REVIEW: The Layover by Lacie Waldon

In brief: Ava is on her last trip as a flight attendant before she settles down with her fiancé. But the plane is delayed in Belize, resulting in a layover with her nemesis that changes everything…

The good: A different setting and aspect to the rom-com.

The not-so-good: Sometimes I felt it needed a bit more – subplots, just something to take the focus off Ava’s internal dilemma 24/7…

Why I chose it: Gorgeous cover and I don’t mind a enemies to lovers romance.

Year: 2021

Pages: 308

Publisher: Piatkus (Hachette)

Setting: Chicago, Portland, Belize

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Layover has been beckoning me on by TBR for a while. I’m not exactly certain how it came on to my radar – the cover, TikTok or just a bookstore browse. It promised a enemies to lovers romance with the glamour of flying. It’s a bit more than that, but sometimes it just felt a bit lacking in depth. Sometimes debut novels suffer from too much of everything, I kind of felt that The Layover didn’t quite have enough detail at times.

The premise is sold – Ava is a flight attendant about to give it all away. She’s on her last series of flights before she settles down with her very rigid and very boring fiancé. (He even changed one of her photo frames so it fit in with his décor). Ava tells herself that she’s been craving to be in one place, steady and staid after her upbringing with her adventurous parents who never settled anywhere. But her last flights are marred by firstly, her nemesis Jack trying to take her awesome parking spot on arrival at the airport. (I feel you, Ava!) Jack then proceeds to ruin her last breakfast and then it turns out he’s flying with her. The annoyances don’t stop there, with the old man Ava chats with in a café turning out to be Jack’s dad and some super competitiveness in the air. But once the team reach their layover in Belize (which is a bit weird, because that’s the name of the country yet the city is never named – guessing it’s meant to be Belize City? I’ve not travelled there.), everyone is up for some fun. Jack and Ava start talking and she starts to realise she may have misjudged him. Plus, they are united in bringing together their colleagues Gen and Pilot Paul. (I don’t know about seafood nachos though!) Once everyone is Belize, they let their hair down and even more so once the flight back is delayed. Over the period of the extended layover, Ava learns that the steady one town lifestyle isn’t necessarily what she wants. Her fiancé becomes passive aggressive and it’s all over in a video call. (Good. He was quite controlling and looking for a trophy anyway). But it all gets messy as Ava starts to realise Jack could be a friend and more and the ante is upped with a brief appearance from an unexpected character and a disappearing boat. Can Jack and Ava get it together?

I really enjoyed the parts on the plane, with Ava, Jack and Gen doing their best to keep the passengers’ shoes on and fed and watered. Some horror passenger stories were also fun to read! I think the strongest part of the novel was the part after the layover where Ava had to deal with her feelings and make firm plans on how to move forward. Jack (and his pizza love) were the icing on the cake. He’s a fascinating character, as is Gen, possibly because the reader doesn’t get inside their heads much. Both were also accepting of who they are, unlike Ava who was still trying to figure that out for most of the book. Overall, the book was a light, fun read that had a unique aspect through Ava’s career and legitimately took the reader across countries in a short space of time.

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