The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith | Book ReviewThe Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 7, 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Girls & Women, Social Themes, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sexual Abuse, Violence
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781481449366
Goodreads
four-stars

A New York Times bestseller.
In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel “is a poignant book that realistically looks at the lasting effects of trauma on love, relationships, and life” (School Library Journal, starred review).
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 provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it 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 broken and rebuilt, all while learning to embrace the power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith is a hard hitting, emotional contemporary young adult book. I kick myself a little bit for how long it has sat on my shelf, because although it was a difficult read, it was excellent. As it turns out, I ended up picking up this book after seeing a non-book internet friend from college post about it on her Facebook stories. It was kind of a jolt and a good reminder that I have this book and really did need to read it rather than let it languish. I am so glad I did.

Eden was always a good girl. She is a freshman in band, joins clubs and gets good grades. As The Way I Used To Be opens, we can see that all of this changes. The catalyst for the change is when Eden is raped by her brother’s best friend Kevin while her brother and Kevin are home from college. Kevin tells Eden no one will believe her and if she does end up telling, he will kill her.

So, Eden keeps what happens a secret. She’s dying for someone to ask her what is wrong but no one does. The book goes from Eden’s freshman year, all the way through her senior year, and we, the reader, see the impact of the trauma on Eden.

So, I’ve been in the non-profit, mental health field for years. And so, I came to The Way I Used To Be with a trauma informed lens as I read. Let me tell you, this book is a difficult read. What happens to Eden is horrific. And she acts out of that trauma. Her choices aren’t exactly the best. But, if you think about it, she feels that she is worthless, ugly and terrible.

Eden acts recklessly and dangerously but you can see why as you read. It’s her way of coping, particularly because she doesn’t really have healthy coping skills. I will also say that the ending felt really cathartic and I am glad for the resolution. This book is painful, yes, but also honest, poignant, and worthwhile.


four-stars
The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Leave a Comment

*

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: