The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith Review

🌟🌟🌟 Maybe/Hopeful Stars

Eden was always good at being good. Band geek. Book nerd. Starting high school didn’t change that.

But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s whole world capsizes. What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she believed was the truth, now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she’s never felt so alone in her life. 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.

There are no other character developments. Her relationships with her family and friends are one-dimensional and those characters all blend into the background. There are a fair number of loose ends and some plot threads that could have been better developed.

We see Edy proceed on a downward spiral towards sex, drugs and self-hatred. The novel’s major selling point is that it looks at the aftereffects of rape over four years.

“All these maybes swimming around in my head make me think that ‘maybe’ could just be another word for hope.” 

**The author’s resource note at the end and include the free hotline for the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network: 1-800-656-HOPE. If you need someone, please know help is available and confidential.**