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The Way I Used to Be

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  20,036 ratings  ·  3,016 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 385 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  20,036 ratings  ·  3,016 reviews

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Emily May
I seem to be in the minority on this one.

There are many thoughts running around in my head about this book and it's hard to decide how to write a review without sounding completely insensitive. If this were a real life account of a rape survivor, then things would be different. Every survivor has their own story to tell, each equally valid, and they don't owe anyone an interesting, convincing account of it. Fiction, though, is a little bit different.

I've read many books about teenage girls who w
Emma Giordano
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
I feel as if the best way to describe this book is the unforgettable experience I had listening to the last 3 hours of the audiobook at 1:30 in the morning in the pitch dark while bawling my eyes out and completely unable to breathe. It was THAT amazing.

CW: rape *graphic* (Additionally, there is quite a lot of -consensual- sex and substance use throughout the novel)

The Way I Used To Be is a fantastic portrayal of trauma. I cannot remember the last time I had such an intense, emotional response t
Wendy Darling
A single act can change your life forever. In Eden's case, the five minutes in which she was raped send her into a spiral of desperation and despair, so that there are times when she doesn't even recognize herself anymore.

This book is divided into four sections, each one following a different school year. Freshman year, which shows the crime and immediate aftermath, is the most well-written one. While the pages kept turning because I wanted to find out what happened to Eden, the later sections
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
❝As the girl closes her eyes, she was thinking of him. Thinking that maybe he was thinking of her, too. But he wasn't thinking of her in that way. He was holding her in the palm of his hand, wrapping her around his fingers, one at a time, twisting and molding and bending her brain.❞

Rating: 4/5 ✩

“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 bei
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from Amazon Vine.

Old pre-review that somehow got 41 likes: (view spoiler)
Laurie Flynn
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It’s not often that I’m at a loss for words, because, well, I’m a writer, and usually I have too many words for any given situation. But after finishing this book, my heart was pounding and I couldn’t find words big enough to describe how brilliant, beautiful, and powerful it is. Those words just don’t seem to do it justice. None do.

Amber Smith’s talent is immense. Her writing is searing, raw, courageous, deep. Her words cut, pound, take away your air supply, make you realize you’re not breathi
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I had a hard time rating this book. I decided on three starts which still means I liked the book. I just really had a hard time with this one. I hate what Edy had to go through as a 14-year-old child. It was hard to read, it always is, it's hard to go through, it always is for the innocent one. I just really had a hard time with her not telling her mom right then, when she walked in the door that morning. So many of these kids are afraid to say anything, they don't think anyone will believe them ...more
A brutally honest YA novel about the lasting effects of trauma. 14 year-old, Eden wakes up in the middle of the night to find her brother's best friend, Kevin raping her. A powerful and unflinching novel from start to finish. First-time author, Amber Smith doesn't try to sugarcoat how the aftermath of being sexually assaulted changes Eden psychologically, physically, and emotionally. This novel unfolds in 4 separate sections as we follow Eden though her freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior in ...more
alana ♡
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I don't know who I am right now. But I know who I'm not. And I like that.”

tw: rape (graphic), sexual assault, substance abuse

This is one of those instances where I truly and wholeheartedly believe five stars does not do this book justice. This book, my God, this book fucking hurts. I wanted to scream and cry while listening to the audiobook of this because it's so dark and honest - it holds nothing back and it makes you feel so damn much within the 385 pages.

The Way I Used to Be is a story abou
K. Elizabeth

Unlike my other book reviews, I had to give myself some time to figure out a proper rating with this one. Normally, as soon as I finish reading, I know exactly what I’m going to rate the novel. Not with this one. This one was trickier, for many reasons.

The first three chapters (or so) of The Way I Used To Be hooked my unlike any YA novel I’ve read. To begin the novel at Eden’s rape scene was shattering — but also gripping, because I was waiting for her to tell someone what’d happened (after a
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did and what a welcome surprise this is.
I’m so freaking glad this book exists.

"You're drunk, Edy. You're really drunk and that guy was trying to take advantage of you! You're lucky I came in when I did," he says, dead serious, as if getting taken advantage of would be the worst thing that could happen, as if that wasn't something that happens to girls on a daily basis.

Powerful writing that sucks you in? Yes.
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you think, like i thought, that this is a book about getting over being raped, you are wrong. Because how could anyone ever get over it? They don't, they just continue living with it. That's what this book is about. It's about the ugliness that comes after. The depression and anxiety and mostly emptiness. The desire to control emotions and feel something you didn't have control over. I don't know where exactly my tears began and when they stopped because this wasn't a beautiful book. It w

As the girl closes her eyes, she was thinking of him. Thinking that maybe he was thinking of her, too. But he wasn't thinking of her in that way. He was holding her in the palm of his hand, wrapping her around his fingers, one at a time, twisting and molding and bending her brain.

The Way I Used to Be was a book that sickened me. It's been a long time since I have felt physically sick during a book and sat there, for the most part. screaming at the main character to te
Initial reaction: Man, this book hit my heart in so many places. It's a read that definitely hurts and has many angles that hit well on its subject matter, but it's not without flaws. In my full review, I hope I can expand on this.

Full review:

Amber Smith's "The Way I Used to Be" is an emotional experience; I can't say that there was a point that I had a dry eye upon finishing this book. One would expect something to that effect given the difficult subject matter of the book, centering on a young
enqi ☁️✨
The Way I Used to Be was very difficult for me to rate. I struggled between adequately appreciating the important themes and messages in the book, while pointing out its flaws without seeming insensitive. How to walk the thin line between constructive criticism and plain callousness for all the victims whose stories were told in this book? I ended up rating it three stars, which in Goodreads means I "liked it". Which I did. There were just some points which kept me from rating it 4 stars or abov ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I loved loved LOVED this book.

I read this book in one day because I fell in love with it real fast. I connected to Eden (the main character) almost instantly as I was absorbed into the book.

The topic, the character development, the writing and feelings were expertly executed. This is an astonishing contemporary that I would recommend to everyone.
This book does have some more mature topics, but topics I believe everyone should read about, acknowledge and learn about. There is a great deal to ex
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-5-star
So the story starts right off with the main character Eden getting raped at age 14 by her brother's best friend Kevin. He threatens to kill her so she doesn't tell anyone. The rest of the story is broken up into her freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school and shows how that trauma has affected her mindset, behavior, and mental state from keeping that secret for years.

(view spoiler)
Ellen Gail
The Way I Used to Be is perfectly readable, a solid 3 stars, despite a few quibbles.

There's been a trend in YA novels lately. With stories like, Firsts, What We Saw, and All the Rage, rape, rape culture, and teen sexuality are on the forefront. It's not unwelcome either. When in was in high school, four score and seven years and a lifetime ago, before iPhones and Snapchat and whatever these young whippersnappers these days have, sex wasn't discussed. Rape wasn't discussed. Slut-shaming wasn't a
Sharon ∞❥ is an emotional book junkie ❥∞
3.5-4 ★'s

I seriously do not know where or how I came across this book but the premise intrigued me so I thought I would give it a go. Let's just be clear here, this is not a romance. Not to say there isn't some sweet romance in the story but that's not the main theme.

The story is broken up into four parts...each one is a year in Eden's high school life and it begins with a really horrific event and her life will never be the same.

We get to see how she deals -or doesn't- with how the event impa
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book hooked me in from the very start and it was surprisingly really gripping too. When I was reading it, I felt like I was 100% in the story and so it was one of those books that completely sucked me in, I was just SO absorbed in the story. Reading about rape isn't easy and so this book is definitely not for everyone but I really enjoyed it. Of course reading the hard bits were tough and I got quite emotional at times because I just wanted to take away Eden's hurt but overall, I'm so glad ...more
WOW. That was some intense stuff.

The synopsis of this book gives you enough information to go into this knowing a few key things. The most important being, that a young and naive fourteen year old girl gets violently raped by her older brothers best friend. There's no build up to this violence. The book opens up while the rape is about to happen. From then on, this book tells the story of how Eden, the victim of such a brutal act, deals, or rather, doesn't deal with the cyclone that is her life.
Kali Wallace
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had a chance to read an ARC of Amber Smith's THE WAY I USED TO BE.

This is a beautiful, powerful book about the long-term affects of rape on a girl's life. Eden is a fantastic, realistic character, and watching her story unfold over four years is both painful and enthralling. That's four years of trauma and secrets, self-destruction and growth, fear and courage, lost trust and strained families, through friendships and relationships broken and reformed, all of it told as though we are right th
This was a hard one to read. Told from four years of one main character trying to live her life after she has been raped by her brother's best friend. Her downward spiral of becoming emotionless and distant was so heart-breaking to read. Other characters will react in different ways, and Edy's was a different one from what I've read. She starts to lead a more promiscuous lifestyle with drugs, and booze. Alienating her school work, her family, her friends. The moment she started referring to her ...more
Gabrielle (
There's a reason I rarely read books that deal with this type of subject matter. It pulls a visceral response from me, and it's hard to let go. Amber Smith writes a deeply emotional story that is both gut-wrenching and hopeful in its efforts to depict an experience and aftermath that unfortunately many young women face. Full review on ...more
Emerald Sue
“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.”
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real rating: 4.5/5 stars!
Quick thoughts before I forget:
- Trigger warnings: excessive use of the f-word; rape; sexual scenes
- Main character is incredibly similar to me; it's terrifying.
- Pacing is wonderful.
- Reminds me of FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Dives right into the story, which I really liked.
- Terrified for/with her; felt so much emotion; even teared up at some parts.
- Incredibly sad, incredibly important.

EDIT: Full review found at Princessica of
Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book! All the feels! There were moments reading it when I felt Eden's pain/terror/regret/anger so strongly, it was like being right by her side. Her teenage experiences felt real and honest. In a way, this book was a window that allowed me to understand why teenagers act out about seemingly silly things--chores, for instance.

This book shares such an important message. That's it's never too late to change
The Way I Used To Be definitely took me on an emotional roller coaster ride that I didn't sign up for. It was such a rush to read and I instantly fell in love with the main character. I felt her pain throughout her struggles and I was sad when she was depressed and didn't know how to handle things in life anymore. Have some tissues near by when you read this book.. or something to punch when you meet the aggravating characters.

Eden definitely went through a lot in this book. Shit definitely hit
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
“All these maybes swimming around in my head make me think that 'maybe' could just be another word for hope."

ay caramba, i wish this book was required reading for schools everywhere. the story is so important and goes to show how quick we are to judge people.

the subject is extremely sensitive, so sensitive that i'm honestly scared to talk about it in fear of insulting / triggering someone. i'm struggling to put my thoughts into words. even though nothing like this has ever happened to me,
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It isn't a spoiler to say this is a book about an innocent young girl who is a victim of rape and is trying to make her interactions with friends/family/boys in the aftermath make sense. I did not want to read it. It might be a spoiler, but I was told there is an uplifting ending before I began. Then I fell in love with Edy/Eden so quickly and needed her to be okay so badly I read it straight through. Please please don't give up during the first few pages. If you do you won't make it to the end ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Page count correction - The Way I Used to Be 5 15 Jan 28, 2019 05:23PM  
The Way I Used to Be 1 10 Dec 14, 2018 07:50AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith - starting May 1st 27 22 May 12, 2018 12:46PM  
Our Shared Shelf: This topic has been closed to new comments. YA book? The way I used to be 2 103 Jan 03, 2017 08:06AM  
Ending 10 151 Dec 06, 2016 04:38PM  
Čteme anglicky: Letní čtení #8 - The Way I Used to Be 1 19 Sep 06, 2016 03:40AM  

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Amber Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels The Way I Used to Be, The Last to Let Go, and Something Like Gravity. An advocate for increased awareness of gendered violence, as well as LGBTQ equality, she writes in the hope that her books can help to foster change and spark dialogue surrounding these issues. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Charlo ...more

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