Cover Reveal: When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk

Happy National Best Friend Day! Join us in celebrating by revealing the cover to Ashley Woodfolk’s sophomore novel, When You Were Everything. Woodfolk’s 2018 debut, The Beauty That Remains, was a gripping story about three bandmates who suffer loss. Together they share their grief and their music. Zoraida Córdova chats with Woodfolk about friendship breakups, hopeful endings, and how she’s celebrating National Best Friend’s Day! 

One of the things Ashley Woodfolk exceeds at is writing with compassion and honesty. She goes for the gut-punch. All we’re saying is that her books should come with a box of tissues. But where there is hurt, there is also beauty and hope and love. Woodfolk takes you on an emotional journey that leaves you with all the feels. As much as her words break your heart, they also mend you back together. One thing is for sure, there need to be more novels that center around best friends. Thankfully, Ashley Woodfolk has us covered.
When You Were Everything is about a best friend break-up. Yes, I know it’s Best Friend Day. That’s exactly why we’re sharing this today. No matter the length of a friendship. Whether it’s a single summer, an entire childhood, or the senior year before college: those relationships change you. Even when they implode, which is the case for Cleo and Layla. The book poses the idea that “you can’t rewrite the past, but you can always choose to start again.” 

It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship ended. That’s a long time to go without the person you thought was your bestie. What are you supposed to do after that? Cleo would love nothing more than to erase Layla from her life. Every memory no matter how good or bad. Those memories bind her to Layla and she doesn’t want that anymore. The only wrench in that plan is that Cleo is assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Still, she tried to move on in other ways. But neither the new friendships or her new crush can erase Cleo’s past with Layla.

Alternating between timelines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love.

B&N Teen: Tell us about the cover. What did you want to make sure was captured for this BFF novel? 
AW: Cover artist Bex Glendining was on the right track from the very beginning. When You Were Everything is a friendship breakup story, but we all wanted to make sure the cover was hopeful despite the implied hurt that comes along with friendships ending.
The first sketch Bex sent showed Layla and Cleo as friends in a series of vignettes that ended with Layla walking away from Cleo. But I wanted a final image of Cleo standing on her own to show that the dissolution of the friendship was real and painful, but also that she was still standing.
Bex revised the vignettes, and Angela Carlino, the designer, picked the gorgeous teal background color and the perfect lettering for the title. I couldn’t be happier with where it ended up.
 
B&N Teen: We certainly agree. Now, today is National Best Friends Day! How would your main characters celebrate? 
AW: When You Were Everything is told in two timelines: Then and Now. In the “Now” sections, the reader knows Cleo and Layla aren’t friends anymore but it’s a little unclear why. In the “Then” sections the reader finds out what happened to them little by little. So, if this was Then, Cleo and Layla would probably go for giant milkshakes or have a sleepover. If it was Now, they’d be celebrating with their new friends… Layla would probably be at a concert, and Cleo would more than likely be shopping for lipstick.
B&N Teen: What do you want to see more in BFF stories in YA? 
AW: Just more BFF stories, in general, would be nice. I think contemporary YA so often is pigeon-holed into romance (though in most YAs the romance is almost always secondary… and When You Were Everything definitely has a secondary romance. I can’t wait for you all to meet Dom *heart eyes Emoji*) but friendship is so massively important when you’re a teen. Hell, when you’re an adult too. No one can make your life sing like a best friend, but they’re also the people who know how best to hurt you.
Female friendships especially can be so complicated and beautiful, fraught but amazingly rewarding. I want to read more YA about that: girls who love each other but who are still figuring out what being a good friend means (while simultaneously figuring out who they are).
B&N Teen: Anything you want to include about your sophomore novel? 
AW: If you’ve ever lost a friend, I wrote this for you. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever written, but I’m incredibly proud of it. I hope you all like it. ❤️
We’re sure we’re going to love it. When You Were Everything hits shelves on March 10, 2020.
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