The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Trigger Warning: Rape, Drug Use, Alcohol Use

“Maybe He’ll get what he deserves. Maybe Not. Maybe I’ll never find it in my heart to forgive him. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that,either. All those maybes swimming around my head make me think that “maybe” could just be another word for hope.”

The Way I Used To Be is a bold,beautifully written story that follows a fourteen year old named Eden. One night when she was asleep in her bed, she was rapped by her brother’s best friend, she was unable to fight him off or scream for help because she was so scared. After the incident she is forced to have breakfast in the morning with her family and her rapist.

This story is told over the course of Eden’s four years of high school, and how this trauma has changed her and affected her life.

“All you have to do is act like you’re normal and okay, and people start treating you that way.”

At the beginning of Freshman year she was a quiet girl in band, who had good grades. She often went to the library because of an incident at school, she felt that it was the only place she was safe.

Sophomore year: Eden meets a boy,Josh Miller, she ends up developing feelings for him. But she’s scared of getting to attached to him, to let herself be vulnerable.Eden never reveals anything personal, as she tries to keep herself from forming real connections.

Junior Year: Eden is so far gone from the sweet innocent girl that she once was. She is known as the tough girl, and she sleeps around giving her the label of a whore. You can really see how the trauma has changed her in this section of the book.

Senior Year: Eden tries to pretend to be a badass, the girl who smokes and drinks,gets into fights with her parents and who no longer cares about her friends.The ending I was slightly disappointed in, I wanted more for Eden than what she got. My heart absolutely went out to her, I really wish I could have reach in and gave her the hug she truly needed.

“Life just goes, just happens, continuing as always. Normal. And I can’t shake the knowledge that life will just keep on happening, regardless if I wake up or not.”

While reading the hard bits were tough and I got quite emotional at times, I really enjoyed the book.

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