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About The Book

From New York Times bestselling author Laura Taylor Namey comes a “lyrical and tender, authentic” (Kirkus Reviews) novel about friendship and the bittersweetness of growing up and growing apart.

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?

About The Author

Photograph by J. Chang-Tablada

Laura Taylor Namey is the New York Times bestselling author of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, a Reese Witherspoon YA Book Club pick, as well as A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and HeartbreakWhen We Were Them, and The Library of Lost Things. A proud Cuban American, she can be found hunting for vintage treasures and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.

About The Reader

Why We Love It

“There are plenty of books about romantic breakups, but few capture the devastation of friendship breakup quite as well as When We Were Them. BFFs are supposed to be forever, after all—so what happens when forever isn’t as long as you thought it would be? And what do you do when the end of forever is all your fault? Laura Taylor Namey beautifully portrays the bittersweetness of growing up and growing apart as readers are left questioning, What did Willa do?”

—Alex B., Editor, on When We Were Them

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (November 16, 2021)
  • Runtime: 10 hours and 27 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797134376
  • Grades: 7 and up
  • Ages: 12 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

"With an urgency that takes listeners into her confidence, narrator Gail Shalan captures the anguish of Willa as she recounts the events leading to a break in her once tight friendship with Luz and Britton. Performing a braided narrative of past and present that spirals toward the crucial moment of betrayal that Willa regrets, Shalan deftly shifts between characters, building drama in this story centered on the meaning of loyalty among friends. Against the backdrop of San Diego, the author’s lyrical language wraps around the novel as Willa experiences trauma, loss, and grief, and ultimately confronts the choices she has made. Shalan’s authentic narration takes listeners on an intimate journey with Willa as she grows to the edge of adulthood."

– AudioFile Magazine

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