Author: Amber Smith
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2016
Source: Received for review from publisher via Edelwiess
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
I think the first thing to address with this book is the subject. It's about a girl who was raped. If you can't handle reading about that subject, this story is not for you. But you probably already gathered that from the description. I've noticed there are quite a few books out there these days revolving around a young girl who has been raped. I almost passed on this one, but I had a personal reason for reading it.
Last year I was catching up with an old friend. There were a group of us back in the day who all hung out together, but we've all drifted apart over the years. This particular friend, had a best friend who was also a part of our group. These two guys were inseparable. They no longer talk. You see, one of them got married and had kids. He has a young daughter now. Because of this, his two younger sisters told him the ugly truth that went on while they were all growing up. They had kept their silence all those years, but came out with what happened to protect their niece from the same thing happening. That friend told me how horrible he feels, all these years never knowing... and now his sisters are still dealing with the aftermath, that they haven't even begun to heal. I found out about all of this, and then a couple weeks later I saw this book on Edelweiss. I just had to read it.
I almost didn't add that to my review, but I felt it was important to how I connected with this story, because it's true. "The Way I Used to Be." Who would those girls be today had all of that not happened? Who would Eden be.
The Way I Used to Be is told in 4 sections. Every year of high school. I loved that, because you gradually see how she changes. How it eats up at her. I think there is a right way and a wrong way to write a book about rape. Smith got it right I think.
There is no sugar coating here, but it's told in a way that gives little hope. It's sad, don't get me wrong but I wasn't overly depressed when I sat it down, like I have in the past with other rape books. It's a heart wrenching tale, but a good one. It's one of those books I will want my daughter to read.
Oh and the cover. While it's gorgeous, it is also significant to the story. I love when they do that. It makes me giddy in the most nerdiest ways.
I highly suggest The Way I Used to Be. I absolutely loved it and it will stick with me for a long time.
About the author:
Amber Smith grew up in Buffalo, NY and now lives in Charlotte, NC with her two dogs.
After graduating from art school with a BFA in Painting, she earned her MA in Art History. When she’s not writing, she is working as a curator and art consultant. She has also written on the topics of art history and modern and contemporary art. The Way I Used to Be is her first novel.
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