Thursday, March 3, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is March 22, 2016.

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.

Wow. It is rare that a book leaves me completely speechless, but this book has done exactly that. At fourteen years old, Eden is raped by her brother's best friend. The book starts with the assault and then the book is divided into freshman year sophomore year, junior year and senior year so we can see how this trauma shapes Eden and how she struggles every day to recover.

It's hard to put into words just how much Eden's voice affected me. I felt so much while reading this: anger, sadness, regret, shame. Everything that Eden was feeling, I felt. I wanted her to speak up so badly, but I completely understood why she didn't. Eden's rape also came at a time in her life when she was supposed to be innocent. She had not even had her first kiss yet and then she was traumatized by someone she thought she could trust. Because of the trauma, Eden lashes out at everyone. She even feels anger towards her parents and brother for what happened. I hated that she did it, but at the same time, the author was so convincing with Eden's POV that I got angry at them at one point. But no, these are not the absentee parents that are so common in YA literature. No, these parents are PRESENT and you can tell they love Eden. The problem is that Eden lashes out so much and just changes so completely that they have no idea what to do. They are trying their best though.

Eden also starts acting out sexually. She also starts "dating" Josh, but she wants to keep it casual. I absolutely loved Josh. He had no idea about the depth of Eden's issues, but he was extremely kind and patient anyway. I was afraid that this would be one of those books where a man's love saves a girl from trauma. That is not what happened here and I could not be happier about that. Eden does a lot in this book that I don't necessarily agree with, but I still loved her because I could understand why she felt the need to do what she did. It was really hard watching Eden's family and friends be so confused about Eden's behavior and her distance and not have any idea what was happening. I did see a lot of growth from Eden, but she had to hit rock bottom to get there.

This was such a powerful and emotional book. If you read this one, prepare yourself for all the feels. Also prepare yourself to become so engrossed with the story that you lose all track of time and can't concentrate on anything else until you finish it.


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one! 

14 comments :

  1. Yes!! So excited to see you loved this. This was one of the books I picked on a giveaway I won. Now I am super excited to get it. I love books that are difficult and deal with the difficult stuff well and give me all the feels. Great review!

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    1. That's awesome Grace! Congrats for winning this book. I just know you will love it.

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  2. I added this to my goodreads list recently as it does sound really good!!

    http://thebestbasicblogger.blogspot.com/2016/03/coloring-corner-4.html

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  3. OKAY. I NEED IT. It sounds entirely perfectly written and I already feel so horribly sad for Eden. Omg. Also character development is my favourite, and this sounds like it really has some! GOOD. *dashes for goodreads*

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    1. Cait, YES you need it!!! I know you will love it!

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  4. Oh, wow! Adding it tout de suite! Thanks for the rec, Cynthia :)

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    1. No problem, Ramona. I hope you love it!

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  5. Only looking at your rating for now, because I am currently reading this! I shall read the whole review as soon as I am done- but I am excited!! (And kind of scared, because this one is sad so far!)

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    1. Oh I am so glad you are reading this and I can't wait to read your thoughts. Eden broke my heart! I hope you love this one too.

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  6. Oh wow, this sounds like SUCH a powerful book and just your review is making me shiver. I ought to read more contemporary so I am absolutely adding this to the TBR!

    Thank you for dropping by The Devil Orders Takeout!

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    1. Awesome Alyssa! I just know you will love it!

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  7. Yayyyyyy!!! I'm so happy to see how much you enjoyed this one!! It sounds fantastic!! I plan to start the audio next week, and now I'm so excited for it!!! :)

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I have a feeling the audio will be amazing. I can't wait to read your thoughts on it!

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