My Name is Layla, by Reyna Marder Gentin, is a realistic depiction of a dyslexic middle school student.

Layla, or ‘munk to her mom and older brother, is an eighth grade student who struggles with reading and writing assignments. Her best friend Liza and her neighbor Sammy, help Layla through the ups and downs of middle school life.


What I LOVE about this book is the realistic way Marder Gentin has captured a teenager’s feelings when dealing with a learning difference. Readers experience the incredible emotions and thoughts that students cope with on a daily basis.

— Little Reading Coach, March 23, 2021

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Looking for a book for a teenager with dyslexia – check out My Name is Layla by Reyna Marder Gentin. This recently published novel draws in the reader not just because of the dyslexia theme, which is dealt with very well, but also other themes such as an absent father, the importance of friendship, and of having strong people who look out for you. It also poses relevant questions, such as do you really know your friends? Is too much gaming bad for you? The everyday challenges of being dyslexic are presented in a relatable way and balanced by the strong support from Layla’s family and friends. It is a realistic but intriguing book with very likable characters. The language is clear, and the descriptions were evocative. While it is set in America, nearly all the references would be familiar or relatable to an Irish teenager.

— Dyslexia Association of Ireland, March 2020.

“​Reyna speaks to her audience. Her pared-down writing style effectively narrates Layla’s challenges, distress, and—at times rash—attempts to cope….The text could serve well for instruction, book clubs, and independent reading because of its high interest to adolescents and readability, but, most importantly, its message of hope.

— Kate Szegda, children’s book author and retired middle-school ELA teacher in Prose and the Pandemic.

“​Layla’s struggles at school and home are authentically depicted, and readers who face their own challenges will relate.

— School Library Journal

“​Hurray for Layla!  Warm and insightful, Call Me Layla speaks to the value of friendship, the need for caring teachers, and the power of family love—no matter how imperfect that family might be. Layla’s struggles will strike a chord with young readers who face their own challenges, and every reader will root for Layla, a girl who only needs a little help to recognize how special she really is.

Diana Harmon Asher, author of Sidetracked.

“​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.

— Annabel Monaghan, author of A Girl Named Digit and Double Digit.

​Reyna Gentin’s book realistically and inspirationally captures the emotions and teenagers with learning differences, from their quiet frustrations to their ultimate triumphs. A great read for young people who need to know there is a way forward!

— Clay Kaufman, leading educator in the field of language-based learning differences.

“​My Name is Layla is a refreshing look at life today for tweens or young teenagers that offers hope, even after poor choices. My Name Is Layla demonstrates that help can come from unexpected sources. It is a perfect book for anyone who wants to understand the pressures of eighth grade, and possibly even how to help some tweens or teens.

— Ann McCauley, Story Circle

“​A great story about family, friendship, and being strong enough to accept help.

— Kids Bookshelf, December 2020

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“​In My Name is Layla, Reyna Marder Gentin has created and engaging, thoughtful story.

— Blue Nib Literary Magazine, December 2020

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