Cover Image: Who I Was with Her

Who I Was with Her

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Member Reviews

Corinne Parker didn't realize that she was bisexual until she met Maggie Bailey, a student from her rival high school, at a cross-country meet. Within a few months, they began a secret relationship only known of by Maggie's brother, Dylan. With Maggie, Corinne saw a plan for her future that didn't include a meaningless college decision.
Now, Maggie is dead and Dylan is still the only person who knew about their relationship. Corinne hasn't come out to anyone- not her recently divorced father, not her alcoholic mother, or even her cross-country friends, Julia and Haley. She doesn't think she can share her grief with anyone, until at Maggie's funeral, Dylan introduces her to Elissa, Maggie's ex-girlfriend from two years before. 
The only problem I had with this book was how Maggie was begging and practically forcing Corinne to come out, not realizing the problems she could have if she did. I don't think it's ever okay to pressure someone to come out, no matter how much you want to make your relationship public. Maggie even asked Corinne once if she "really loved her" because she wanted to keep them a secret, which doesn't seem healthy to me.
I liked that Corinne wasn't sure what she wanted to do after high school and was willing to accept that. She's a good runner, but realizes that she only kept it up because of Maggie, and she wants a life for herself.
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I like the subject matter, and I think more books that give teens the space to see themselves in figuring out their sexuality, gender, etc and feel ok in their own struggle because they aren’t alone. I don’t think this book did a good job dealing with the death of a teen, even though that wasn’t the central point to the book, it builds to that day as if it’s going to reveal something about Maggie’s death, and it doesn’t. To not mention anything specific about her death just isn’t realistic about teenagers, high school, and trauma.
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What makes this book different from other YA texts concerning grief is that readers are FINALLY finding LGBTQIA+ rep in teen loss novels. Corinne (Corey) is not out. But her girlfriend Maggie (a competitor in CC from rival high school adds such a nice element) dies anyway. And no one knows what they were to each other, much less what Maggie meant to Corey. 
As the funeral approaches, Corey discovers there was much about Maggie she didn't know. And that is perfectly okay. Because people exist before us and after us; they contain multitudes. 
I positively ADORED the non-linear timeline! This style works WONDERS for plot and is stylistically pleasing ALWAYS. 
Character voice and development is *chef's kiss* and definitely recommend this book for fans of Adam Silvera, Sarah Hestra, and Becky Albertalli.

What Amazon has to say: 
A beautiful, poised, and thought-provoking debut about love, loss, coming out, and discovering living life on your own terms.
 - New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Glasgow

There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school's cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn't ready for anyone to know she's bisexual.

But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa -- Maggie's ex, and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling. 

As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life... starting with herself.
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This book was so delightful, I read it in a day (and I say that as someone who usually sticks with YA horror and fantasy). I think one of the criticisms of YA is that it reads like it's written for adults. That is not the case here. This definitely speaks to the YA audience because the story truly captures all the complicated parts of being in high school-- family expectations, uncertainty, sexuality, and self-discovery vs. what everyone else expects of you. I haven't been in high school in 20 years and when I read this depiction of high school in The South, I felt like I was launched back in time to the Southern town I ran cross country in-- to bonfires and pep rallies and social hierarchies. 

What I like best are the little choices the author made to show us how fragmented this MC is as we travel with her through her grief. We get little snippets of Corrine's memories of the past, but it's not full of exposition. It's brief flashes. I also liked some of the line breaks that were used just enough, like:

"...because I am a girl with potential and 
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An insightful read of a route on grief, self discovery and acceptance. 

The book is chock full of emotions. Corinne, the protagonist, is a closeted bisexual. When her girlfriend dies, readers are thrusted into her flashbacks and memories of a hidden desire that did not have a chance to surface in her world. Having to contend with her loss in solitude as her sexuality is hidden, readers get a grasp of her inner battles and the agony of her loss through the pages. 

A good YA book that prods and nudges on the topic - coming out and the many facets and layers of an individual’s struggles with it. The character of Corrine was earnestly written and her journey will leave readers with thoughts. 

I just reviewed Who I Was with Her by Nita Tyndall. #WhoIWaswithHer #NetGalley
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Corinne always expected a nightly text from Maggie. The text never came. The next day at school, her cross country teammates were causally discussing the death of girl from a car crash. The girl was the captain on the cross country team from their rival school. Maggie was the captain of that team from their rival school. Corinne heard Maggie’s name. Maggie was dead. Her secret girlfriend of almost a year was dead… and Corinne had to hide her tears and grief for the girl she loved and could no longer be with. So began this story of Corinne’s life told in alternating chapters: remembering life with her girlfriend and the numbered days coping with her grief and life without her. 

This was an interesting storyline that dealt with such topics as race, sexuality and asexually,  divorce, the importance of scholarships for college, alcoholism, and fear of coming out. There were many  diverse characters. Some of the characters were likable and others were not. 

The problem I had with this story had to do with its main character. I understood Corinne had to deal with a lot of problems such as her alcoholic mother and the pressures of coming out, and I did feel sorry for her in the first chapter after she found out her girlfriend was dead. But soon thereafter and throughout the story, I found her to be too selfish and self centered in terms of her relationship with her girlfriend Maggie and her cross country teammates. She was also selfish in her relationship with Elissa, Maggie’s ex girlfriend when they first met at Maggie’s funeral. It seemed like she just used Elissa for her connection to Maggie. Corinne was all over the place in her thoughts, actions, and feelings.

Her actions were also quite questionable regarding a college scholarship.At this point in the story, we understood her reasons for running, but the consequences of her actions were very selfish.  Corinne was actually called out for being selfish, but nothing really changed.  

The story was well written, and I did enjoy the other characters, especially  Corinne’s  best friend Julia who had a different type of coming out. I looked forward to her scenes throughout the story. If Corinne was less selfish in general, I would have found her to be more likable. But I think teens and YA will enjoy the high school setting and its drama.
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When I first received my ARC copy of Who I Was With Her. I was psyched for a contemporary novel featuring a bisexual character. I think representation is so important, and while we're seeing a growing spread of LGBTQ+ young adult literature, I do feel bisexuality is underrepresented. 

I'll begin with what I liked: I appreciated the weight given to Corinne's grief, especially due to the fact that she has to hide it. I also felt that Corinne's struggle to self-identify and come to terms with what she wants was well done and representative of the struggles many teens go through. 

What I did not like was how detached her father was from her mother's alcoholism. It was like he just brushed it off and made it Corinne's problem, which made me angry as a parent. It also felt like her mother's alcoholism was tossed into the book unnecessarily. Like it was an afterthought to give Corinne more struggles, as if being a bisexual teen in a small southern town whose secret girlfriend just died wasn't enough. 

My biggest gripe with the book, which admittedly is somewhat addressed in the very end, was how everyone pressured Corinne to come out. Maggie was angry with her for refusing to "go public," Dylan calls her a coward, Elissa refuses to go 'back in the closet,' and so on. I felt that all these characters were unforgivable in their pressure to force Corey to come out (or, in Dylan's case, chastise her for not coming out before Maggie died). This did not sit well with me as it is not anyone’s business but that individual person's on when or how they come out. I felt this conveyed the wrong message to a reader who may be questioning themselves.

Overall, I was happy with the representation but disappointed in the overall portrayal.
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I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever cried harder reading something. This book devastated me in the best ways possible. This book is a beautiful portrayal of the messiness of grief, first loves, and being closeted in the south all while using your dead girlfriend's ex as a coping mechanism.

So much of Corrine’s story resonated with me, even though our experiences as teenage bi women were drastically different. there was just something about it that felt so deeply personal and connected to my own life. 

Loved that the main character was bi and that we had asexual rep as well. 

This book also did a really good job of acknowledging that not actively calling out microaggressions is itself a form of harm.
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This book has a great premise. But ultimately, it fell flat for me.

What I liked:

-the high school setting
-the flashbacks
-Julia’s character 

What I didn’t like:
-I struggled with connecting with the main character, Corrine. A lot of the decisions she made before and during the book were hard for me to swallow. I know that she faced an array of different challenges in life but I don’t find those to be a good enough excuse to treat some of her family/friends the way she did. 

-The pacing of the book was hard for me. I feel like the book was very repetitive in some respects. Overall, not very much actually happens in the book.
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<i>Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.</i>

Corinne Parker, a runner hoping to earn a scholarship for college so that she can escape her small town, has some secrets. Specifically--she's bisexual, and she is in love with Maggie Bailey, another runner from a rival high school. Except Maggie is dead now and Corinne must grieve alone while her secrets still sleep deep inside of her. With her girlfriend gone and senior year coming to an end, Corinne has quite a bit to sort out, including her split-up parents, college, Maggie's ex-girlfriend, and the emotions that come with both sexuality and grief. 

<i>Who I Was With Her</i> is a quiet story with many delicate layers wrapped around its core theme of grief. Nita Tyndall does a beautifully heart-wrenching job of depicting the experience of grieving a loved one and of having to hide one's true self out of fear. At some points Corinne is careful and contained and other times she's inconsiderate and messy; the unpredictable range of emotional responses that grief brings was thoughtfully done. There's such a careful blend of confusion and pain regarding both Maggie's death and Corrine's sexuality. Your heart will be aching right along with Corrine's. 

I also appreciated Tyndall's interpretation of Corrine being bisexual in a small, traditional town. There's just enough bitter homophobic reality mixed with hope, which is such an important part of reality that is just not represented enough in LGBT+ fiction. Furthermore, I thought the asexual side character was also well-written. Both bisexuality and asexuality were directly discussed multiple times (with those exact labels being used), which I thought was extremely important. 

If you don't like relatively sad or slow stories, perhaps this one is not for you. But if you enjoy character-based stories that focus on emotions and self-acceptance, you're bound to fall in love with Nita Tyndall's writing. 

Content warnings: grieving the death of a loved one, external biphobia, internal biphobia, slut shaming, alcoholism, underage drinking
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This book describes the grieving process of Corinne, a high school senior, whose girlfriend Maggie (who attended a different high school) was killed in a car accident. But Corinne doesn't hear the news from Maggie's family; she learns of the accident in her locker room after school as she and the rest of the team are getting ready for cross country practice. Corinne isn't out to anyone in her small town, so she has to navigate the grieving process alone. During this process, though, she learns that she didn't know Maggie quite as well as she thought she did. 

I thought this book was beautifully written. I could empathize with Corinne, as it seemed like all she was going through with thoughts about coming out could've been written about me. We see Corinne's struggle in everything, especially with the loss of her girlfriend and how she doesn't feel she can tell anyone. But Tyndall's book serves as a reminder that there are people you can trust and lean on, people who know everything about you and still love you, even in a small town.
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There is a lot to like in this and I think it could be very meaningful for the right reader. I loved the bi and casual ace representation. I appreciated the complexities of not wanting to come out and of being pressured to do so by someone. I felt so deeply sad that Corinne wasn't able to share her grief and was hiding so much from her family (I'm a parent now). I loved that the book moved from devastation to hope.
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Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for the ARC of this book.

I was prepared for this book to destroy me when I started it, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. This book was bleak from the very first page; there's no lead-in and no beating around the bush. Corinne is messy and real and isn't always easy to like, but you can't help but feel every aspect of her grief right along with her. Tyndall's writing is succinct and evocative, which made this book easy to binge-read despite the difficult subject matter. I This book is well-done in so many ways, and I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
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3 stars

I love a good YA LGBTQIA+ romance, so I was thrilled to get this one. The twist (on the romance trope, not the plot - this isn't a spoiler at all) - that half of the couple is dead when the novel begins - seems a promising setup. 

What I like about this book is the depiction of grief, the bisexual and asexual representation, and the impressive jumping back and forth in a non-linear format. I wasn't sure about that last part at first, but it's well executed overall. 

I did struggle a lot with the m.c. Part of this results from the fact that we meet her at the instant she experiences extreme grief. It's hard to get to know HER because we meet her in such a challenging state. The flashbacks help, but I never felt as connected to her as I'd have liked. Also, I found her relationship to coming out really difficult to read at times. It's clear she's struggling with this idea, but based on what readers know about her environment and relationships, it's tough to determine WHY she feels this way. Coming out is obviously a very personal choice, but the sacrifices she makes in an effort not to come out - followed by later events in the novel - confuse me still. For a character who makes the same point often, she sure makes a quick turnaround in some ways. On a related note, I wasn't expecting major surprises based on the genre and premise, but this felt too predictable to me overall. 

This novel is a worth a read for the premise and representation, and I'll be really interested to read future works by this author; I enjoy the style, central concept, and organization. I hope that I can feel more connected to/invested in characters and their motives in Tyndall's upcoming works.
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Oh my god, this book…

I was terrified of this book because I knew it would hurt and center grief, but I decided to try it anyway because last time I was scared to read a book, I ended up loving it. Who I Was With Her is no different.

Who I Was With Her is told with alternating  timelines - the time before and the time after Maggie’s death, and centers on Corinne, a high school senior full of fear and confusion, whose first girlfriend died suddenly in a car accident. Corinne is a messy character and there are many messy interactions, but I feel like that added to the depth of the story. No one is perfect. They hurt each other and say the wrong thing, or don’t notice things. But there’s still love and friendship and bonds and growth.

I swear I cried almost every chapter of this book, but the last quarter especially wrecked me. The way the timelines were presented and the writing style just made Corinne’s grief so visceral. There’s times where there’s little to no punctuation and the way sentences are broken up is almost like poetry, and it works so well to convey emotion.

I really appreciated the way the book ends too. It’s not exactly what I expected, but it’s the right way for this story to end.

Who I Was With Her is a story of grief and messy teenagers and finding the language and courage to be yourself. I loved the ways it dealt with coming out, and the inexplicable fear tied to coming out even if you know in your heart that you’ll still be loved and accepted. I loved the scenes with Corinne calling herself bisexual to herself and Julia talking about being asexual and finding the word for herself. The queerness felt like it was written for queer readers, and it just hit me in the heart in so many ways.

A couple things that stood out that aren’t topics I feel capable of speaking on where (1) a woman of color shouldering emotional labor of teaching her friend about racist microaggressions and (2) the woman of color being emotional support during time of grief. I also noticed race wasn’t explicitly stated, just skin tones described. I appreciate the diverse cast and the central character is white, but these things still stood out as topics I’ve seen discussed, but which aren’t things I can speak on beyond noting my observances.

Overall, this is a book that impacted me. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it because I cried so much, but I am glad I read it and I’ll definitely recommend it to others who enjoy a book that’s going to make them cry and figuring out identity and messy teenagers.
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I don't usually read teen lit, so I know I'm not the ideal reader of this book. Even still, I am always glad to see more LGBTQ stories hit the shelves. This book succeeds in a lot of ways; it handles grief well, as well as making the story feel very contemporary... We have texting, apps, Facebook. The strange and difficult way that grief interacts with social media is also handled well. The brief handling of asexuality works well, and is refreshing to see as that subject doesn't get a lot of attention. The brief mention of race is also handled well. On the other hand, some of the writing felt cliche, and some of the passages felt over the top or difficult to believe, but that might be, again, because I'm not the ideal reader in this age group genre. That said, I would still recommend this book to teenagers and young adults, as I imagine they could feel very "seen" by the characters.
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