The Way I Used to Be By Amber Smith

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year-this probed reveals the deep cuts of drama. But also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broke and rebuilt, all while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

***

I thought The Way I Used to Be was an eye opening story. It made me realize how stuffing things can really contribute to someone’s character. What I didn’t like was that the terrible thing that happens to the main character really slaps the reader in the beginning. I think allowing the reader to know the character better first would have made the reader a little more emotional.

This book should be read only by people mature enough to handle it. I would recommend it to young adults willing to understand why people do what they do. This book can be pretty intense at some points even after the beginning. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who can’t handle dark themes.

For anyone who has been through sexual harassment I would strongly recommend this book for you. It will let you know that you are not alone and on the last few pages the author gives a site and a phone number you can call if you have ever experienced something similar to what the main character experienced in the book. Which I put at the bottom of this blog post.

Another book that has a character that’s been put in a similar situation is I Like Him, He Likes Her . It not only has a High School setting, but one of the main character’s close friends has a back story that’s about the same as the character in The Way I Used to Be. 

So what did you think about this book? Let me know in the comments below!!

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: rainn.org

RAINN hotline:1-800-656-HOPE

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