I read A LOT of YA, particularly books that focus on friendship, and I have never read a book quite like this one. The story focuses on two girls - James (yes, she knows it’s a boy’s name) and Kat. The girls have been best friends since Kindergarten. Now it’s their senior year and the drift is beginning. Will their friendship survive high school? If you look at the title again, you can probably figure out the answer to that question.
In many ways, We Used to be Friends is typical Contemporary YA - romances, break-ups, college apps, Prom, family issues, etc. But this book is different in two major ways - with dual POVs and opposite timelines, the story focuses on the dissolution of a friendship. I love the publisher’s catchphrase, “Best friends know each other backward and forward.” James’ POV begins with August after Senior year and goes backward. Kat’s POV begins with September of Senior year and goes forward. The reader experiences the highs and lows of the friendship at different times and it is FASCINATING. The competing timelines provide a different way of showing readers both sides of the story. In most YA if a friendship ends, it’s due to some kind of drama. That is not the case in this one, the friendship’s dissolution is much more natural and realistic, a culmination of little things over time. It’s an important read. Friendships end. And IT IS OKAY. I’m excited to put this in the hands of every Senior I know.
I highly recommend listening to this one. Narrators Julia Whalen and Cassandra Morris PERFECTLY capture James and Kat’s personalities.
I had so much fun recreating this book cover with two Seniors from the school where O'Daniels and I are librarians!