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The Way I Used to Be

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  27,957 ratings  ·  3,837 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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Kristle Schroeder It had me right off the bat. It pulled me in so much that I had to force myself to put it down

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  27,957 ratings  ·  3,837 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
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
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
Lucy Tonks
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
“I hate that just because you happen to be good at something,people automatically think that's what makes you happy,but it's not really like that, you know? It's not that simple.”

This book was honesly heartwrentching. I didn't cry, but my heart definitely broke for Eden. This book is not happy and what we see of Eden, her high school years are aything but happy.

TW: rape

The Way I Used To Be is a debut novel that shares the story of Eden who struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an
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
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.
jaime ⭐️
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
2021 reads: book 12/75

this book was so incredibly heartbreaking. eden's entire journey was something that will sit with me for a very long time. no one talk to me.


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
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
Bryce Rocks My Socks
**trigger warning**

i didn't want to read this book. i read to escape my life. i want to read about perfect boys who would never hurt anyone and perfect worlds where these boys exist and strong girls with powers that no one could ever hurt. i dont want to read about horrors ive lived through because that's not why i read. i knew this would be triggering for me so i didnt read it.

but i did today i dont know why i just kinda forced myself to do it because havent it on my shelf felt just as trigger
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5 stars

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

this book shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault. eden's whole life changes the night her brother's best friend rapes her. told over the course of four years, we get to see how eden cope's with her trauma and grows as a person.

overall thoughts:
uh this book ripped my heart out but i loved every second of it. i do

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
Kelly Gillan
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves
haven’t read a book in one sitting in a while but i just couldn’t put this down. wow. i am sobbing
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Re-read! Still just as impactful as before
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, acknowled
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 ☁️✨ (hiatus due to college)
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
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
5 stars

Reread 14/10/2020 - This book completely broke me just as it did the first time, if not even more. I cried so, so much. Eden's story is so important and reading it was a reminder of how many people go through such a similar, traumatic situation on a daily basis and that just makes my heart hurt so much.

First read 14/10/2018 - This was such a heart-breaking and eye-opening story and overall an amazing book. I'm planning on writing a detailed review on my thoughts but I'm not sure when be
tay (taylor reads)
Jul 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
“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.”

this book!!!!!😭💔
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
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
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
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA Fiction: Girl gets sexually assaulted by brother's friend. [s] 4 32 May 14, 2021 07:34PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Page count correction - The Way I Used to Be 5 16 Jan 28, 2019 05:23PM  
The Way I Used to Be 1 14 Dec 14, 2018 07:50AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith - starting May 1st 27 23 May 12, 2018 12:46PM  
Our Shared Shelf: This topic has been closed to new comments. YA book? The way I used to be 2 105 Jan 03, 2017 08:06AM  
Ending 10 193 Dec 06, 2016 04:38PM  

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Amber Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of young adult and middle novels, including The Way I Used to Be, The Last to Let Go, Something Like Gravity, and her forthcoming middle grade debut, Code Name: Serendipity. She has also contributed to the YA anthology, Our Stories, Our Voices, edited by Amy Reed. An advocate for mental health, gendered violence, and LGBTQ equality, Amber writes ...more

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