Book Reviews

Review: When We Were Them by Laura Taylor Namey

When We Were Them is an emotionally gripping story. We are quickly taken on an adventure of forgiveness, betrayal, and friendship. It’s emotional to see the cracks within our friendships forming before we even see them. Keep reading this book review to see my full thoughts.


When they were fifteen, Willa, Luz, and Britton’s friendship was everything.

When they were sixteen, they stood by each other no matter what.

When they were seventeen, they went through the worst.

And when they were eighteen, Willa ruined it all.

Now, it’s the week of graduation, and Willa is left with only a memory box filled with symbols of the friendship she destroyed: A book of pranks. Corsages from a nightmarish homecoming. A greasy pizza menu. Greeting cards with words that mean the world… It’s enough to make Willa wonder how anything could tear her, Luz, and Britton apart. But as Willa revisits the moments when she and her friends leaned on each other, she can’t avoid the moments they leaned so hard their friendship began to crack.

As Willa tries to find a way back to Luz and Britton, she must confront the why of her betrayal, and answer a question she never saw coming: Who is she without them?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I was completely absorbed while reading When We Were Them. Full of flashbacks, Namey tell a story of reflection, of earthquakes forming below our feet, and wounds that may never heal. At the beginning while we don’t know exactly what happened, Namey takes us on an emotional journey of all the straws breaking. All those moments you never bothered to write down but which end up being pebbles on a mountainside. And then when we find out what happened, I legit gasped aloud.

When We Were Them is a gripping story which begins at the end, going back to the beginning to see if we can make amends. Throughout When We Were Them, we witness pieces coming together in slow motion which combine to form this examination of loss and friendship. All these layers of memories and betrayals, of moments we cannot forget before we even notice the cracks. Because while When We Were Them is a story about friendship which comes alive in striking color, it’s also about self-discovery and forgiveness.

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Willa is a character who blooms in front of you. Who will capture you with her vulnerability, love, and mistakes. She is so relatable as she struggles to figure out what went wrong and whether she can fix it. As she sees her friends with their plans and directions, while also wondering where her future will take her. Not to mention each of the side characters were phenomenal with t heir pains, loves, joys, and quirks. When We Were Them is so deeply rooted in character and tension.

It’s a book which will keep you hooked on the tension and mystery, while also weaving a book about loss and forgiveness. Find When We Were Them on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite book about a friendship group breaking up? I also love When We Were Infinite!

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