Cover Image: When We Were

When We Were

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Member Reviews

Tara, Whitney and Pinkie are three best friends dealing with the turbulence and drama of high school, especially when it comes to relationships, both romantic and platonic. 

Unfortunately, I felt that the characters in this book behaved quite poorly, both individually and to each other. They didn't seem like friends, especially in the way they treated each other. Overall, this book just wasn't for me.
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*I received this e-book through Paper Lantern Lit for review

When We Were offered an intriguing premise, but dull character foundations and unnecessary drama detracted from the story. 

The characters were cardboard cutouts. While Whitney, Tara, and Pinkie were supposed to represent unique, interesting, and different individuals united by friendship, they fell flat as basic depictions of high-school stereotypes. It felt as if our heroines embodied the ever-common popular girl, academic, and athlete. Whitney, the cliche, popular mean girl, for instance, possess no background or personality outside her wealth and popularity. She, of course, comes from a rich family. She, of course, intimidates the 'average' students at school. She, of course, commands the students and staff, even charming her way out of punishment for skipping classes. Fitting the athlete stereotype, Tara exercises multiple times a day in preparation for a marathon, disregarding all other responsibilities. Pinkie, the academic, continually frets about studying. She strives to be the valedictorian, but remains socially awkward, quiet, and without many friends. I was confused and slightly irritated by the extreme similarities the protagonists shared with false assumptions; and by the fact that none of the heroines consider exploring new fields, or simply doing any activity outside their one, primary character focus. Their basic descriptions made them seem shallow and lackluster. 

Now, I am not insinuating that those who focus on meeting others, studying, or sports are shallow people. I do think, though, that everyone, including those who focus on the three aspects I listed, are more than solely one characteristic or focus. All people are more than one, simple mold. Unique, genuine, and real characters who resonated more than one trait were nonexistent in When We Were.

Perhaps lack of experience shaped Whitney, Tara, and Pinkie to be, as my mom would put it, "big fish in small ponds". Their actions already suggest that they would be unable to cope in the more open, "real world".

Pinkie, admittedly, becomes less reliant on the other girls and Nash, a random older boy who purported to be a soon-to-be Harvard student. This was an improvement over the first 75% of the book, in which Pinkie's constant, desperate fantasizing left me uninterested.

I was still not a fan of the drama in this book. The entire plot was drama-driven, always this-person-saying-this and this-person-saying-that. Our leads, Whitney especially, felt the need to constantly involve themselves in insignificant rumors and gossip. Pointless arguments ensued over insults that only worsened separations. The amount of petty dramatics was overwhelming.

I was somewhat satisfied with the conclusion of When We Were, but my lasting impression remains the annoyance I experienced.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers/author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tara, Whitney Blaire and Pinkie are three best friends who seem to be the perfect trio until things begin falling apart when Tara finds out her perfect boyfriend was seen kissing another guy. As Tara tries to figure out her relationship, she gets even more confused when a new girl stirs up feelings she never knew she had and Whitney attempts to guard her best friend's feelings. 

This book was a little bit of a mess if I'm honest, and I can't say I totally enjoyed reading it. There were some parts I liked, weirdly my favourite character was Whitney who was possibly the bitchiest but for the most part I just didn't like how this book handled some things. While I'm glad there was a bisexual storyline in this between Tara and Riley, I didn't like how Brent's storyline was handled. When Tara found out about the guy kissing thing, she was understandably upset but never once did she seem to think she should talk to Brent about his feelings and his sexuality, or even see if maybe he needed someone to talk to about it. He was made out to be a heartless cheat, and that was a shame as it could have been a good opportunity for healthy conversation.

Tara was probably suppose to be the main character over Whitney and Pinkie but she was just boring and honestly, incredibly selfish. The entire novel she only thought about herself and never once did she ever seem to think about her friends and the things they might be worried about or be going through. She also dropped her friends like a hot potato once the right opportunity came along, and I don't really think she did enough grovelling at the end for that to have been sorted out to my satisfaction.

Pinkie was honestly a pathetic character who was so hard to read because she seemed so young. And not in an innocent, naive way, just in a sad way. I felt like the author tried to hard to give her an actual storyline and added in the Nash 'relationship' seemed rushed, and not thought through properly at all. It just flat-lined completely. There was also definitely some problematic conversation about Pinkie's homophobic feelings in this book, and I know that it was there to show some people need to really push themselves into acceptance sometimes but I don't think, again, Pinkie's feelings were dealt with properly at the end. All it said was that she didn't look away at Riley's arm around Tara but there was never any other conversation about if her homophobic feelings had changed into acceptance.

<i>"I have nothing against gays. What they want to do is their business. Just as long as their business doesn't involve me or my friends."</i> A quote from Pinkie that made me say "wtf?"

Whitney was my favourite character by far because I feel like she was the most complex. She was definitely the bitchiest and the most explosive character but I feel like a lot of her bad actions often came from a good place and she just expressed herself wrong. Throughout the book, she was fiercely loyal and protective of her friends, and Tara basically just spat in her face.

This book just ended up being catty often just for the sake of it, and i found the friendship to often be toxic and definitely not a group I would want to be part of. I don't think I would recommend this to people to read.
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realistic f/f book with characters that were like real people. would recommend
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Thank you so much for being willing to grant me access to this book. Unfortunately, life obligations have prevented me from doing so. If my schedule clears, I plan on reviewing this in the future and will post the review on Amazon and Goodreads. Thank you.
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