Review: We Used To Be Friends, Amy Spalding

There are no spoilers in this review.

We Used To Be Friends, Amy Spalding

Publishing on January 7th, 2020 by Amulet.
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Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. Funny, honest, and full of heart, We Used to Be Friends tells of the pains of growing up and growing apart.

 

I ENJOYED…

☂️

 

  • I’ve been waiting for FOREVER for YA books centered on friendships and especially friendships break-ups, and ESPECIALLY friendship break-ups between best friends. I’m just so so, so happy this book exists, both on an universal level, because aside from all the romances and family relationships, we need to explore friendships and their complexities, and on a personal level, because…. having gone through friendships break-ups, it’s, aouch.
  • I really loved the unique way this story is told: two POV, one going forward and one going backwards, allows us to see the growth and gradual, painful changes in Kat and James’ relationship as they go through their last high school year.
  • I loved both main characters.
    • My preference went out to James, because I could relate to her a whole lot. I have to say this: she doesn’t drink and THANK YOU finally a character that doesn’t drink or want to drink any alcohol and it’s OKAY. We need these storylines too thank you very much. James is organized and likes having a plan and she’s thoughtful and also kind of in her own head a little too much and I could relate to her, a lot.
    • Kat was a great main character, too, even if I wasn’t as into her as I loved James. Kat is more exuberant, dramatic, she’s the popular girl, though she’s kind of hiding her grief behind this facade. One thing I liked about her was her journey with finding herself and her sexuality, too. I also loved seeing her grow as the story went on and take responsibility for the mistakes she makes, too.
  • My favorite thing about We Used To Be Friends is definitely the focus on friendship. Despite the presence and exploration of other relationships, both romantic and familial, the focus is on Kat and James’ relationship as it changes. As, with the passage of time, new people entering their lives, personal things going in between them, secrets and distance… they grow apart. It’s slowly heartbreaking, made stronger by the back and forth storytelling, the ups and downs in their relationship.

I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…

☂️

  • The only little drawback in We Used To Be Friends, is also, paradoxally, one of its strength: the way the story is told. We have Kat’s story, going forward from September to August of their senior year. We have James’ story, going backwards from August, to September of their senior year. The storylines perfectly complete each other, but I found myself being a bit confused as to when everything happened and going back often to the chapters’ headline to replace myself in the girls’ relationships.

OVERALL

☂️

If you’re looking for a book focused on friendships and friendship break-ups, We Used to Be Friends is a must read and one I know I’ll be recommending for years. With its strong storytelling and great main characters, it captures how heartbreaking the slow, growing-apart-part of relationships can be, yet how, sometimes, it’s also a part of our lives, too.

Final rating:  4,5 drops!

A million thanks to Abrams Books UK / Abrams & Chronicles Books YA UK for the ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

Trigger warnings: loss of a parent and grief, cheating, drinking.

Diversity: bisexual main character, lesbian main character, POC side character.

Did you read We Used To Be Friends? Do you want to?

Do you know any other books with a great focus on friendships? Let me know in comments!

 

 

 

 

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

34 thoughts on “Review: We Used To Be Friends, Amy Spalding

  1. I’m hoping to read this one for F/F Feb so I was keen to hear your thoughts on it and I’m really glad you liked it! You mentioned that one of the MCs is a lesbian, but is there an F/F relationship (I just want to double check for F/F Feb)? (If this is spoilery, feel free to DM me instead of putting it on here!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh I hope you’ll get to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! 😀
      There is an f/f relationship indeed yes! 😀 I hope you’ll love it ❤
      thank you! ❤

      Like

  2. This is a great review! I have definitely have gone through my fair share of friend breakups, and they have been a major memories in my life. Like you said, I don’t know why people don’t really concentrate on them in books, so I’m glad you found us a book you love that is predominantly revolving around friend breakups! Great review Marie xx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you Melina, I’m so happy you enjoyed my review ❤ Friendship breakups are so, so painful, yet they're a part of our lives too and I'm happy to see more stories featuring them 🙂
      Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that there are more books coming out that focus more on friendship relationships and not just romantic ones. I know that my biggest (and well, only, at the moment) breakups have been with friends, and it’s tough! Plus, I don’t drink and I never have wanted to, so yay for a character that feels the same. 🙂

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    Like

    1. Agree, I love it so, so much as well. Friendships break-ups are terrible and I appreciate more stories dealing with this, too 🙂 and yay! this makes me happy to hear. I’ve been looking for characters that don’t drink as well, so I was happy about that 🙂
      thank you!! ❤

      Like

  4. I loved your review! 😀 💞 I finished this book last night and I really enjoyed it too! Okay, I thought I was the only one who had a hard time following along with the timeline! There were moments where I was, wait when is this happening, that took me out of the story a bit, but as you mentioned I loved everything else! The whole seeing the friendship slowly dissolve was so relatable to me because that exact thing happened to me in high school!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I’m so happy you felt the same way about this book! It’s such a good read, and despite the confusion at times, I just loved seeing the friendship between the girls grow and change with time, too. It was so relatable, too. ❤
      Thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ahh, I recently started this one and ADORE the premise about friendships falling apart! However, Kat seems a bit 2-dimensional to me and not like a real person…and I really agree about the dual timelines being confusing. 😉

    This was a great review and I can’t wait to finish this novel so that I can see what I thought! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree that there should be more books focusing on friendships (even though I looove romance too). This book sounds good! I’m really looking forward to read it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I absolutely and completely agree – we NEED more books centered on friendships!!!!! The premise of this one intrigued me as soon as it popped onto my Twitter, so I’m really glad to see you review it and to see that you enjoyed it so much 🥺 Also, I had no idea that we had a diverse cast so now I’m EVEN MORE EXCITED to pick it up, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?? We need these books so damn much, friendships are so central to our lives and we should have tons of YA books with friendships being so central to it all 🙂
      I can’t wait for you to read this book! ❤
      Thank you so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this book so much! I felt the same way – it’s wonderful to have a book so focused on friendship, especially about how hard it is to drift apart from a friend that you thought would be in your life forever. I thought Amy Spalding did an incredible job with showing that loss and heartbreak. And yes, the format was pretty confusing to me, though I think once I got used to it I appreciated it even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so, so happy you enjoyed this book too ❤ I agree, once I got used to the fomat it was really good and in the end, a brilliant way to show the growth in the girls' relationship. Such a good book 🙂

      Like

  9. I am a fan of interesting story structures, and this one worked well for me. I liked having that glimpse into the future and reconstructing the situation using both timelines. I also was more partial to James, but it was because my heart went out to her. Her world was unraveling, while Kat’s was moving forward in a positive direction. I shed quite a few tears for these two.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Eep, I’m so glad you ended up loving it because I adore We Used To Be Friends! I agree, it’s about time we get a book on friendship break-ups and characters who don’t drink and it’s okay! I did have some trouble with the timeline too because it confused me but I ended up giving it 4.5 stars too 🙂

    Oh and this was the BOTM for Read the Rainbow, a queer books spotlight on my blog and I recently had a discussion revolving around it on my blog so do check it out if you get the time. Love your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AH YES I’m so glad you liked this one, too, it’s such a fantastic read! We need way more stories like this one, focusing on friendships and their importance, too. ❤
      AH this is so great, I'll have to check it out as soon as I can! 🙂
      Thank you so, so much, Charvi! ❤

      Like

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