When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk Advance Readers Copy (ARC)

When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk Advance Readers Copy (ARC)

“An incredibly personal and emotional story about friendship, loss, and love.”

Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink

The Story

Cleo and Layla have been friends since middle school.  A bond made from the love of music and during a time where Cleo’s deepest sorrow, a void inside she thought seemed impossible to fill after the death of her grandmother.

But it’s their sophomore year of High School and Cleo and Layla’s friendship unravels over the course of the year to nothing resembling friendship at all.

My Thoughts

In the Author’s note, Ashley Woodfolk mentioned how difficult this book was to write.  She noted it wasn’t only the challenge of writing a second novel, but the subject matter the second novel would shape into as well. 

And you can feel it in the writing.  That it’s personal.  It’s painful like a thick splinter puncturing the skin driven in deep where it becomes difficult to remove without scars.  It was as though Woodfolk took the sharp edged pieces of her own story of lost friendships and aligned those pieces perfectly with Cleo’s and Layla’s.

There were so many aspects of this novel that will have readers feeling, recalling and understanding Cleo’s story.  From her ruined friendship to her own family falling apart, readers will instinctively be able to recognize the myriad of feelings packed into this novel like a gut wrenching punch.

Friendships can be tricky.  There’s no roadmap or instructions on how to navigate the people we take into our inner circle.  And sometimes, friendships are not always rooted in fertile soil.  What is at times so agonizingly painful, yet so familiar is how Cleo comes to these crucial realizations that over the course of a friendship, people can change without us really knowing it until it’s too late.  Even though one friendship is left in ruins, it doesn’t mean that there is no hope in finding new ones.

This book is a rare dark beauty that has no qualms of showing the ugly, unwanted, and earth shattering truths of ourselves and the people we once called friends.

Happy Reading  ̴  Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blotink blot – Exceptionally Inked

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: May, 2020

Pages: 400

ISBN-10:  1524715913

ISBN-13:  9781524715915

Audience: Young Adult; ages 14 and up

Jacket Art: TK

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