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A Heartbreaking Fight for Control

*This is a book review of The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith.

TRIGGER WARNING: This entire book revolves around a high school freshman girl getting raped.


Quick Facts

Author: Amber Smith
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Main Character: Eden
Number of Pages: 367
SJ Rating: 98%


The Synopsis

Eden entered high school like your typical good girl—one best friend, involved in several clubs, hidden behind a pair of glasses. However, all of that changes the night her older brother’s best friend rapes her. As she deals with the trauma through her high school years, the Eden everyone once knew is no more.


The Good

We get right into the story in the most heartbreaking way; I was getting a little nauseous. By page three, I was in tears. Amber Smith wasted no time. As painful as this book is to read, it is written beautifully.

Eden becomes a machine of hatred and anger as the book progresses, and through the hatred, I see Eden’s strength.

The way the author portrays Eden using her body as a weapon, as though it’s not her own because of what Kevin (the rapist) did, comes through in the most heartbreakingly beautiful way. Like, when she uses her body as leverage to buy cigarettes and beer while being underage.

The similes are on point, such as bringing in an Etch-A-Sketch for someone erasing an image/words from their mind.

This is another book that takes digs at Christopher Columbus, and I am here for it. Given the context of the book, it makes sense for Columbus to be brought up. I still think it’s messed up the American education system tried to paint him as a hero.

I quite literally could not put this book down. It does a fantastic job of ripping you to shreds and involuntarily making your eyes turn into waterfalls.

The Bad

N/A

The Overall

This book is so well-written, from the confusion and hatred Eden experiences post-assault to the way Josh fights through his confusion to continue to pine after Eden.

This is the kind of book you read with high school kids and have guided discussion questions. It is a very necessary read. It does a phenomenal job of showing how trauma affects the decisions we make, the people we become, the people we hurt.


Next book to be read and reviewed: The Way I Am Now by Amber Smith


“‘I hate that just because you happen to be good at something, people automatically think that’s what makes you happy, but it’s not really like that, you know?'”

– Joshua

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