When You Were Everything

Ashley Woodfolk

fiction contemporary young adult
emotional hopeful sad medium-paced

400 pages | first published 2020

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.

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summary of 160 ratings (see reviews)

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emotional 84%
reflective 76%
sad 38%
hopeful 34%
challenging 19%
tense 15%
inspiring 11%
lighthearted 7%
dark 3%
funny 3%


medium 74%
slow 14%
fast 11%

Plot- or character-driven?

Character: 100%

Strong character development?

Yes: 88% | It's complicated: 8% | No: 4%

Loveable characters?

It's complicated: 48% | Yes: 36% | No: 12% | N/A: 4%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 100%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 100%

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