Cover Image: We Used to Be Friends

We Used to Be Friends

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Member Reviews

We Used To Be Friends by Amy Spalding tells the story of two best friends who were once inseparable, but life happens and now they are growing further and further apart.  

I enjoyed the format of dual timelines as we are able to delve into the girls’ own struggles separately and really understand where the conflict is coming from. One is scared of what the future holds, while the other is anticipating the road ahead and is more than ready to find out what is out there for her. It’s a problem I’m sure everyone can relate to at any age and I’m glad this book brings it to light. However, the girls’ personal relationships take a backseat in this novel as this book centers around their friendship and the relationship they have with each other. 

The friendship between James and Kis the kind of friendship that any person would be lucky to have.  The constant hourly texting, the weird telepathy that only you and your best friend have. However, this novel does not shy away from the problems that you may only experience when you have that kind of friendship with someone-- feeling of uncertainty when you feel the dynamic change, when it’s not just you and the bestie anymore, and the struggle of having to find time for each other when life gets in the way. 

I guess the gradual breakdown of their friendship is what broke my heart the most because you could just see how pure and relatable the characters were, and it made you want to shake them for not doing what should’ve been done, but at the same time understanding their actions. I guess this novel teaches us that while you could have the strongest friendship with someone at the end of the day, we are all separate people that live separate lives and deal with our own separate struggles. 

This book tells the raw truth of friendship breakups. It is painful but its realistically possible- and I think this book captures the essence of that perfectly. 

4 stars 

Thank you NetGalley and Amulet Books for providing me with an advanced reader's copy of 'We Used to be Friends' by Amy Spalding
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I found this book kind of hard to get into. I really loved the characters but the plot felt a little pointless and disorienting. I wished it had more of a clear ending and that the plot points felt more momental.
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The synopsis of this title had me hooked. Unfortunately the book itself fell flat. The characters didn’t connect me to the book in any way. This was not a ya book I recommend.
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More heartbreaking than the loss of a boyfriend or girlfriend, is the loss of your best friend. The one who knows all your secrets and who will back you no matter what. The one that you can count on at 2am to drop everything just to be there. 

This is the story of just that. Kat and James have been best friends since kindergarten. Now in their final year of high school things are changing. The shift in the friendship happens gradually and that makes it even more heartbreaking. 

Told in dual voices, uniquely, one voice starting at the end of the story and the alternating voice starting at the beginning. I really enjoyed this YA story.
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I don't think I've read a book about friend breakup before, and I really enjoyed this book. The timelines were a little difficult to used to, but I figured it out after a couple chapters. James's story is told backward in time while Kat's in told going forward, after finishing the book it makes a lot more sense to have it told that way. It would be too much drama to have both storylines told in the same direction. 

I think there is an expectation for there to be mega drama between girls who's friendship is ending, but there isn't in this one, and because of that, it felt so real and is all the more heartbreaking. 

James and Kat have been friends their whole lives, and when they're in their senior year of high school, they grow apart. It happens. After Kat broke up with her long-term boyfriend on the first day of senior year, she finds new interests and new friends. She starts dating a girl and comes out as bisexual. There a lot going on in Kat's life she's growing, and while all this is happening, James's life is falling apart and how I understood it, James didn't feel like she could confide in Kat anymore because of who Kat has become. So James holds it all in.

Sometimes long-term friendships can blind you to things about someone and when something little changes, all of a sudden the person you thought you knew isn't as perfect as you thought. That's what happens to James. 

There are so many books about romantic relationships and so few about friendships. I picked this book from the Netgalley list because it was about friendship. I don't think I've read a book like this before. I really enjoyed it. I connected with these characters and understood their motives and how hard it is to watch someone you love become a different person and not know where your relationship stands. 

If this were real life, I think there would be a chance for Kat and James to repair their friendship, but it will never be what it was when they were in school. People grow apart, people evolve and it hurts sometimes to look at your best friend and not know who they are anymore, and I think that's the point of the story. We grow up and evolve and need different things from relationships. 

Overall, I think this is a book you should pick up. It's different there is honestly very little drama so if you're looking for that, this isn't the book for you. But it explores how growing up and learning who you are on the cusp of adulthood can change so many things in your life. It's good.
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I could definitely relate to some aspects of this story so I appreciate even the very existence of this book. Having drifted apart from a strong friendship myself I can relate to what the character in this book are feeling, the mix of emotions. I was so happy to see thay finally a book has shown how painful 'friend breakups' can be as they are truly awful. It does have to be said however some parts of the book did fall slightly flat for me, but the really emotive scenes where just that. Almost a great read just not quite there, but I would definitely read more of the authors books.
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Thanks NetGalley for the preview! I really like this book right up until the end. I was shocked and disappointed about the ending-I wouldn't classify it as a cliff hanger but it was very open ended.  With the last chapter being the furthest in the past I found it unsatisfying.  The characters were interesting but I found myself against Kat quite a bit.  I liked that the characters were different enough that you could easily tell them apart, however, the time jumping got confusing at times. I'd say that this book could have been a 4 star for me but the abrupt ending moved it down to a 3 star.
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I swear friendship breakups hit you harder than relationship breakups! I am still reeling from breakups I've had with high school or college friends and I found myself crying throughout multiple points in this book. I loved it loved it loved it!
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That last chapter cuts like a kniiiiiiiife.

I really liked the concept of this book, which was about two girls slowly becoming distant and their friendship dissolving over the course of their senior year of high school. Plus, one POV was going forward in time while another was going backwards.

I really wanted to read this because I lost my high school bff my first year of college because we drifted apart, and it hurt for a long, long time. And, plus, so many books focus on romantic relationships instead of female friendships, which are actually really important?

Unfortunately Kat was just. The worst. By the mid point I was wondering how the heck James had put up with her for so long. She was overdramatic and self-absorbed and focused all of her attention on her new girlfriend (side note: I feel like Quinn and Kat are probably doomed to break up about halfway through their freshman year at college). So it was hard to be sympathetic and not pick a side, which I'm sure wasn't the author's intention.

Anyway, this has been on my TBR for a whole so I'm glad I finished it.
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When researching for my LGBTQ+ books releases in 2020 series, this one caught my eye. As well as featuring a bisexual main character and a f/f romance, it also focuses on the end of friendships and how they can be as heartbreaking as romantic break-ups. The story switches POVs between both Kat and James as well as jumping timelines. This is the thing I struggled most with in the story as sometimes the jumps could be very confusing and the story didn’t flow as well as I hoped because of it. However, that was my only problem with the book.
As always with books featuring more than one character’s POVs, I connected a lot more with Kat’s character. It was interesting to read about her blossoming relationship with girlfriend, Quinn as well as dealing with her grief after losing her mother. I loved her relationship with her dad, especially when Kat comes out. In terms of her sexuality, it is explored throughout the novel and there are plenty of conversations around the label she chooses for herself. James is also struggling with her family life after her parents separate and she is left resenting both her mother and her new boyfriend. Again, James also has a good relationship with her dad which was lovely to read.
There are quite a few side characters but not much information is provided about them outside of their involvement with either Kat or James – but they also provide the addition of how friendship breakups can affect the whole friendship group. The story also focuses a lot on the worries teenagers experience over what to do after school and colleges/futures feature a lot. I think this book nails being a teenager perfectly – with all the worries and drama that can come with it.
Overall, I really love that we have a diverse YA novel that also focuses on a friendship breakup as it isn’t an angle we see a lot of. It was frustrating as a reader seeing how both James and Kat were falling apart and knowing it was inevitable but it’s also real life and a heartbreaking time that a lot of people have gone through. If it wasn’t for the sometimes confusing timeline switches, then this book would have been perfect for me. However, I will say that it may just be a me thing so I’d definitely not let that put you off.
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This book is about how some friendships change and erode over time. We read about romantic breakups all the time but this is the first book I think I've read about a friendship breakup. The way the friendship breaks down throughout the book is totally relatable to anyone who has ever struggled with growing pains in a friendship. Sometimes they work out, but sometimes they just don't. I liked James a lot and I found myself relating to her quite a bit. I was very annoyed with Kat, however, and I found the alternating timelines confusing. Spalding gets extra points for actually using the word 'bisexual' to describe Kat.
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This broke my heart in a good way. Friendship breakups are so under-addressed in society and in YA lit and I'm so pleased to see that changing this year. Spalding pulls off dual timelines successfully, and her characters are bright, nuanced, and real. Plus both have very swoony significant others. I loved how she managed to address James' and Kat's friendships, romantic lives, family lives, and college decisions pretty equally without the book feeling overstuffed with plots. One I will definitely recommend to my teen readers at the library.
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I just could not connect to these characters or their story. I thought maybe I just wasn't in the right mindset for this particular book so I put it down for several weeks... but when I attempted to read it again, I found that I felt the same way as before. Both of the characters have the same voice, which is off-putting in a dual narrative story.
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This was an excellent read and felt very realistic. I recently ended a friendship and this book resonated so much with the situation that I was in. I was able to relate to James in almost every way and the friend I ended it with was so much like Kat is was a little frightening. I would highly recommend this title to any high-schoolers who are navigating friendships and figuring out their future.
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This book definitely did things most books don’t do. It focused on a friend breakup instead of a romantic couple. Anyone that has had a friend breakup knows that sometimes those can be worse than romantic breakups. 

I thought this book was extremely well written. The queer rep was amazing. The flow of the book was effective in the way that we got both POV of the friendship, and it works from present day to going back in time so we see the friendship in reverse. 

I think i didn’t connect with this one because I never had a friendship that lasted long and we had a friend breakup. So it was hard to relate to them in that way. I walked away not feeling happy or sad. I understood why they felt the way they did, but it didn’t sway me in either direction. 

I could see this book being great for other people but it just didn’t hit me the way it has hit other people.
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This e-arc was formatted terribly and was hard to read. I had to wait for it to come out and check it out from my library. I loved this book it was amazing I wish I could have actually read the e-arc though.

Wow this book was incredible. Finally a book that deals with friendships and friendship break ups which are never talked about. This book was so well written. I felt so much for both characters they both made me angry in how they treated the other but I could also understand their point of view. The nuance in their relationship was done so well. Both of them were at fault for their break up and it was so heartbreaking to read. I love that Kat comes out as bisexual and starts dating a girl. Their shift from friendship to dating wasn’t developed enough and felt rushed but it was a really cute relationship. There were times the dialogue wasn’t as strong or certain characters and subplots weren’t throughly developed. Despite some tiny flaws this book was an amazing intimate look at friendships and even though it broke my heart I loved every second of it.
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I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

We used to be friends is very peculiar book, built in a curious and interesting way. There are two POVs, Kat's and James' and the book swings from month to month, starting with the end (or a beginning) and ending with the beginning. 
Kat and James are best friends since they were little and they can't wait to go through their senior year, both of them full of hopes, plans and ideas for the future, colleges and boyfriends. But the senior year changes everything for them.

James' life is turn upside down when her parents, together since high school and considered, by her and everyone else, a true love story, break up and her mother left her and her father to live in another city with another man. She isn't sure anymore about anything, even her own relationship with Logan, now in college and she decided to break up with him, scared because her plans, inspired by her parents' love, fell apart. Seeing their marriage's outcome, she's scared to love her boyfriend, bringing herself to pushing him away.
To complicate things her best friend seemed less interested in hanging out with her and in trying to understand that something is wrong with James than to be with Quinn Morgan, who seems to have taken her place and Kat's attention. Jealousy and heartbreak pushes James to distance herself from Kat.

Kat's life, even though she wants others to think it's perfect, is not. Her mother died for a heart problem, leaving her paranoid and scared about her own health, her father decided to start dating and her boyfriend cheated on her because he was bored when she was away during summer. Her only constant is (was) James, even though slowly their relationship deteriorate, and her new friendship with Quinn. When Quinn kissed her, Kat realized how much she loves her and starts a relationship with her, slowly and without realizing, pushing James away. Or giving her for granted.

This book narrated their story, talking about their relationships, school, boyfriend and girlfriend, parents dating, parents separating, prom and dresses, colleges, friends. It shows, while talking about their friendship, with flashbacks too, how James' and Kat's lives change in such short time, how they find way to be more sure of themselves, or how to seek help, how to realize people around them, how to grown up, even when everything changes around you and you lose your benchmark.

Kat is a bit self absorbed, but like James, her character is complex. She's suffering, going through big changes in her life, her father dating, her bisexuality, her moving on after her mother's death. Around others Kat pretends she's perfect, she hasn't problems and only James and then Quinn pushed her to be more herself, to be fragile when she needs to be. To accept things and learn from them.

James is complex, quiet and introvert. She and Kat are really different. Kat popular and boisterous, James contemplative, alert, with her plans and thoughts. It's clear even in their writing style, because Kat uses upper cases and emoticons and esclamation points, while James is more accurate in writing and, when she slowly distances herself from Kat, her style becomes succint and almost cold.
James found her world turned upside down and she's forced to accept it, with her mother and friend. 
I love her relationship with Logan, Who is an amazing, caring and funny person, always there for her, when they are a couple, when they are not and when they are figuring out, giving her space to sort herself and her feelings out.

I love how this book deals with emotions, heartbreak, grieving, funny moments and so on. I love how the ending left, at least as I see it, a sliver of hope for James and Kat and James and Logan. How it talked about jealousy, relationship,romantic and not, school and making choices.

Amy Spalding's writing style is excellent and she swings skillfully between the two main characters and it's clear who's talking by word choices, sentences and expressions. I liked the way the book deals with important themes (divorces, depressions, seeking help and so on) and how it focuses on changes and growing up.

Overall We used to be friends is a 4 stars reading for me, intesting, captivating and really well written.
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I really liked the theme of this book which is about a friendship that falls apart. So many of us have experienced the devastation of such an event, but it's something that YA literature hasn't really explored.  I think it's an important topic.  That said, while this book has a lot to recommend it like well-developed characters, I really disliked the non-linear telling of the story. I feel it was unnecessary and confusing. E-book readers will find it particularly hard to follow the timeline as it's much harder to flip back in the book to figure out the timeline of events. Great idea, imperfect execution.
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Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read We Used to be Friends in exchange for a honest review!

Man, I loved this book. Friendship break ups is a subject I’ve wanted to see in YA for so long, and I’m beyond happy this was my first read that highlights it. I really loved James and Kat and getting to see their relationship shift through their own perspectives. All of the characters were so well written and complex and honestly, I would love to see how their story continues because everyone just felt so alive as I was reading. I’m sad that this book is over, but I’m sure it’s one that I’ll have on my mind and in my heart for a long time.
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We Used to Be Friends was achingly real. I couldn't put it down and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish but once I did, it actually hit so close to home that I didn't know how I felt about it at first. And it didn't help that one of the girls reminded me so much of someone I used to be best friends with (that's probably I didn't like that character) while the other vocalized a lot my feelings during my own bestie breakup with said friend. In this book, we get to see both sides of the story and it's told in dual timelines meaning half the chapters move forward while the other moves backward. It sounds complicated and kudos to Spalding for approaching it this way and making it work. At the start of their senior year, James and Kat are inseparable but by graduation they're no longer friends. James reflects a lot on the why's and how's (I totally relate) while Kat is mostly focused on being in love with her first girlfriend and assumes James will just be there even when she doesn't show much interest in her friend's life (clearly, I have a bias here). And I think my reaction is totally normal. Maybe some readers will sympathize with both girls equally but I wouldn't be surprised if sympathies sway to one over the other because of personal experiences. What's important is that both girls got equal representation. Whether or not you agree with either side, both perspectives are necessary to tell the story of a friendship breakup because it does take two people to get there and Spalding did an incredible job of telling a story most women, of any age, can relate to.

Do I recommend? | I do! Especially if you've gone through a BFF breakup yourself, this is so relatable.
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