when you were everything

 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
293 0
when you were everything
Genre(s)
Age Range
13+
Release Date
March 10, 2020
ISBN
9781524715915
Buy This Book
      
You can't rewrite the past, but you can always choose to start again.

It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded.

Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again.

Now, Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex–best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding new friendships with other classmates—and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom—Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

Alternating between time lines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

when you were everything
(Updated: June 22, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING by Ashley Woodfolk is a YA Contemporary novel told in two timelines, “then” and “now.” The story flips between when Cleo and Layla’s friendship is beginning to unravel and later, when they’re enemies. In present day, as Cleo comes to terms with her new reality, she also has to confront the other changes in her life, like her parents’ sudden divorce and her budding romance with the new kid in school, Dom. In this coming-of-age, Woodfolk details all the painful ways people can hurt one another, and how much worse it is when it’s done by someone you love.

The book’s tagline is “Sometimes best friends aren’t forever,” which is so powerful. I can relate many times over to this sentiment, as truthfully, only a handful of my friendships have been long-lasting. In fact, most people probably have a similar experience and can recall severing ties with someone who was once close. This topic is so refreshing and evergreen, and it’s rare to find a book, particularly a contemporary one, in which the central plot is about a non-romantic relationship with soft stakes.

What I love most about this book is how effortlessly Woodfolk works in Shakespearean quotes and references. As a Shakespeare geek myself, I was reciting passages with the protagonist and it helped me connect with her, especially when she applied for a summer program at the Globe in London. Cleo and I would definitely be friends if she wasn’t a fictional character. My other favorite element of this book is Dom! The slow burn between him and Cleo is torturous, but it makes the payoff even better.

With the story structure, the full truth of what happened between the girls gets unveiled like a mystery. Because of this, I didn’t always know how to feel. In general, I sympathized way more with Cleo, but I kept waiting for the shoe to drop, to find out what big-bad-thing she did. In the end, I was left a bit wanting, because while Cleo didn’t always make the right decision and could be overly clingy, Layla never apologized once! Both were wrong here, but to me, Layla was excessively and non-repentantly mean. I wish I knew that earlier on, so I could experience the “now” chapters with Cleo as she did.

With that being said, WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING is a beautiful novel, full of sadness and joy and singing and cooking, and all the good and bad things that make up life. This book is wonderfully diverse and an own-voices novel. It will appeal to lit nerds and those who love a good NYC setting.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Movies, mansions, and murder in the Golden Age of Hollywood!...
Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two...
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to...
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just...
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to...
The Hunt
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Death marked her from her very first breath. Being...
Swallowed by a Secret
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One dead father. One lying mother. ...
Circus of the Dead Book One
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
There are many ways to die at the Circus...
Roaring
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division...
Court of Lions
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Court of Lions is the long-awaited second and final...
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a...
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After the events at Llethanyl, city of the elves, Zed...
And Then I Turned into a Mermaid (And Then I Turned into a Mermaid, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Emily Windsnap and Maybe A Mermaid, And...
After the Worst Thing Happens
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident,...
Hirana's War: Book Two in the Eloia Born Series
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Praise for Eloia Born “Loved it! A well-written narrative...
Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey of His Life
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
"If you like, I’ll tell you the story of a...

Latest Member Reviews

 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: We think of the glitz, glamorous mega-stars, and classic movies when we think of the Golden Age..."
The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2)
 
4.0
"Alice Proserpine thought she was mostly back to “normal” life after breaking from her story in the Hinterland, but when..."
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
"What worked: Intriguing plot of Chloe, a seventeen-year-old super-achiever, who ends up collapsing during her senior year in high school..."
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
"THE ADVENTURERS GUILD: NIGHT OF DANGERS by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos is the culmination of a Middle Grade..."
The Pros of Cons
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: I genuinely can't imagine four different events happening simultaneously in the same complex, but it happens..."
BRB I'm Going to Disneyland
 
4.0
"'BRB: I'm Going to Disneyland' by Courtney Carbone is a cute, quick read. As a novel written in texts, emails,..."
He Must Like You
 
5.0
"'He Must Like You' by Danielle Younge-Ullman is an intensely provocative look at the various ways in which consent, upset,..."
How the Stars Came to Be
 
5.0
"Reviewed for YA Books Central Beautiful in every aspect. The book: This is a story about how the..."
Unscripted
 
5.0
"A book so real it can be u comfortable at times. The story: Zelda doesn’t have a..."
The Dark Tide
 
5.0
"THE DARK TIDE is an enthralling and atmospheric YA fantasy read. We follow Lina, a townsperson, and Eva, the witch..."
Where Dreams Descend
 
4.0
"What worked: Beautifully written tale where a girl performer breaks away from her cage and enters a competition of magicians..."
The Black Kids
 
5.0
"THE BLACK KIDS is a really poignant read that ties history to the present. Ashley is a senior in high..."