A timeless story of lust and youth, duplicity and deception.
Laila Levin enjoys a successful marriage and a thriving career as an I.T. executive in Austin, Texas, but she can’t quite shake her lifelong sense of not truly belonging anywhere.
When her company announces a major layoff, Laila finds herself caught between an unscrupulous CEO and her promiscuous boss. Then news of her college roommate’s suicide stirs up a dark secret involving three devious friends from her past. One has betrayed a vow, another wants to rekindle their romance, and the third is out for revenge.
Suddenly for Laila, it’s 1969 again. She’s only seventeen, and she’s left her sheltered home in Long Island for college in Connecticut. Amid protests of the Vietnam War, she’s tempted by the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll that rule her generation. Laila gets swept up in a deceptive love triangle with two older locals and initiated into their unethical hippie family. Too late she realizes her search to belong has led to tragedy.
Laila must now juggle the demands of her perplexed husband and her baby boomer past forcing her to make choices that endanger her survival and challenge her conscience.
She learns that the lines between right and wrong are often blurred, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.
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Lara, how did you come up with the title for your book? Does it have any special meaning?
When seventeen-year-old Laila leaves her Long Island home in 1969, she’s determined to leave her sheltered upbringing behind. She joins the ruthless “family” in Connecticut, where her adversary, Ivy, nicknames her the Guyland Girl. . Later, in 2012 she’s living in Austin, TX and the name returns with some dark characters from her past.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Great question. I’d have to say it’s Doc. He’s the only one in the unsavory hippie family who has integrity and later in contemporary times comes through and does right by Laila.
Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
It often takes the threat of losing everything to appreciate what you’ve achieved in life. As corny as it sounds, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Laila comes to realize, “there’s no place like home.”
What would/could a reader or reviewer say about this book that shows they “get” you as an author?
That it’s a doozy of a tale that seamlessly weaves issues of the early 70’s and contemporary times together as Laila learns that sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.
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Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
In Reznik’s debut novel, a woman confronts long-buried secrets when an old college friend commits suicide. . . . While effective as a page turner, the novel also tells a timeless, universal tale of a woman’s journey toward self-acceptance. An exciting tale of past crimes and dangerous friendships.” –Kirkus Reviews