ZYLA & KAI
Author: Kristina Forest
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publishing date: June 7th, 2022
A fresh new YA romance novel by Kristina Forest, Zyla & Kai is an epic star-crossed love story about first love and not just the will they, won’t they— but why can’t they?
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 monogamist 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 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.
Content Warning: mentions of parent’s death & depression
Kristina Forest is the author of romance books for both teens and adults, including I Wanna Be Where You Are, which The New York Times called, “a big hearted story,” and Now That I’ve Found You, a Book Riot Best Book of 2020. Her next YA romance, Zyla & Kai, will publish with Kokila Books on June 7, 2022, and her adult romance debut, The Neighbor Favor, will publish with Berkley in Spring 2023. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at The New School and she can often be found rearranging her bookshelf.
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours, Netgalley and the author for providing me with a free digital copy to read (My review). This in no way, has influenced my thoughts on the book. You can check out the other posts on the tour here.
I really want to give this book 4 stars or maybe even 4.5 but there’s just something about it that i can’t. It’s a great book about love and it’s imperfections, but it was way too long? Like 480 pages? And all that buildup was for barely nothing?
Anyway, let’s get into an in depth review!
The plot was nice-ish. Like it was well executed but as I said, the buildup led to nothing. I enjoyed the portrayal of the romance, but the middle got very angsty, and Kai and Zyla had fights for nothing. It was trying too hard to be a Romeo and Juliet retelling, when it could’ve been a great novel on its own.
I didn’t like either of the MCs very much, but I did enjoy reading the side characters! Alanna, Beatrice and Jamal made excellent side characters! Camille annoyed me a little as she was a very cliched antagonist.
This was probably the reason for the moderately high rating of the book, as I found the writing style fresh, and nice. It was different, where it seemed a little solemn, but not sad. I enjoyed it. I’ll try to pick up more books by the author soon!
Overall, not a bad book- read it when you have time!
Have you picked up this book already? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!