Reviews for When we were them (J/Book)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A high school senior on the eve of graduation recalls what unraveled the relationship between her and her two best friends. In San Diego, California, Willa, Luz, and Britton are inseparable. Or, at least, they were, until Willa committed an act of betrayal so extreme that their once-tight friendship is on thin ice. Now, faced with an ultimatum to reveal to her friends the full story of her betrayal, she finds she doesn’t even know who she is without them. She uses a box of memorabilia from their shared history to spark her memories, diving into the past and discovering why she was compelled to do what she did. Most of the novel revolves around Willa’s revealing to readers exactly what this act was and giving it context, starting in the girls’ freshman year and ending in their senior year, when the transgression occurs. Together the friends navigate crushes, grief, trauma, and more. Namey’s prose is lyrical and tender, authentic in its portrayal of late teen angst and growth. The mystery of Willa’s unexplained deception will be enough to guide many readers through a slower middle—and an effective, emotional ending makes it all worth it. Luz is Cuban American; Willa and Britton read as White. An intimate portrait of friendship at the cusp of adulthood. (Fiction. 12-18) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.