Zyla and Kai

Featured
Zyla and Kia
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
June 07, 2022
ISBN
978-0593407240
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While on a school trip to the Poconos Mountains (in the middle of a storm) high school seniors, Zyla Matthews and Kai Johnson, run away together leaving their friends and family confused. As far as everyone knows, Zyla and Kai have been broken up for months. And honestly? Their break up hadn't surprised anyone. Zyla and Kai met while working together at an amusement park the previous summer, and they couldn't have been more different.
 
Zyla was a cynic about love. She'd witnessed the dissolution of her parents' marriage early in life, and it left an indelible impression. Her only aim was graduating and going to fashion school abroad. Until she met Kai.
 
Kai was a serial dater and a hopeless romantic. He'd put a temporary pause on his dating life before senior year to focus on school and getting into his dream HBCU. Until he met Zyla.
 
Alternating between the past and present, we see the love story unfold from Zyla's and Kai's perspectives: how they first became the unlikeliest of friends over the summer, how they fell in love during the school year, and why they ultimately broke up... Or did they?
 
Romantic, heart-stirring, and a little mysterious, Zyla & Kai will keep readers guessing until the last chapter. 

Editor review

1 review
A Love Story Filled With Hope
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
The story opens with Zyla and Kai on their Senior trip, where the teachers believe they have runway. Their disappearance is confusing since they have broken up and are not in contact with each other. To understand why they ended up together on Senior Day we must go back to the beginning of their love story. I found the way the story moved from the present day to the past helped the story unfold and kept the reader engaged. I was captivated and had to keep reading to understand how the relationship between Zyla and Kai, which started with so much promise, fell apart so quickly.

In this story, Kristina Forest has captured the essence of young love so beautifully. Zyla had never even kissed a boy before Kai so it was sweet to read all of those little firsts and how they were depicted realistically. The moment Zyla described having butterflies in her esophagus, I smiled and was transported back to my first crush when I read her description.

While this book is a love story, other storylines were just as compelling. This story shows both Zyla and Kai dealing with their own demons, whether it's family issues or the pressure to be perfect. There was just something so likable about these two characters, and you strongly wanted them to succeed.

As a reader, I was pleased to see this novel normalize Kai going to therapy after the death of his parents and maintaining his mental health. I was delighted to see Kai using the techniques he learned in therapy like grounding himself when he felt overwhelmed.

While I liked the storyline of did they or didn't run away, the conclusion was somewhat anti-climatic after such a buildup. The book ended with a sense of hope and possibility and that satisfied me in the end.

Any teenager interested in first love, everyday teenage problems, parental issues, and friendship will enjoy this book.
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