When We Were

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Pub Date 29 Sep 2015 | Archive Date 17 Nov 2015


No one messes with Whitney Blaire or her friends, which is why she can’t help but let it slip that someone spotted Tara’s boyfriend making out with one of the guy cheerleaders.

Even after spending hours training for her marathon, down-to-earth Tara can't outrun the rumors about the boyfriend she thought was perfect.

Pinkie, the rock and "Big Sister" of their inseparable group, just wants things to stay exactly the way they are...

...but that's not possible when new-girl Riley arrives in school and changes everything.
Suddenly Tara starts to feel things she's never felt before—for anyone—while Whitney Blaire tries to convince her that this new girl is Trouble. Meanwhile, Pinkie’s world begins to crumble as she begins to suspect that the friends she depends on are not the girls she thought she knew. Can friendship survive when all the rules are broken?

Previously published as OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS, this coming of age novel is a 2011 ALA Rainbow List Book and a 2011 New Mexico Book Award Finalist.
No one messes with Whitney Blaire or her friends, which is why she can’t help but let it slip that someone spotted Tara’s boyfriend making out with one of the guy cheerleaders.

Even after spending...

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ISBN 9781508000310
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Featured Reviews

I ended up enjoying this more than I expected. I'm not the biggest fan of contemporary, especially where there's an emphasis on romance (as well my blog readers know), so it took me a little while to settle down into this one. At first, I definitely identified most with Pinkie, who is a total nerd, although she works a whole lot harder than I ever did in school. But as I learned more about her, I became less sure that we were alike, and started identifying with all sorts of characters. They weren't all likeable: they were fallible humans who made mistakes, misjudged things, and said the wrong thing. But at the centre of the book was a meaningful three-way friendship that changed and developed according to what else was going on, and I liked that. It was well written, some of the romance was ADORABLE (particularly the f/f romance, that was SO CUTE even I wasn't 100% convinced by Riley because she made a few mistakes that seemed kinda vindictive; she did apologise a lot, though, and try to make up for it, so I guess that was okay), and it made me smile. So yeah, once I got into it, I actually became really invested and started to really care what happened. A full review on my blog will be posted shortly (link below may only lead to homepage until post is up, I'm not sure).

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I really liked the book being told from the first person perspectives of all three young women. We often think that someone else’s life looks so perfect compared to ours but no one really knows another person’s personal struggles. Whitney Blair is beautiful, but has distant, emotionally neglectful parents. Pinkie is an honor student but still deeply misses her mom who passed away when Pinkie was very young. Tara is a star athlete still struggling with abandonment issues from her father leaving. The girls have been best friends forever until a rumor and a new love interest push a wedge between them. They must navigate new emotions and new directions to come back around to their friendship. The story centers mostly on Tara and her break up with Brent and subsequent relationship with the new girl, Riley. I felt like Tara’s internal dialogue could have been better explored. She seems to accept her attraction to another girl with little self critique. Given that this was her first time ever being attracted to someone of the same gender, you would think she’d engage in some sort of internal questioning, but she does very little of that. It was still believable though, even as lightly addressed as it was. I found myself feeling sympathetic to all three protagonists even as each made mistakes. They all grew as a result of their experiences. And ultimately, their friendship grew apart but then together in new ways. This came across as very realistic of how young friends and friendships grow and change as people change and mature. There are no great surprises in this book, but I enjoyed reading it and opened the ebook on my smartphone every chance I had. It was an interesting peek into the minds of these three young women. It certainly reminded me that I am very happy to be (25 years) past high school drama! As adults, the girls’ friendship might have seemed far fetched - the popular girl, the “jock” and the smart girl being friends - but that is not unusual in childhood. We make friends as kids by way of living close together or bonding over something small on the playground at school and that friendship just moves and grows along with us as we age. Sometimes it grows apart sooner rather than later, sometimes it never does and we find ourselves still friends decades later when we might have never been friends had we met as adults. There are a couple intimate scenes but nothing too explicit. In the end, some of the threads are not tied up in bows, neat or otherwise, but the book came to a meaningful conclusion. Appropriate for a mid- to upper-teen reader or an adult who likes YA fiction.

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