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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Nina LaCour's We Are Okay and Adam Silvera's History Is All You Left Me, this heartfelt and ultimately uplifting novel follows one 16-year-old girl's friend breakup through two concurrent timelines - ultimately proving that even endings can lead to new beginnings.

"Stunning." (Nic Stone, best-selling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out)

You can't rewrite the past, but you can always choose to start again.

It's been 27 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 after she's assigned to be Layla's tutor. Despite budding friendships with other classmates - and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom - Cleo's turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

Alternating between time lines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love.

"Breathtakingly beautiful.... Woodfolk has a way of making words sing and burst with light." (Tiffany D. Jackson, award-winning author of Monday's Not Coming and Let Me Hear a Rhyme)

©2020 Ashley Woodfolk (P)2020 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"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." (Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always)

"A stunning story that speaks to the deeply human need to love and be loved in myriad ways—and to the power we each wield over those closest to us." (Nic Stone, New York Times best-selling author of Dear Martin and Jackpot)

"A deeply nuanced portrait of friendship, growth and the intolerable discomfort of change, When You Were Everything may be a story about a fight but it’s one where you find yourself on everybody’s side. This is a heady, heart-squelching book. I loved it." (Mary H.K. Choi, New York Times best-selling author of Emergency Contact and Permanent Record)

What listeners say about When You Were Everything

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  • Reggie Hayter
  • 22-04-21

Must read

Don’t sleep on this book. It was so beautiful and heart-breaking. I’ve never felt so connected with a character. Lovely story

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  • Britt Lee
  • 05-06-20

Loved it!!

This was a well written often story about things that truly happen sometimes in friendships

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-08-20

SO glad I'm out of high school XD

I have a lot of feelings for this book <3

When You Were Everything is the story of two teenagers who grow apart, who were everything to each other until they weren't. It's about the ugliness of being a teenager at high school with gossip-y bullies. It's about making new memories and finding new joy. It's about the pains of growing up and realising no one in your life is as perfect as you made them out to be in your head.

It was also beautifully nostalgic for me. My BFF and I fought when we were around the same age, and I thought we would never be friends again. (As it turned out, we missed each other too much and were okay eventually, but that took years apart.) So, this book had a lot of emotions and realisations I felt on a personal level.

It shows that it's perfectly normal for the friends you make at school to not stay your friends forever, and that it's okay to move on, make new friends, and be okay again when everything else falls apart. For that reason alone, I think every teenager should read this. Yes, it sucks in the moment and it will probably suck for a while, but it's temporary.

It also reminded me how glad I am to be out of high school o.o (not that I needed reminding *ahem*)

It does read like it's perfect for a younger audience, entirely because there's a LOT of teen drama and 'you ruined my life!' going on. I expected as much from the blurb and didn't mark it down for that (can't really punish a book for doing what it promised on the cover). I did enjoy it overall, but there were moments where I didn't care as much as I did in other moments *shrugs*

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-21

Absolutely breathtaking!

Wow. This was one hell of a read. My favourite book of 2021 so far.

Break-ups aren't always romantic. Break-ups with friends you've had for years can be equally (if not more) painful, and it definitely does not get talked about enough. Growing apart from friends when you're a teenager is extremely painful and there's no how-to guide on how you're meant to get through it. I just hope there's a sixteen year old out there that finds this book when they need it, because reading this would have made me feel a lot less lonely when I was a teenager.

Cleo and Layla have been best friends for as long as they can remember. There's never one without the other. Then one day everything changes between them and there's no going back. Hurtful things are said that just can't be forgotten. Cleo makes it her mission to revisit the places in which she has made fond memories with Layla and attempts to make new memories in order to forget her - but life's never that easy, is it?

This book made me feel so many emotions so very deeply. I'll never forget this story, ever. I just wish I had this book when I was sixteen.