Cover Image: When You Were Everything

When You Were Everything

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Member Reviews

This was such a sweet read and definitely the first of many I will be reading by this author. I found all the characters relatable in their own way. The romance aspect was written so well.

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I originally struggled with When You Were Everything and found the main character a little selfish. I forced myself to keep reading and really enjoyed the character development. I’m giving it a four because I really ended up liking it, but usually I would probably have put it down and not finished with how long it took me to get into it.

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It may have been released almost three years ago, but here I am finally getting to some of those way back backlist books I still have in my Netgalley stash.

Thank you to Ashley, Delacorte, and Netgalley for an advance copy of When You Were Everything.

Cleo and Layla are not friends anymore, and it's crushing Cleo. But she's determined to move on from the friend breakup and her plan is a good one - make new (better) memories everywhere that she used to go with Layla. Things are going okay until she is assigned to tutor Layla and their entire friendship and the downfall are thrust back into the forefront of her mind.

Every once in awhile I miss being a teenager, and then I read books like this that remind of every reason that I am SO glad that I don't have to relive those emotionally brutal years again. This book brought back those memories of betrayal that in retrospect I should've seen coming from miles away but at the time shocked and stung my broken heart.

I sympathized with both Cleo and Layla in this book, both were wrong in their own ways and at the same time, neither was wrong. It's impossible to understand as a teenager how much around you is changing and how difficult it is to keep anything the same. So often it's no one's fault that a teenage friendship falls apart but as kids we are so desperate to find something/someone to blame that it turns so much uglier than it should be.

This book did not change my life, as a 38 year old woman, it's tough for a YA contemporary about letting go of friendships and coming-of-age to do that, but I think if I were in high school or just out of it, this would've packed a massive punch and had me sobbing. It's the kind of book every teenager should read to realize that they're not alone and the hurt they feel is all part of the experience. And, one day, you'll find friends that actually will stick around forever.

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This story was a beautiful story about friendship. It explores the shift that friendships go through and how the characters grow apart. Even while being a YA novel, I really enjoyed this story as an adult. I related to this story SO much! I wish I had this type of story when I was a teenager.

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Books about friendship break ups are so important - there need to be more of them and they need to be more like this one. Reading this felt so real and raw.

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I loved the friendship and growth in this novel. I love a flawed character who learns and grows throughout the book and this one did just that. Tugged at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

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I found this to be an enjoyable read, keeping me on my toes throughout. The storyline was written well and flowed seamlessly. I look forward to reading more by this author!

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I revived a free arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love that this book tackled the underrepresented topic of friend breakups. There were also some beautifully written lines, and you can’t beat a New York setting. However, what I liked about this book ends there.

Cleo is extremely immature and judgmental. Though the book attempts to show her character growth, I don’t think it’s very successful. Layla is not much better. It was hard to be on anyone’s side, and hard to imagine a time when they could have put their pettiness aside for long enough to even become friends.

The love interest made me want to propose an immediate ban on the word “shorty.” High school boys who listen to jazz and quote Shakespeare don’t exist, even in New York. Who does he think he is, Edward Cullen?

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DNF - did not finish. I tried to read this one and could not connect with it. I will not be reading it. Thank you for the early copy.

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Friendship breakups can be so HARD, and I loved how Ashley Woodfolk explored this kind of loss in WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING. Alternating between past and present, we follow Cleo as she navigates her life after she loses her best friend Layla with interspersed chapters from the past leading up to their fallout.

I loved this heartfelt story so much! It’s a spotlight on an important type of relationship that hurts a lot when it ends—something a lot of teens and adults can relate to. But it also has an uplifting message about how it’s okay if a friendship has to end because you grow apart from one another and that there other people out there as well.

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I really don't know how to review this story. I absolutely adored it and it totally broke my heart as I thought about friendships that ended in my own life. We defiantly need more books that deal with how traumatic the ending of a friendship can be. This is such a great story and I loved how Woodfolk wove in the past and the present to show how these two friends got to be where they are and how they move forward. While words fail me with giving a proper review this is a book the I recommend hard to people. Its a must read and Woodfolk is on my autobuy list as I've been broken in all the best ways reading this and her debut.

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As a result of my various committee appointments and commitments I am unable to disclose my personal thoughts on this title at this time. Please see my star rating for a general overview of how I felt about this title. Additionally, you may check my GoodReads for additional information on what thoughts I’m able to share publicly. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this and any other titles you are in charge of.

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Weirdly enough, I LOVE books about friend break-ups. I've only read a few, but I've adored them all. It's a unique kind of heartbreak, and Ashley Woodfolk did a wonderful job encapsulating that in her work. I flew through this title and will for sure be recommending it to others!

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It took me almost the whole year to get around to this 385 pages of a contemporary novel and for some reason Idk why but I loved it! This novel was full of diverse ppl. We got a person who stutters and a person dealing with their divorice parents which I wasn't excpeting that for some reasons.
I really loved our main character Chelo she is a new favorite female character. She loved music and books just like me and she is very confident in herself and I did saw the romance coming from a mile away but I still enjoyed it overall.
This is totally a new favorite book of mine for 2020 and I can't wait to talk about it in my favorite of 2020 books video that I'm going to make for my Youtube channel! I gave this a 5/5 stars and it was my first book by Ashley Woodfolk and I would totally recomeneded and I'm checking out her other novel that she has out!

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Over all it was a fantastic read, full of heart-break and over coming tough situations, "When you were Everything" has a good chance of making you reminisce on your past relationships and where you went wrong in ones that past you by (you might even shed a few tears along the way).
The beginning is a tiny bit slow but once you get past that first chunk you are bound to not want to put this one down.

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This one hit me right in the feels. I think we’ve all experienced growing out of a friendship – and that stuff hurts! It’s even worse when you part on bad terms like Cleo and Layla.
We follow Cleo on her journey of healing, self-discovery, and forging ahead with establishing new relationships.
First we meet Dom – a hunky out of towner. Not only is he a total dreamboat, he’s sweet and funny and hardworking. And he loves his grandparents. Does it get any cuter than that? Now I know what you’re thinking – “Oh fabulous, a mushy love story.” Insert epic eye roll. But that’s really not what this one is about. Yes, Dom is a romantic interest, but more than that, he is a friend who helps set Cleo on the right path and reminds her that it’s okay for things (and people) to not always live up to her standards.
I really enjoyed being along for Cleo’s journey. She really seems to grow as a person and it’s nice to be a part of that. We do get to experience what happened between Layla and Cleo slowly, in pieces throughout the story. It felt like I was back in school experiencing a friendship breakup.
This was a really great read!

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Wow, this is such a wonderful book. A love letter to lost friendships.

From the very beginning, we see how much Cleo is struggling because she lost her best friend and you can relate to her so much. She has the memories and the story keeps going back and forward as resembling her memories of what happened and why it happened the way it did.

The writer has such a wonderful way of putting things into words, it’s just profound and poetic, so realistic you can see the author understands the place where she put Cleo in. She knows how it feels.

As the story moves forward you learn is not one side’s fault but both of them made mistakes. And mistakes that everyone could make. The way the friendship starts to fall apart is so real, it just hurts.

I cried so much with this book. This book reminded me of History Is All You Left Me only, instead of with a romantic relationship it was a friendship, but it was the same kind of ache.

The characters are very lovable, i loved Cleo and Layla, both. I loved Dom, Syd, and Willa. I obviously didn’t like the chorus girls, but that’s a given, you are meant to dislike them as Cleo did.

I think the work with the characters was impeccable. They felt human, and because of that, the story hurt even more.

I don’t wanna talk too much about the storyline because i don’t want to spoil it for anyone. But i think this is a book everyone should read.

I gave it 5 stars and would give t more if i could.

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“Somehow I am a girl who makes all the wrong choices, but I am also a girl who aches in every way to be wanted despite my mistakes. ”

When You Were Everything features a topic that books don’t generally talk about – Friendship Breakups. I think the author did an amazing job by choosing this particular plot, since people tend to forget that losing a best friend hurts just like losing a person you’re in a relationship with; sometimes it hurts even more. This book was refreshing in a lot of ways - mainly because YA books tend to be more romance-centered , and When You Were Everything talks about friendship as the focal point.

Ashley Woodfolk’s writing style is simple, yet so beautiful. The book was perfectly paced, and I literally flew through it. Cleo’s struggles as she adjusted to a life without her best friend, Layla was so heart-breakingly described. I felt really sad for her at times, and wanted to hug her endless times throughout the story. Friendships are over-romanticized most of the time, so I really appreciated how the theme of friendship and losing a best friend wasn’t sugar-coated in any way by the author.

When You Were Everything swiftly changed between two timelines – before and after the breakup, but for me, it felt more like the first half of the book featured Cleo’s trauma and the second half showcased her healing process. I loved seeing Cleo finding happiness outside her “Layla Bubble” and form new friendships. She gradually learnt to accept the fact that some things are never meant to be, while figuring out a way to appreciate the past without clinging into it forever.

I loved how wonderfully written the romance between Cleo and Dom was, even though it was the secondary focus of the book. It was cheesy and sweet, just like Cleo deserved. Sydney and Willa, Cleo’s new friends, were the best additions to her life, and it was so heart-warming to see their friendship bloom throughout the story.

I got annoyed with Cleo a few times throughout the story, and I wanted more contribution of her mother in the storyline. These were the only things that I didn’t like about the story – which explains the rating. I loved everything about When You Were Everything otherwise. It is a very important book, one that everyone- specially teenagers should read. <3

These are some of my favorite quotes from When You Were Everything –
1) If you love someone, it’s always worth it….to try. You only get a few truly priceless people in your lifetime. You should fight like hell to hold on to them.
2) You kinda have to go through the dark to be sure you’re okay. Why not just make brand-new memories instead of overwriting old ones? You don’t have to erase the bad things to be happy. Besides, the dark shit is important to remember too.
3) Time had taught me that kids weren’t kind to girls like me : Girls who were dreamy and moony-eyed and a little too nice. Girls who wore rose-tinted glasses. Girls who thought the world was beautiful, and who read too many books, and who never saw cruelty coming. But something about this girl felt safe.
4) Love and life are fluid. Even heroes can make choices that fall into shades of gray.
5) The thing about snow-globes, is that they’re pretty to look at, but they’d be awful to inhabit. People are like that. Lives too
6) There’s still so much good in the world, you know? There’s still a chance for things to be amazing even if your life didn’t start out so great. But it’s kind of up to you to build the life you want.
7) I want to love the people I love with my eyes wide open.

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I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley. I gave this book 3 stars because if you look at how long it took me to read (Feb 19-Sep 18), that’s the main reason for the star rating. This book kept losing my interest. I finally finished and here’s what I thought about the book.

Overall it was an “ok” read. The main 2 characters, I thought was secretly in love with each other by how they reacted to each other but turned out to be genuine friends. I didn’t like how the story ended. I left with the feeling of “that’s it!? After all that I read, that’s the ending that they have?” I was disappointed in that aspect.

The book talked about friendship, divorce, and bullying. I would recommend this to young readers, ages 12 - 16.

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This book was great and is such a fun read! The focus on high school dynamics is much needed and relatable. It covers a range of topics, including Disability, divorce, parenting, jealousy, self-awareness. I was especially in awe of the author’s ability to convey such heavy topics with the precision needed to reach a young adult audience. I highly recommend this book!

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