REVIEW | When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk

"The thing I didn't realize about having a best friend while I still had one is just how wrapped up she is in everything. Every outfit I wear or song I listen to. Every place I go. Losing someone can leave you haunted."

When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk gave me all the feels. It is very rare to see friendship break-ups be the main plot in books. so I have been anxious to read about the one between main character Cleo and her ex-best friend Layla since I first heard about it last year. Because as much as I've read about romantic breakups over the years, I'd had yet to read a book about breaking up with a best friend. And this one felt so realistic to me.

With the timeline moving between then and now, readers see the actions that led up to the inevitable demise of Cleo and Layla's friendship, as well as how Cleo is dealing with the fallout. Weaving through the background is a sub-plot showing the blossoming of a potential love thang between Cleo and the cute new guy Dom as well as a new friendship with Syndney and Willa, but I love that the friendship between Cleo and Layla is the main focus.

Woodfolk's beautiful writing within this book explored Cleo's innermost feelings so raw and realistically. Maybe she did crappy things that caused a rift in the relationship between her and her best friend, Layla. Perhaps Layla had gained the attention of a new crew and it made Cleo feel threatened. And maybe Cleo didn't always say or do the right things. But her feelings were valid throughout the story and I was able to sympathize with her because I've had a couple of bff breakups in my life as well. There's always miscommunications, unclear intentions, and boundaries we aren't even sure we're crossing until it's too late.

Woodfolk walks us through the story of Cleo and Layla's friendship in a way that many young adults will be able to relate to. While there were times I felt the pacing was slow, Woodfolk's three-dimensional characters who jumped off the page making themselves seen and felt more than made up it. I recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about the downside of friendship and what happens when best friendships fall apart and fail us.

Major thanks to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for the ARC of When You Were Everything in exchange for an honest review.


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