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 sixteen-year-old girl's friend breakup through two concurrent timelines--ultimately proving that even endings can lead to new beginnings.
"Stunning." --Nic Stone, bestselling 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 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 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
Ever since she and her best friend stopped speaking, Cleo has felt "haunted" by the past. Things started going wrong sophomore year, when Layla, who stutters except when she's singing, auditioned for chorus. The glossy girls in chorus don't think much of dreamy, Shakespeare-loving, decidedly casual Cleo, and as the girls grow apart, they both behave badly, exchanging harsh words and spreading tit-for-tat rumors. Woodfolk (The Beauty That Remains) depicts an inclusive group of teenagers (Cleo is black, Layla is Bengali, other key characters are black, white, and Asian) with complicated lives: Cleo's parents are splitting up; there's a cute, smart new guy in school she might like; she gets stuck tutoring Layla; and making and trusting new friends is a challenge. The richly detailed first-person narration moves back and forth in time, opening with Cleo's realization that she has to start living in the present. It's a satisfying coming-of-age friendship story, with Cleo learning to stop seeing people as all good (her father, past Layla) or all bad (her mother, current Layla), and that change can be exhilarating rather than disastrous. Ages 14 up.