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  • Writer's pictureGena Bessire

Book Review: Cole and Laila Are Just Friends: A Love Story by Bethany Turner

Book Blurb:

Cole and Laila have been inseparable since they could crawl. And they've never thought about each other that way. Except for when they have. Rarely. Once in a while, sure. But seriously . . . hardly ever.

Cole Kimball and Laila Olivet have been best friends their entire lives. Cole is the only person (apart from blood relatives) who's seen Laila in her oversized, pink, plastic, Sophia Loren glasses. Laila is always the first person to taste test any new dish Cole creates in his family's restaurant . . . even though she has the refined palate of a kindergartener. Most importantly, Cole and Laila are always talking. About everything.

When Cole discovers a betrayal from his recently deceased grandfather that shatters his world, staying in Adelaide Springs, Colorado, is suddenly unfathomable. But Laila loves her life in their small mountain town and can't imagine ever living anywhere else. She loves serving customers who tip her with a dozen fresh eggs. She loves living within walking distance of all her favorite people. And she's very much not okay with the idea of not being able to walk to her very favorite person.

Still, when Cole toys with moving across the country to New York City, she decides to support her best friend--even as she secretly hopes she can convince him to stay home. And not just for his killer chocolate chip pancakes. Because she loves him. As a friend. Just as a friend. Right?

They make a deal: Laila won't beg him to stay, and Cole won't try to convince her to come with him. They have one week in New York before their lives change forever, and all they have to do is enjoy their time together and pretend none of this is happening. But it's tough to ignore the very inconvenient feelings blooming out of nowhere. In both of them. And these potentially friendship-destroying feelings, once out in the open, have absolutely no take-backs.

If When Harry Met Sally had a quippy literary love child with Gilmore Girls' Luke and Lorelai, you'd get Cole and Laila. Just . . . don't tell them that.



A pair of small-town best friends take on New York; what could go wrong?

In Cole and Laila Are Just Friends, Cole Kimball and Laila Olivet have been friends their whole life, the only two in their friend group who didn't move away from their small town of Adelaide Springs, Colorado. Cole is the owner/chef of Cassidy's, the only bar and grill in Adelaide Springs, and Laila is a spunky, outgoing waitress. Cole's grandfather passes away and leaves him feeling betrayed and with so many questions about his future. Cole hops on the first plane to New York to investigate a job opportunity that would get him away from Adelaide Springs, and Laila tags along to help him process everything that has happened. Laila fights to remain cheerful and supportive as she struggles with changes that could turn Cole and her comfortable friendship upside down. In the Big Apple, while exploring New York's greatest movies and TV shows sights and spending time together away from their small town, they both start to wonder if their friendship is enough and if it can withstand them being apart.

Bethany Turner's witty, pop culture-filled rom-com about two closer-than-close friends, Cole and Laila, is a delightful read. It is filled with poignant moments between two lifelong friends who start to wonder, What if we were more?

While you can read this book as a stand-alone book, it is most rewarding to read it after reading Brynn and Sebastian Hate Each Other.

Request Cole and Laila Are Just Friends at your local library, preorder it at most retailers, or find it for sale on Amazon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Fiction. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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