The Way I Used to Be
Books | Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Emotions & Feelings
New York Times bestseller! In the tradition of Speak, Amber Smith's extraordinary debut novel “is a heart-twisting, but ultimately hopeful, exploration of how pain can lead to strength” (The Boston Globe).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.
Coming Of Age
Simon and Schuster
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"It’s hard to explain the feelings I had while reading this book. To sum it up, a girls personal rape story. Unable to put it down, I stayed up way past my bedtime needing to finish this book. Listening was somewhat unbearable as Eden’s life spirals out of control based upon such a horrendous experience so many have had. I highly recommend this book!"
"This is a story is about Eden, your typical girl-next-door in high school that is learning how one action can have a big impact on your whole life. When Eden is assaulted by her brothers best friend, she struggles to come to terms with what happened to her. She doesn’t feel as if there is anyone she can confide in with this news. The book dives right into what someone that has been sexually assaulted would feel; denial, anger, fear, depression, and shame. Eden realizes that this assault has sent her into a spiral where she doesn’t even know who she is anymore. Eden’s story is divided into four sections, which follow her through each of her four years in high school. As you read through each chapter, you get a firsthand look at how the aftermath of the assault is affecting her life as a whole. Freshman year where you begin Eden’s story, and the time of the assault.. Eden begins to go through the first stages of trauma, denial, and anger. She initially wakes up after the assault and is trying to place the incident, questioning if it was a dream. Once she realizes that she wasn’t waking up from a nightmare, she starts to start building upon anger. She starts to notice she’s changed since the incident; holding grudges against her best friend, feeling extreme annoyance towards new people, she even lashes out at her parents. Sophomore year is when Eden decides she’s going to be a different person. She’s made the conscious effort to not be invisible, meaning she’s completely changed her appearance to defect how she’s actually feeling inside. Ditching her glasses for contacts, wearing makeup, changing her clothing styles, and trading some of her “less popular friends” for others who are more popular are just some of the changes Eden has decided will help her plan to transform herself. She meets a new guy, who could potentially help her trust men again, that is if she lets him past her walls. Will she let her anger and her need to appear unbothered get in the way of her being with someone who actually cares for her, or will she accept her true self once again and allow herself happiness? Junior year rolls around and Eden has become a different version of herself completely. It’s actually really hard to read how much she’s changed and how hard she is trying to prove to everyone else (including herself) that even the shell of who she used to be is no longer there. She has this cold outlook towards her peers and friends. It’s concerning how little she cares about the consequences of any of her actions, even when her friends voice concern. I thought this book would show Eden’s progress through each of the stages of trauma as she entered her later years in school. That’s what we’d hope for her right? That she would find her way to acceptance and rediscover who she is again? If that’s what you’re searching for, this is not the story for you. This story is very real in the sense that not everybody gets the happy ending they deserve. Not everyone is able to pull themselves out of the hole they dug themself in. “𝘐’𝘮 𝘴𝘰 𝘧𝘢𝘳 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘸, 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘐 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩. 𝘉𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦, 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘺, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘧𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘻𝘻𝘺-𝘩𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥, 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘦-𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘥, 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘵-𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥-𝘴𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘨𝘪𝘳𝘭. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘪𝘨 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘩𝘶𝘨𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦. 𝘐𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘨𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘸, 𝘪𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘥.” Finally as we reach Senior year, there’s another shift in Eden’s story. The one person who’s been a constant in her story is now, otherwise preoccupied. Although Eden hasn’t always been open and honest with her best friend, she’s always been there when she’s needed to clear her head- until now. Relationships and morals start to push their way between Eden and Mara, and it’s really hard to was Eden spiral even further, given everything she’s already gone through. She consistently makes rash decisions, which makes it hard to feel bad for her character at times, but on the same side of the token, some events in your life really do affect you in a way you can’t reverse. Is it possible that Eden could push away every single person in her life in the span of 3 years? What does this do to a person? But then something happens and the wound is ripped open once again and Eden has to face the event again, head on. She recalls every detail of the adult and as readers, we get a pretty detailed description this time around of everything she remembers about what Kevin did to her years ago. She’s faced with a choice to make, to speak up about her trauma and try to move past it, or keep it up and keep going through the motions, trying not to explode. Can Eden come to terms with her past in order to allow herself at a future, or will she continue to burn every bridge she crosses? Though the book didn’t hold my attention as much as I would she liked, I do think it shed light on topics that need to be discussed. This story reminded me that people are not as black and white as they may seem. Just because someone is exhibiting a particular behavior that is frowned upon, how often do we really know the reason behind the action? A lot of us, myself included, jump to conclusions and assume that they are just making bad decisions. However, it doesn’t really cross our minds that something could be driving these behaviors, such as a toxic home life or an abusive relationship. This book is a constant reminder that we can only see what others allow us to see."
"⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Obvious trigger warning, rape. Sad story and I was rooting for Eden the whole story to find her voice and speak up about what happened to her. It was sad to see her sabotage so many relationships and different aspects of her life and how all encompassing her trauma was. It was so unfair. Good read. "
"Told throughout the different stages of her teenage life, this story brought an immense sense of real/raw emotion. The author was able to create the best possible narrative of the moments throughout the story. As the reader, you were able to understand, envision and FEEL the rollercoaster of emotions. At times I wanted to close the book, throw it but during these times , it’s when you felt the characters heartache, confusion, hurt and more hurt.. the most. I think this novel was steady throughout. Not leaving any questions unanswered (as the story wasn’t about the repercussions ‘per say’) but rather about Eden her decisions/choices. Definitely a good read. 8.5/10 ⭐️"
"I don’t even know how to behind reviewing this book. It took me back to high school and honestly made me rethink everyone I encountered during that time. The way this book really made me think yet kept me turning the pages quickly is an intricate balance. Read the TW and then I’d you’re comfortable read this book! "