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When You Were Everything

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,841 ratings  ·  520 reviews
You can't rewrite the past, but you can always choose to start again.

It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded.

Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again.

Now, Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex–best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Delacorte Press
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kayla she finds a new female friend plus a separate, straight romance :) there is a f/f relationship between side characters, though! so there is LGBTQ+ rep…moreshe finds a new female friend plus a separate, straight romance :) there is a f/f relationship between side characters, though! so there is LGBTQ+ representation, but not including the main character or part of the main plot(less)
Suhani Joshi U could say that 50% of this book takes place in the also takes place in a diner,some parties and Cleo's home.
U could say that 50% of this book takes place in the also takes place in a diner,some parties and Cleo's home.

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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,841 ratings  ·  520 reviews

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My favorite fiction book of 2020 so far, thank goodness for the year of novels that focus on friendship! We Used to be Friends validated my heartbreak over the close friendships I lost in 2019, and When You Were Everything both validated that heartbreak and pushed me to believe in the power of opening my heart again despite past friendship pains. I feel grateful to Ashley Woodfolk for writing such a nuanced and realistic portrayal of friendship. As someone who has had quite a few intense fri ...more
Eric Smith
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This book destroyed me and I thanked it for doing so.
Lisa Wolf
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s refreshing to read a contemporary YA novel where romance takes a backseat. In When You Were Everything, the focus is on friendship — or more specifically, on the end of friendship.

Few things are more traumatic for teen girls that losing a best friend. In When You Were Everything, we witness the pain and sorrow and rage that occurs when besties forever, Cleo and Layla, fall apart.

It happens the way these things do. Friends since age twelve, the girls start moving in different directions at t
Eimhear (A Little Haze)
I don’t know about you but I’ve never read a book about the breakup of a friendship before. Not one like this. This book cuts deep. I think we’ve probably all experienced the sharp pain of a friendship breakup at some stage in our lives but it’s almost a taboo subject! It’s just never discussed.

In my many years shuffling around this mortal coil I’ve had friendships end.
I’ve lost many friendships that simply drifted apart. Those ones don’t hurt thankfully. Life, circumstances, whatever... thing
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfork brought me back to my high school days. It brought out all the feels that those days gave me. When Cleo starts realizing that she might be losing her best friend she begins having a hard time dealing with life. Not only is she losing her best friend but her parents are also separating. This books deals with alternating dates "Then" and "Now" Then talks about how her friendship ended and Now deals with the present day Cleo. I also enjoyed the diversity ...more
Justin A Reynolds
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has everything I want and gave me a few things I didn’t understand I needed. Wise and melancholic, gorgeously nostalgic, Woodfolk’s stories pummel your heart and make you stronger for it.
Apr 19, 2018 marked it as to-read
Yup! Give it to me!
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
If you've ever wanted to read a story about friendship breakups - the messiness, the bitterness, the yearning - then I cannot recommend this splendid book, When You Were Everything, to you all.

- In alternating timelines between 'Then' and 'Now', this book follows Cleo, a Black teen who has a friendship breakup with her then-best friend, Layla, a Black teen with a stutter.
- This book. I never knew a book could make you feel so vulnerable and so seen; a book that lays bare the messiness and hurt
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
*I received an ARC of this via NetGalley*

The ending of this hit me hard and I did like it a lot. I wish more people had read this so I could talk about it with someone! My biggest "issue" was that the reason Cleo and Layla's friendship ended was used almost like a plot twist? It actually stressed me out that we didn't know why they stopped talking for more than half the book.

I felt like it colored my reading experience a lot because I was constantly wondering what made them act like this and whe
"Losing you wounded me. Probably more than you know. If I hurt you just as deeply, I’m sorry."

This was a somewhat refreshing story to read.
Refreshing but not memorable, if I have to be honest.

It does not happen that often that the focus point of a YA contemporary is not romance, and so when it actually happens you just gotta jump at the occasion and read the damn book.

This was indeed a YA contemporary which heavily centered around friendship and what it means to stop being friend with your BFF
Ms. Woc Reader
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was beautifully written though the pacing was a little slow at times. Cleo and Layla have been best friends for years. But once Layla starts hanging out with the chorus girls she gains a little more confidence and starts hanging out with Cleo less; Not to mention Layla's new friend Sloane doesn't seem to like Cleo at all and turns the other chorus girls against her. And Sloane ends up starting a rumor which really hurts Cleo and her family.

While reading it I wanted to judge Cleo for h
Ebony Rose
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Once again, I’ve stayed up til a criminally late hour to finish a book I just couldn’t part with, hiya 3:30AM, how are you?

RTC tomorrow morning when I’m equipped with (not enough) sleep and (too much) caffeine.

ALRIGHT, here we go. Am I well rested? No. Will this coffee work miracles? I hope so. Do I regret reading this book in nearly one sitting and foregoing sleep, thereby compromising my cognitive and intellectual abilities for likely the entire day today? No.

Not to be corny, but When Yo
Hannah // Book Nerd Native
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm not crying, I'm not crying! This one was great. I was curious towards the end if it was going to be a 3 or 4 star. I really wanted the protagonist to go through a couple of things in order to give it a full 4.5 stars, but the ending really was perfect. I loved what the author did with this story, and I think it covers really beneficial topics for teenagers, specifically teenage girls. ...more
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm reminded once again why I shouldn't read YA anymore. It's frustrating for everyone involved, especially when you think you're reading a book about a friendship and you're getting pages and pages of how much Cleo wants to lick Dom's collarbone instead, or her ~coincidentally~ deciding to let her friendship with Layla go for good when she and Dom are officially in a relationship; of course it was getting a boyfriend that finally fulfilled her, finding new friends in Sydney and Willa just didn' ...more
Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
"It's not like it was a relationship," he says, and I frown, annoyed at his reaction. Perhaps he doesn't know how it break in this particular way. Or perhaps it's different for boys? But girls cling to their friends for dear life as they wade through rough waters of learning who they are while everything around and inside them is changing minute by minute. And aren't we all a little in love with our best friends?"

(thank you @randomhousekids for this copy for review consideration)⁣

Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love stories and breakups in fiction usually revolve around romantic love, but what about that deep platonic love? Friendships are deep and last years, but what happens when they're over? Society and media don't really explore what happens when friendships end. This book flips the script and tells the story of best friends breaking up.

Chloe is our protagonist. At first, her love for Shakespeare is so cringy because what high schooler likes Shakespeare? Usually, one forced to read Romeo Jul
Jessica Jeffers
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book, about the dissolution of a close female friendship. That's a hard situation for anyone to go through, especially when you're a teenager, and I appreciated that Woodfolk acknowledged how both of the main players in this drama were at fault. Both behaved poorly, both suffered hurt feelings, and the reality is that maybe they've just outgrown each other. It's a bittersweet, realistic, and very touching story.

My only real complaints were that a) it ran a bit long, and som
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uno-2020
I'm not crying.. You're crying!

This book broke my heart and I couldn't put it down. When You Were Everything follows Cleo Baker, a teenage girl going through a friend-breakup. Doesn't sound very emotional and tragic, but trust me, this book will make you want to cry.

The writing, character development and plot pulled me and were done so well. My heart broke multiple times for Cleo and she felt like a fully-realised flawed but relatable character. If you've ever lost a best friend, you can sympat
Claude's Bookzone
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 RTC
This is my third review to come. Going back to work in the real world is ruining my Goodreads life 😭😭😭😭😭
So much less time to read and write reviews!
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Really appreciated the fact that this novel was about a friendship break-up, told in two separate timelines that show the reader how it happened and what happened afterwards.
Isabelle Leventhal
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truly a heart wrenching book about female friendships. It made me so introspective on all of my friendships, past and present, and totally broke my heart. It’s introspective and has a lot of layers, some clever devices but at its core is just a really well written story.
3.5 stars

I love reading stories about friendship break-ups that shatter my heart into a million pieces and then slowly put it back together. And while this book wasn’t my favorite, I still enjoyed it a whole lot!

This is a dual timeline story that follows a girl named Cleo, who grew apart from her best friend over the course of the last year and is now trying to come to terms with that fact and make new memories to get rid of the memory of her ex-best friend.

My favorite thing about this book is
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING by Ashley Woodfolk in exchange for my honest review.***


Cleo and Layla are best friends. Until they aren’t. Cleo, jealous when Layla’s world expanding with new friends and opportunities, sees her friend’s growth as rejection. She strikes out and Layla’s friends strike back. Cleo escalates with a cruel comment about Layla’s stuttering and things go from bad to worse.

Friendships are complicated. Friend
Thanks to Penguin Random House for gifting me this book I have been wanting to read Ashley Woodfolk for a while now & I am so happy I did⁠⠀
This one is about a friendship imploding, Cleo and Layla were besties and then things started to change. There are budding new friendships with other classmates, a new crush on the new boy in school, and all sorts of family stuff going on for Cleo that drives this story⁠⠀
There is an alternating time line of Then and Now where the story blends past and pre
I haven't spoken to my best friend, Layla, in twenty-seven days, but the snow is making everything feel a little less real—even that. As I look out at the blurry city, I embrace the illusion that everything is fine because it's snowing. And in the snow, I can pretend that the sad things in my life are just dreams I've misremembered.

The worst breakup is never with your significant other. Really, it's not. Instead, it's the breakup of a close friendship that's the most painful and longest felt
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This is a coming-of-age story about the end of friendships, which I find necessary for young adults to experience as a part of life. There are often stories about friends making up with happy endings, but as kids grow older, they must realize that friendships not only break apart, but also require substantive closure and healing. This is the story of Cleo, who loses her bestie, Layla, when Layla begins to hang out with girls in her chorus group. Cleo tries to get over this loss by erasing old me ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fuck, this one made my throat ache with all the pain of friendships and loss and change
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

When You Were Everything is a heart wrenching story about mistakes, friendship, and loss. The friendships and loss which hits us harder than any other relationship. When someone was a part of you - a piece of your soul - and they begin drifting away, they break apart. I knew from the beginning that When You Were Everything was going to be emotional, but it's also a love letter to th
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
In novels and movies we often focus on how traumatic it can be when we break up with romantic partners, but there’s not much of a discussion about breaking up with a friend and how that can hurt more than a breakup with your ex. It starts with small fissures & communication mishaps and then a few months later you realize that you’ve completely grown apart. Or sometimes you both have wronged each other and you realize that there’s no coming back from where you’re at now, so you have to adjust to ...more
It took me almost the whole year to get around to this 385 pages of a contemporary novel and for some reason Idk why but I loved it! This novel was full of diverse ppl. We got a person who stutters and a person dealing with their divorice parents which I wasn't excpeting that for some reasons.
I really loved our main character Chelo she is a new favorite female character. She loved music and books just like me and she is very confident in herself and I did saw the romance coming from a mile awa
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Ashley Woodfolk has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated from Rutgers University and worked in children's book publishing for over a decade. Now a full-time mom and writer, Ashley lives in a sunny Brooklyn apartment with her cute husband, her cuter dog, and the cutest kid in the world. Her books include The Beauty That Remains, When You Were Everything, and the ...more

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  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
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“There’s a line in The Tempest about the past being prologue to everything that comes after,” 1 likes
“I swallow hard and yank out my earbuds. I push the tears back down. I'm sick of crying every time I see or hear or feel something that reminds me of her. But before I can move on, I have to shake off the weight of my past. Of our past. I need to rewrite our prologue before it destroys me. So that's exactly what I'm going to do. (pg.6)” 0 likes
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