Book Review: When You Were Everything


When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk ~ 400 pages ~ to be published 3/10/2020 by Delacorte Press


Goodreads Synopsis:

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 after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding new 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.


What I Thought:

*I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

I was a big fan of Ashley Woodfolk’s first book, The Beauty That Remains, so I had pretty high hopes for When You Were Everything. I am happy to say that my hopes were realized 🙂 This was a great contemporary novel about friendship and learning who you are. There aren’t that many YA books out there that center on friendship rather than romantic relationships, so this was a huge breath of fresh air.

The main character of this story, Cleo, was wonderfully complex. There were moments I really liked her, and moments that I was incredibly frustrated with her. She had such a big heart, but she was also quick to anger. She loved Layla, but she was also kind of jealous of her too. She wanted people to love her, but she also didn’t want to tell them what she needed or wanted. I think she reminded me of me a little too much for comfort, which is probably why she frustrated me at times. 😂

If you have ever had a friendship that went awry, either for reasons you can’t quite determine or that you really, really can, this book will hit home for you. Friendships, especially in our formative years, have a huge impact on who we become as a person. When a friendship that you cherish changes and/or ends, it can be really difficult to deal with. I feel like this book encapsulates that struggle perfectly.

As far as the other relationships in the book go, I really loved seeing Cleo’s friendship with both Sydney and Willa develop. They came into her life at just the right moment. Sometimes making new friends can be weirdly difficult, but if you let them in it can be beautiful; I feel like this was illustrated perfectly in this trio’s friendship. Also, Dom is such a great book boyfriend! He has his flaws, but so does Cleo. They both acknowledge their flaws and their communication is on point, which is also somewhat rare in YA.

There are so many other things I could talk about, but I don’t want to ramble on for forever. Suffice it to say, this is a great book about friendship, both losing an old friend and making new ones.

Here are a couple of quotes that I loved from this book:

“I will choose them everyday that they choose me back, and I’ll be the best friend that I can.”

“Somehow I am a girl who makes all the wrong choices, but I am also a girl who aches in every way to be wanted despite my mistakes.” 


My Rating:


I gave When You Were Everything 4 STARS!

Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below! 

Ashley Woodfolk’s Website

Ashley Woodfolk’s Twitter

When You Were Everything on Goodreads

Pre-order When You Were Everything on

Are you interested in reading this book? Did you read Woodfolk’s first book, The Beauty That Remains? (If you are interested, here is my review of her first book!) Let’s talk in the comments! 


Love and happy reading,

5 thoughts on “Book Review: When You Were Everything

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