The Way I Used to Be

The Way I Used to Be

Book - 2016
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Starting high school didn't change who Eden was. But the night her brother's best friend rapes her, Eden's world capsizes. What Eden once loved-- who she once loved-- she now hates. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she's supposed to tell someone what happened but she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be. As she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence and heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, Eden must learn to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.
Publisher: New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781481449359
Characteristics: 367 pages ; 22 cm


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Mar 04, 2020

Wow! I could not put this down, and unfortunately had to for the night. I was thinking about it all day and when I got home I couldn't wait to dive into it again. I definitely cried 4 different times and then cried after because I wanted more and it was finished. I would love to see a sequel to this. Highly recommend!

kansa5gurl Aug 04, 2019

having been molested by a family member, this book described perfectly the variety of issues that take place after. like eden, mine happened before I was sexually active so I related well to the not telling anyone because of how the perpetrator is perceived and the family ties. then again, being confused and agonized over the feelings of a willing sexual discovery. there is no victim blaming too, which was lovely, and instead it focused on how it changes who you are and how you "heal" after an event like this. all the love to amber smith for this book

Aug 01, 2019

Probably the most frustrating books I've ever read. When the story was realistic, I felt engaged. However, when it was written like a regular coming-of-age teen novel, the plot just didn't flow well in my opinion. The hardest part is trying to understand the protagonist's perspective. Her experience is unfortunately one many others relate to.

That said, I believe Amber Smith wrapped up the story well. The ending was conclusive and satisfying.

Jun 04, 2019


Jun 24, 2016

This was a tough book to read. It's one that focuses on rape, consent, and how rape transforms someone. Eden, our heroine, spends a lot of this novel in self-reflection, transforming into a young woman who has had her world changed in a way in which she had no control. She becomes someone so drastically different after she is raped, and she is coming to terms with who she once was and who she has become.

The writing in this novel is absolutely stunning, and it makes for strong, absorbing storytelling. While I didn't necessarily love the way in which it went through her four years of high school, it did grow on me as I read on. Sometimes it felt like time was moving crazy slow, other moments quick as lightning. It makes for a difficult yet unique approach to storytelling -- how one event can make someone feel so polarized about themselves, and that's a lot of what I felt the author was exploring.

I really loved Eden and her friendship with Mara. I loved watching their transformations go in completely different directions and yet they still were very bound to their friendship. In a lot of ways I felt like they were constantly rescuing each other from so much that has happened. The way in which their friendship was portrayed left me with a lot of thinking when I was finished the novel. There's a lot of growth in Eden, and you see how complicated and complex she becomes as a character, and it's shows so well in this story. I loved growing along side Eden.

This is a very challenging novel to read and I think it asks readers to look at difficult issues through different gazes. It asks people to understand that events can transform people for better or worse, and I feel like that is The Way I Used to Be's strong suit. This novel is beautiful as it is smart, and it definitely has the power to spark some real good conversation.


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