Saturday 11 January 2020

Review: We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding

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.

Review: I loved the premise of this book, I really don't think that enough books focus on what happens when you stop being friends with someone. This book also deals with that tricky time when you leave high school and move onto further education. It can be such an odd time with people moving all over the country and friendships and relationships being tested and so I am pleased there is finally a book covering this topic. 

Kat and James are great characters to get to know over the course of this novel. They have each other as friends, or not as the case may be but they are totally full characters in their own rights with their own issues with relationships and family and issues surrounding their all important college applications.  James is a very closed off person, I would have liked t get to know her more as  reader but I understand that this was a character choice on the part of the author. I love the fact that we have LGBTQ+ representation in our main characters as well. 

This books is structured as a dual narrative with James's storyline working backwards and Kat's storyline working forwards so it can be a little tough to get your head into a different time frame with each chapter. I would probably say that this book is best enjoyed in its physical form so that you could flick back and forth and remind yourself of what was happening to the other character during that time, this was harder to do with an audio. I am a massive fan of a dual narrative though and I like the fact that we get to see how one thing affects the other friend in the way that this book is structured. 

I did feel like this book dragged at times. I enjoyed what was happening in the plot and with the characters 100% of the time but I'm not a fan of long chapters or leaving a book before I get to the end of a chapter but I had to do that with this book because each chapter is pretty lengthy. That is one thing that I would change about his novel, I think it could have read slightly quicker with slightly shorter chapters. I really like the subject matter, the character and the way it is structured though and it was definitely and enjoyable read. 

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