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We Used to Be Friends

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  2,140 ratings  ·  594 reviews
Two best friends grow up—and grow apart—in this innovative contemporary YA novel
Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,140 ratings  ·  594 reviews

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5 stars because right book, right time. I went through a gradual yet intense friendship breakup over the latter half of 2019 and We Used to Be Friends got me in all of my feels, like every single one of them. Amy Spalding’s novel follows James and Kat, childhood besties about to start their senior year of high school. They both have life stuff going on: James broke up with her boyfriend and her parents are separating, Kat is dating a girl for the first time and is adjusting to her dad looking fo ...more
Kate Welsh
SO MANY FEELINGS. This made me cry ON A BUS. Friend breakups are so terrible and we so rarely talk about them!
Irena BookDustMagic
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I know it's only January, but I'm pretty sure We Used to be Friends will be one of my favourite reads of 2020.

This was so good, amazingly written with capability to send me on my own reminiscing journey.

Full review to come.
Laurie –Read Between The Skylines–
“The secret about falling in love is how you can do it a million times over with the same person, when the person is the right one.”

1.5 stars

Honestly, I don't give 1-star rating easily but this book was dreadful and every single part of it was a disappointment. According to the blurb, in We Used To Be Friends we follow James and Kat, two childhood best friends, during their senior year of high school. We know even before starting this book (the title says it all), that it will tell the story
Claude's Bookzone
3.5 Stars
After having spent an embarrassingly long time being totally confused by this story I re-read the blurb and realised I somehow missed the very significant detail that this story is told in two different timelines going in different directions. I hadn't paid attention to the dates at the beginning at each chapter either. Yay me and my astute observation skills. I had to start again with fresh eyes and now I am sad. I am sure everyone who has been through a friendship break up knows it ca
Lea | That_Bookdragon
3/5 ⭐️

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion and happy release day to this book!

"It's strange to think you could grow up right alongside someone and be one category of person when it turns out they're another entirely."

We Used To Be Friends follows two best friends as they grow up and ultimately... grow apart. Told through different points of view, one moving forward and the other moving backward, the reader
so 2020 will be a good year when we finally acknowledge the pain of friend break-ups! neat!


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Jasmine Guillory
This was my first read of 2020 and I tore through it — I love books about friendship and I love Amy Spalding books so it’s not a surprise I loved this one! It’s such a touching, relatable story of a friendship breakup, and I really empathized with both characters while also wanting to yell at both of them while also understanding why they were doing the things that made me want to yell at them! I thought the structure might be confusing (the point of view of one character goes backward in time a ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2/5 stars:

I think 2020 should be the year I realize YA contemporary is just not for me. There are VERY few contemporaries I end up loving and this definitely wasn't one of them. In fact, it is one of contemporaries I've enjoyed the least in recent times.

Both in writing and plot I don't think this book does anything special or remarkable.

The story moves between the two main characters' POVs -Kat and James- and although their personalities and likes/dislikes are pretty different their tones and p
lu ☾
2.5 stars

I was really excited about this one because friend breakups is a topic that I think should be covered a lot more in YA lit (and media in general), BUT it was honestly pretty underwhelming. Maybe I'm just dumb, but the dual timelines were very confusing, and since I was listening to the audiobook it was Really Annoying to have to go back to the start of the chapter every time to check what month it was, and then try to remember what had and hadn't happened up to that point in time.

The ch
*I received an earc of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

It's been a few hours since I've finished this book and I really can't find strong feelings for it one way or another. I really love the premise of the story, the queer representation, the characters, the relationships, and the realistic feels of everything. Despite all of this I just wasn't really able to get into the book. I found myself accidentally skimming parts of it, the timeline was pretty confusing because
Sometimes a friendship ends with something huge. Other times, two people grow apart for a variety of reasons that aren't necessarily big bangs, but a ton of small ones that inevitably break them apart. Spalding digs into this kind of friendship breakup in a story told in a creative -- and effective -- timeline. James's narrative moves backwards from her leaving for college after the summer post-senior year, while Kat's moves forward from the first month of senior year and as readers, we see all ...more
michelle (magical reads)
3.75 stars

read on my blog

**I received an ARC from Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

Everything felt so easy then: friendships, boyfriends, the future,. But now my feelings are too messy. It’s like something has been rotting from within and now there’s no way to know when it started.

I was intrigued by the title; I mean, We Used to Be Friends is very on the nose, but it’s exactly what this book is about, and I loved it for that. I feel l
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2020-releases
Real rating: 4,5 stars.
We Used To Be Friends was such a brilliant read and a necessary one, too. There are too few books about friendships and friendship break-ups and how painful that can be, too, and this book NAILED IT. I loved the dual POV and the originality of going back and forth in James and Kat's relationship. Bittersweet and emotional, this is such a good read I'm definitely going to recommend.

Full review coming soon on the blog!

Thank you to Amulet Books UK / Abrams & Chronicle Books
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm also a book blogger: Vee_Bookish

My expectations from this book before I read it was that we would meet one friend at the start of the friendship or a high point in the friendship, and one at the end of the friendship, slowly meeting in the middle and there would be some sort of big reveal as to what caused the break-up. I fully expected to bawl like a baby by the end. This... did not happen.

We Used To Be Friends is, well, it's a bit of a mess. Instead of what I thought would happen, the chap
*3.5 Stars*
(Thank you to my Mum for typing this review for me).
This book is about two main characters , James and Kat, as they enter their senior year together after being best friends for over a decade. It has a dual time line, with Kat's perspective from the start of the senior year, and James' perspective starting from the end of the year. This chronicles their fracturing friendship and the heartbreak which comes along with it.
What I Liked:
- Friend break ups. We read countless stories that f
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
The cool thing about the timeline moving forwards and backwards at the same time is that instead of crying at the climax of the book I just cried on and off the whole time.
2 stars

The only thing I cared about in this book was the exploration of friendship and how friends sometimes grow apart and sometimes friend break-ups happen. I thought the author did a decent job of portraying what a friendship break-up feels like and I really appreciated that.

That said, I didn't care about anything else in this book. The characters annoyed me to no end and there was pretty much no plot outside of the friendship break-up which wasn't enough to carry the story. I also didn't r
Samantha (WLABB)
Kat and James had been best friends since they were serendipitously paired together in Kindergarten. Both were looking forward to senior year for different reasons. Kat just wanted to get though this last year, and was anticipating all the new experiences waiting for her in college, while James was eager to be a senior and to enjoy her final year of high school with her best friend at her side. However, neither expected it would be the end of a decade long friendship.

I am telling you, right now,
sofia (sam willows)
this was good and fine but it didn't move me as much as i hoped + i forgot about it the minute i finished it hence the three stars ...more
- two words: friend breakups
- we’ve all been through them, some more dramatic than others, some less, but no matter the situation I’m sure everyone could in some way relate to this
- Here the hurt was slowly building, a culmination of internal and external frictions and honestly bad timing
- James and kat are written imperfectly, aka realistically, and were quite relatable whether situationally or behaviourally
- The alternating POVS and non-linear timeline (even though the chapters are date
elise (the petite punk)
I was prepared to absolutely love this but...yeah, that just didn’t happen. The back and forth timeline paired with the dual POVs was incredibly confusing and I hated the fact that the last chapter didn’t end in current time. It almost made the book seem unfinished. There were a few emotional and sweet moments but for the most part, I felt like the author kept coming really close to making valid points about friendships, family, teenage relationships, etc. and then missing the mark. I didn’t lik ...more
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-releases
I added this to my tbr almost a year before it was published (and that was before I actually paid attention to upcoming releases) and I wanted to like it so bad. Friendship stories are so underrepresented and underappreciated and while I think this did have some good moments while discussing the impact of friendships ending (I might have cried) it wasn't enough to save it

I feel like my main complaint with this is that the dual timelines didn't make sense. It felt like something thrown in to mak
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
"By the time you realize you're thirsty, it's too late. You're already dehydrated. Therefore, it stands to reasons that if you feel the end coming, you're already there."
This was such a bittersweet book - in the best way. I just feel really sad and filled with pain about this friendship that just falls apart over time. It definitely hooks you and pulls you into the story. You're so invested you feel the heartbrea and pain alongside Kat and James.

I loved that this story was told in t
Amanda Cresse
I hated the back and forth storyline format. It was confusing.
👏YES 👏to 👏friendship 👏breakup 👏rep 👏
* I received an arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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 w
Alexis Nalley
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
“I had no idea how you could stand right next to someone and yet have no clue how to get back to them. Though I guess that now it’s more that I’m standing behind someone.”

This book. This book, you guys. We Used to be Friends follows two girls, James and Kat as their friendship dissolves. It’s no one’s fault and no one person is totally to blame, just something that sometimes happens- you grow up and you grow apart. This book is told in alternating points of view. James’ part of the story is told
Nov 20, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
We Used To Be Friends is a friendship break-up book, a character-driven story about James and Kat and everything that leads them to not be friends anymore. Alternating chapters between the two girls, while also jumping the time around, the story retells their senior year. From James's mom leaving to Kat coming out as bisexual, the year is emotional charge and very intense. Their friendship changes and they slowly grow apart. This was what brought me to the story, to be honest, and what I found i ...more
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Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

By day, she manages the digital media team for an indie film advertising agency. By later day and night, Amy wri

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