The Way I Used to Be.

Title: The way I used to Be

Author: Amber Smith

Published: March 22nd, 2016

Pages: 385

Genre: Young Adult Novel & Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Listened to on Overdrive


Goodreads Description: 

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

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, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart. Wreath(13)-Black


This past week was rough and I think that it can be attributed to this book. I am glad I read it to gain exposure into this type of realist fiction, but it was draining. I felt anger for Eden and for the way her life played out. I know other reviewers have felt the same. The subject -sexual assault- was what drove the plot of TWIUB. Something I have learned after immersing myself in many books of this genre is  we can’t judge someone’s journey of recovery from sexual assault.

Things I enjoyed about this book: 

My favorite part of this novel was that it followed the span of her entire high school career. It’s not often we get to watch a character develop through the years unless it’s a series. This book had a steady plot flow, I never felt like it was dragging and enjoyed the climax at the end. For the most part I was satisfied with the ending. I think it is important to write on these heavy subjects to show readers they don’t have to keep assault a secret, it’s okay to speak up. The book ended with a supportive message to it’s readers, to seek help if they need it.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

I did not enjoy what this book did to my mood. It was hard to feel happy because of down spiral that Eden experienced. I think that reflects me more than the authors product. And perhaps that is what she intended for the reader to feel, I felt somewhat of the pain Eden did as I lived through her eyes.



Amber Smith deserves 3 bird feathers for The Way I Used to Be. I didn’t have an overwhelming sense of love for this book but I also didn’t hate it. It was middle of the field. There came a point where I wanted to stop listening, but I wanted to see what happened to Eden. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone. Perhaps to those who are a little dark and twisty like me, but it was a book definitely written for a particular audience. If you do read it, read it with caution and let your significant other know you might be a little grumpy for awhile.

Parent’s Guide:

This book was full of F$^% bombs. I listened to the entire thing on headphones. It is defiantly one I would co-read and/or discuss with your teen. The books extensively about rape and is detailed. I think it is important to help our teens learn about these subjects but also help them digest it to a point where they can cope with in a healthy way. There also was a lot of use of cigarets, drugs, alcohol, and casual sex. I think I would wait for my child to be 16/17+ to read.



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