We Used to Be Friends

We Used to Be Friends

A Novel

Book - 2020
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Two best friends grow up--and grow apart--in this innovative contemporary YA novel

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.
Publisher: New York : Amulet Books, 2020.
ISBN: 9781419738661
Branch Call Number: YA FIC Spald
Characteristics: 362 pages


From Library Staff

James and Kat used to be friends, and this novel explores the long and complicated history of their friendship. While there are many novels that discuss the end of a romantic relationship, there are few that discuss one of the most important relationships you could have: friendship. ---Topic: los... Read More »

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SAPL_Teens Aug 22, 2020

James and Kat used to be friends. The two girls had been inseparable since kindergarten, but during their senior year everything seemed to go wrong. James is keeping secrets while Kat is falling in love and they slowly begin to drift apart.
We Used to be Friends is told in alternating perspectives; Kat’s perspective goes forwards, while James’ perspective moves backwards. The alternating perspectives are sometimes difficult to keep track of, but overall, this book is well worth the effort to keep the timelines straight. Getting to read both Kat and James’ perspective on events is particularly interesting (and heartbreaking!) as it allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about how this friendship breaks down.

This book is very introspective and thoughtful, but the pace can feel a bit slow at times. The book can also feel a bit repetitive, as James and Kat spend a lot of time thinking about the same events - but the reader must read it twice.

Overall, this is a sweet and sensitive book about a friendship breakup and how growing up can sometimes mean growing apart, even from our closest friends. If you enjoy reading introspective and realistic fiction give We Used to be Friends a try. 3.5/5 stars - SAPL Teen Read It & Review Contributor

May 26, 2020

The characters in this book are both so unlikable (especially Kat), and the ending leaves the reader entirely unsatisfied. Also the language is very confusing (likes and ums everywhere even outside of dialogue). Would not recommend.

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