The Way I Used To Be

Finished The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 book will absolutely break your heart.  Reading this as an adult was a horrible experience because I just wanted to hug Eden and at the same time shake her because she kept making these horrible decisions.  (And of course I completely understood it, but it’s like, “TELL SOMEONE.  IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS AWFUL.”)

At the same time though, it was so gratifying watching Eden start to grow as a person and begin to make better choices.  And there’s so much hope by the end of the novel.  (I mention this because I know sometimes people don’t read books like this because they’re so upsetting…I disagree with that, of course, but that’s why so many books come out every week, right?)

I especially love the way this is told over the course of high school.  A lot of times, rape stories tend to focus on the immediate aftermath and this one shows the way that it can reverberate for years—especially if it’s not dealt with.

Anyway.  This is an amazing novel that will break you and fix you.  Highly recommended.

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