Friday, August 6, 2021

Book Review: The Layover

By Sara Steven

After ten years as a flight attendant, Ava Greene is poised to hang up her wings and finally put down roots. She's got one trip left before she bids her old life farewell, and she plans to enjoy every second of it. But then she discovers that former pilot Jack Stone -- the absurdly gorgeous, ridiculously cocky man she's held a secret grudge against for years -- is on her flight. And he has the nerve to flirt with her, as if he doesn't remember the role he played in the most humiliating night of her life. Good thing she never has to see him again after they land....

But when their plane encounters mechanical problems, what should have been a quick stop at the Belize airport suddenly becomes a weekend layover. Getting stuck on a three-hour flight with her nemesis was bad enough. Being stranded with him at a luxury resort in paradise? Even with the sultry breeze and white sand to distract her, it will take all the rum punch in the country to drown out his larger-than-life presence.

Yet the more time Ava spends with him under the hot Caribbean sun, the more she begins to second-guess everything she thought she knew about him... and everything she thought she wanted from her life. And all too soon, she might have to choose between keeping her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.... (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I appreciate adventurous experiences from the books I read, and The Layover was chock full of that. Ava has traveled the world through flight, with the last trip’s destination to Belize representing the last hurrah of a ten year career. I could identify with the two contrasting emotions she has in saying goodbye to a culture that she feels has shaped who she is. Is she making the right decision in walking away and settling down, and if she is, why does it hurt so much?

Jack Stone is thrown in during a difficult time for Ava. She’s already uncertain as to what her future holds once she packs up her uniform for good, but Jack represents everything she knows and loves. It doesn’t help that they have a love/hate vibe between them. In the synopsis, it states how Ava second-guesses what she knows about Jack, but in reality, she’s second-guessing everything. Sometimes, certain people land in our lives in order to help us to see things more clearly, and Jack represented that. Yet, what’s the right thing to do? 

I know someone who used to work as a flight attendant, and I remember the varied stories she’d share with me on the crazy and at times, wild experiences she’d have either en route from point A to point B, or when there were layovers in different cities. What was highlighted were the tight-knit relationships formed in a short amount of time when relying on someone who might otherwise be a stranger, yet in essence, you’re putting your lives in each other’s hands. I could feel that intensity within The Layover, and understood how much Ava fought against it in an effort to “be normal” for those who are on land. While she’s trying hard to decipher love and what it really means to be loved unconditionally, she’s also learning how to be comfortable within her own skin, whether it’s accepted or not. It was a fun adventure, all the way through Belize and back, a much-warranted five-star experience!

Thanks to Putnam for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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