I understand that he went through a childhood trauma, but that does not excuse his behaviour as an adult.
I also felt irritated multiple times with Kalayla's behaviour. There's a fine line between sassy and plain rude, and she crossed that multiple times. I did not like the way she treated some of the people, especially Lena who did a lot for her even though they didn't need to.
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Laura Bach
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Post by Laura Bach »

I was interested in this book for quite some time. I didn't know that there were problems with the plot, so I think I should reconsider reading this book. Thank you for the detailed review!
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Post by kandscreeley »

I hate when one aspect of the story appears unfinished. Still, the characterization appears well done. I don't think the book is for me. Thanks, though.
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Post by Kirsi_78 »

I have read this book a while back and I just loved it. The only thing that bothered me was that it was over way too soon, I would have liked to know what happened after the last chapter. Nevertheless, this was such a heart-warming story! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book!
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Post by Prisallen »

I like stories with well-developed characters and realistic problems, and this book sounds interesting. I enjoyed reading your review!
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Oluwapelumi A
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Post by Oluwapelumi A »

I could not get past ten pages of this book. It just wasn't for me, u guess.
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Post by Saint Bruno »

Family isn't always by blood. This book is q testament to that fact. Thanks for the amazing review.
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Post by markodim721 »

I like the fact that the plot bearers are women from three different generations.
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cd20
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Post by cd20 »

It sounded like an interesting read until I got to this book has "domestic violence and rape." I just cannot go there. I have not heard of Jacqueline Woodson either. Thank you for an informative review.
Real life is dreadfully tedious, the way it interrupts reading. -Things We Didn't Say by Amy Lynn Green
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Mtibza eM
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Post by Mtibza eM »

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book. I have read it and enjoyed. I recommend it to everyone.
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Post by Chizioboli »

Thank you for the detailed and precise summary
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Mercy Osmond
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Post by Mercy Osmond »

I just finished reading the book. It was really an interest story, the author did a good job in bringing the story to live. Thanks for the captivating review.
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