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The Way I Used to Be

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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 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 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.

385 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 22, 2016

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About the author

Amber Smith

10 books1,392 followers
Amber Smith is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels The Way I Used to Be, The Last to Let Go, Something Like Gravity, and The Way I Am Now. Along with her middle grade debut, Code Name: Serendipity, she has also contributed to the award-winning YA anthology, Our Stories, Our Voices. An advocate for mental health, gendered violence, and LGBTQ+ equality, Amber writes in the hope that her books can help to foster change and spark dialogue. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her wife and their ever-growing family of rescued dogs and cats. You can find her online at AmberSmithAuthor.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,298 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
March 28, 2016
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 were raped, from the classic Speak, to last year's harrowing tale of how a girl is let down by everyone around her - All the Rage, to the recent book about a girl with a strong support network - Exit, Pursued by a Bear. These books are incredibly important for fostering discussion about rape, its aftermath, and the way we treat rape victims. The Way I Used to Be, however, adds nothing but more paper to the pile.

It's about another white girl living in a white world, who is raped and proceeds 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 - freshman year, sophomore year, etc. - and yet this opportunity is wasted on a story lacking any real depth.

Though it promises a look at a rape survivor over time, it instead skips important plot points that shows the gradual downslide (like when Eden started calling her parents by their names and not "Mom" and "Dad"), preferring to skip to the angst.

Rose wrote a great positive review for this book and I just wanted to borrow her comparison to Ellen Hopkins. Hopkins is a much-loved author, but after liking one of her books, I soon started seeing them as torture porn. And I still think Hopkins's stories and characters do not have any depth, do not explore new areas or challenge you to think - they are one long misery ride through increasingly atrocious events (rape followed by drug abuse followed by their mom dying...). This book is a bit like that.

The Way I Used to Be is four years, 380 pages, of one unfortunate event after another. Eden is raped, her parents give her shit, her brother turns against her, she constantly freezes and break downs, her friends just don't get it, she starts sleeping around to distract herself, she gets called a slut and whore...

And here is where I risk sounding insensitive. Because how dare I suggest that Eden goes through too much negative shit? Shouldn't this book show the horrible reality? Yes! Absolutely, yes! It should. But a series of terrible events does not make a good book.

It honestly felt quite emotionless. Eden exists in a vacuum of her own thoughts (understandable, but it might have made a better third person story) and no other character is developed. Her relationships with her family and friends are one-dimensional and those characters all blend into the background.

I just don't think this book does anything new, or offers a different and interesting perspective. And, given that there are many rape survivor experiences out there still waiting to be told, it's a little disappointing to read this. Many books do what this book does... but better.

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Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
April 29, 2018
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 to a book, especially one that is not a part of a series that I had already been invested in. I wanted SO BADLY for Eden to tell someone what had happened to her, more than I think I have ever wanted a character to do ANYTHING. Eden’s story is raw, unflinching, emotional, powerful, and so so real. This book is not for the faint of heart – it is gritty and destructive, yet moving.

As this book is told over the course of four years (a bold choice for a standalone young adult contemporary novel), I thought it was executed fabulously. Eden’s voice and personality changes naturally across the four year span, transitioning from a young teenager to an almost adult woman. It was evident to me throughout the entire story that Eden was constantly growing despite having more development demanded in a shorter number of pages compared to many books, and I can only imagine how difficult that must be for an author to accomplish. I will say, this is not a very plot-heavy novel. The beginning starts off with a moment of HIGH intensity, but I found some parts of the middle of the novel to be less engaging up until the end of the story where I basically listened to the last 5 hours of the audiobook in almost one sitting. This is definitely a novel driven by characterization, which is not normally what I prefer, but it was done so well that I fell victim to it’s unwavering charm. I also really enjoyed the writing style of the novel. While there were certain moments where I was somewhat unimpressed, other scenes had me blown away by the prose.

Eden is a fascinating, wonderful character. I struggled so much with her in the beginning of the novel, but I feel she challenged me as a person due to this. She consistently hurts people who care for her, creates many more problems for herself, and makes so many horrible decisions as being raped begins to alter her perception of the world. I had such a difficult time loving her in the beginning because of all her harmful actions, but I had to keep reminding myself that this is an expression of trauma and while people must take responsibility for their actions, I should not pass such harsh judgement on someone who is responding to such a horrific event that will have changed her life forever. Eden’s characterization is so powerful and authentic, and her development is so well constructed throughout the story that I never could have expected to love her as much as I did by the conclusion of the novel. I am so appreciative to Eden for opening my eyes to an experience unique to her and many other survivors of sexual assault and her story is not one I will forget any time soon.

I feel as if I have so few words that truly encompass how remarkable this novel is. I feel changed by Eden’s story, it is one I will carry with me for an immensely long time. To my followers that love complex, dark, gritty contemporary novels, I cannot recommend this one enough.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,576 reviews33.9k followers
March 16, 2016
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 don't feel quite as satisfying or complete, either plot-wise or on an emotional level.

Still, I'd recommend this one because it effectively puts you into the immediacy of Eden's emotions--the pain, shame, and fear, as well as the feeling that you've been damaged beyond repair. And that you are unworthy, undeserving, and unlikely to ever be treated with respect and tenderness.

Whatever he thinks that I am, I'm not. And whatever he thinks my body is, it isn't. My body is a torture chamber. It's a fucking crime scene.

This story also touches on other important aspects of sexual violence: how it affects more than the people directly involved, how it changes the way you relate to everyone around you, and how it perpetuates until it is stopped. And perhaps most importantly, stories like these are a reminder that we rarely know what's happened in other people's lives, and what has driven them to drink, to sleep around, or to betray friendships. I hope boys especially are encouraged to read this, and that the book helps to reshape the dialogue about trying to understand--and being compassionate about--those around us, even if and especially when they're behaving in ways that are hard to understand. (Eden endures a shit ton of slut-shaming, both casual and threatening.) Anger, acting out, promiscuity, and changes in behavior are often triggered by traumatic events, and seeing the warning signs and trying to act upon them might help someone in desperate need of kindness.

Two last things:

1. While there were a fair number of loose ends and some plot threads that could have been better developed (I don't need everything tied up, btw, some aspects were just crying out to be further explored) I appreciated that the story does not end .

2. I'll echo 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.

3.5 stars Bumped up in stars because it's an important subject and portrays some things very well. It's not a perfect book, but it's well worth reading.
Profile Image for Bryce Rocks My Socks.
351 reviews538 followers
March 12, 2021
**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 triggering as it would to read it. so i read it. and whoa. it was intense and horrible to read in the kind of way that it physically hurt and i was shaking and crying and i wanted to throw up but i didn't stop reading.

i don't recommend this for anyone who could be triggered by it. it is by no means easy to read. but personally i think that for me reading this was healing. it helped me sort through my own stuff and put how i feel into words. it does not really have a happy ending but it ends in hope and sometimes that's the best ending we can hope for.
Profile Image for Huda.
169 reviews155 followers
April 14, 2023

A book that everyone should read once in their life

This is such a lovely novel, full of real, raw emotions that will make you cry, feel sorry for the characters, and feel for them.

--Thank you thank you Cara bby for reading this with me! God I'm so glad I reached out to you couldn't have done this without you. I always have so much fun reading with you.💖💖--

The lovely young lady gets raped by the best friend of his brother. Thirteen years old. How a brief period of time—just five minutes—can completely alter your personality and transform you into someone you never would have imagined becoming.

It deals with heavy topics. It discusses how a minor occurrence can cause a person to lose friends, stop communicating with their parents, grow distant from those they formerly viewed as close friends, and ultimately lose oneself in a profound black hole.

My heart was torn apart right from the first chapter! And as the story progressed, we gained insight into Edy's breakdown. She leaves her pals in the middle of life, gets drunk like there's no tomorrow, and sleeps with individuals to undo the effects that night's events had on her body and mind.

In the first few chapters I loved loved Edy my heart felt for her. But then I just felt pity to look that Eden, she was completely transformed into this person who dealt with things other way and I did not liked that at all. I get her and why she did those things.😭

“I feel these forbidden thoughts creep in sometimes without warning. Slow thoughts that always start quietly, like whispers you're not even sure you're hearing. And then they get louder and louder until they become every sound in the entire world. Thoughts that can't be undone.
Would anyone care?
Would anyone even fucking notice?
What if one day I just wasn't here anymore?
What if one day it all just stopped?
What if? What if? What if?”

I definitely do not agree how she deals with her trauma, and how she lost herself in the process. I'm no person to judge her story whatsoever.

Joshua!!!! He is too good for her. TOO GOOD. When he entered her life, I had some hope that she might tell him something cz how he did actually opened to her and everything. She claims to be that "Heartless bitch" but she actually did him filthy and dirty. She literally uses that phrase in a very incorrect manner; I did not wanted her to unintentionally do harm to others.


“He's not the hero and he's not the enemy and he's not a god. He's just a boy. And I'm just a girl, a girl who needs to pick up her own pieces and put them back together herself.”

In the end the way he came again to save her 💔😖 i literally cried reading that. IT WAS TOO CUTE. Btw ik it would never NEVER happen in real life. 😪which made me cry even more

Mara, I don't feel conflicted about what she did; I thought it was okay. She repeatedly attempted to inquire as to what was wrong, advised her to seek assistance, and did so many other things! But when she had enough, she nearly left, which I understand. However, I did enjoy her. But she could've done things the other way.

-Things I disliked (reasons for 4 stars)-
-I wanted for her to tell somone just ANYONE. It frustrated me So. Many. Times. Like it would've made the whole book a bit more better and understanding. I get it how hard it can be how depressing it can be.

-The pacing in some parts of the books was too fast. We were robbed for many of the important scenes!

-In one part Eden says that Kevin's family moved they weren't moving they were running from something. I needed a bit more back story form that.

- in my opinion.

- How she survived for 300+ pages and it just took less than 20 pages for her to get better. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.

-The ending was NO I NEED ANOTHER ENDING!!!😭


“I can hear him breathing on the other side of the door,breathing oddly,like,unevenly. But,no,it's not him just breathing,I realize slowly. He's crying. And I kneel there on the other side of the door that might as well be the other side of the galaxy,feeling so empty,so dead inside.”


Overall, by illustrating the effects someone could experience after being raped, this book tackles a very difficult issue. It demonstrates how rape affects not just the victim but also those who are close to them.

Budding read with my beautiful girl Cara💜
Profile Image for Laurie Flynn.
Author 6 books1,078 followers
October 21, 2015
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 breathing. Eden’s story is not an easy one to read. After her brother’s best friend—someone she thought she trusted, someone she once thought she loved—rapes her, Eden buries the truth, along with the person she used to be. The whole time I was reading, it wasn’t like I was reading a character—it was like Eden was a real person. And in many ways, she is. She is a girl carrying around the weight of something horrible, something unimaginable, and trying desperately to show to the outside world that it never happened, that she simply doesn’t want to go back to the way that she used to be, not that she can’t go back. Eden’s hurt is palpable. It radiated off the pages and so many times, I wanted to hug her and tell her she’s worthy of love, she’s worthy of good things, that people will believe her if she tells them the truth. I thought, on so many occasions, how many girls we know in real life are carrying around truths they want to forget? How can we help them?

This book also deals with slut-shaming, which was handled in such a heartbreakingly true-to-life way. Nobody knew what Eden was going through, so they slapped labels on her, because it was easier that way. But in doing so, they made those labels something Eden could slip into, a way she could distance herself from the girl she used to be. People don’t realize that words not only cause permanent damage, but they can alter the course of a person’s life.

The fact that Eden’s story was told in four parts—one for each year of high school—allowed the reader to see that nothing goes away. Trauma and pain and anger and regret and sadness don’t just retreat to be buried by other feelings. They simmer right under the surface like a second pulse. What happened to Eden doesn’t fade as she gets older. It takes on new shapes, ones with sharp edges, ones that cut and flay and destroy any sense of confidence she might have had.

Stories like Eden’s need to be told. They need to be told more than once. Books like this need to exist. And stories like this, stories this sensitive and courageous and breathtaking, need to be told by authors as tremendously talented as Amber Smith, authors who aren’t afraid to channel all of the emotions, all of the devastation, authors who can be both fragile and bold.

By far one of the best books I’ve read this year. By far, one of the books I won’t stop thinking about.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,226 reviews391 followers
February 12, 2021
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:

Proper review:

I shouldn’t hate this book nearly as much as I do. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I empathize deeply with Eden’s post-rape trauma, especially because both of us suffered at the hands of our brother’s best friend. Beyond that, though? Things are so horribly handled and written that I cried in anger. Smith takes a premise that should promise a new narrative for rape survivors and does fuck-all with it by writing the same narrow, tropey story we’re tired of reading.

The problem is the overarching narrative, not Eden and her first-person point of view. By page 16, you’ll want to murder everyone around her and hold her in your arms like a child too precious for this cruel world. She’s in deep pain from beginning to end and rape survivors who responded with hypersexuality and rebellion in the aftermath will recognize themselves in her. Her story is valid.

All that said, what’s my issue? The other characters may be shallow and the pacing off, but that should be the end of it if Eden’s story is valid, right?

WRONG. All stories of survival, whether individual or group, are valid. But at the end of the day, Eden is a fictional character. Narratives like hers shape how real people think of and treat rape survivors and make people think “Oh, they must not really be a rape victim because _______” if they don’t act like Eden or countless other other fictional characters who survived rape. They reinforce misconceptions instead of bringing attention to the fact survivors react in more than just a handful of ways.

Few SA/A novels cover as wide a period of time as The Way I Used to Be does. Four years! Most novels will cover a few months of the aftermath or a year at the most. This extended timeline, however, goes to waste. Four years can span the time from crime to trial or from abuse to the beginning of healing, but Eden’s four years are one long downward spiral with significant events omitted. For instance, at some point between the end of her junior year and the start of her senior year, Eden begins referring to her parents by their names instead of Mom and Dad. Why? What did they do, if anything? What happened? There’s no worth in Smith’s premise of showing the long-term effects of rape if such turning-point moments in Eden’s life remain unwritten.

So even with the extended-timeline draw Smith fails to utilize to its full potential, this is just another forgettable SA/A novel that acts like responses other than fear or hypersexuality don’t happen. Survivors who didn’t react either way (like me) are yet again alienated and ignored in SA/A survival narratives. I can name three novels off the top of my head that follow all the same paths and hit all the same notes. It’s an unoriginal novel about an experience so varied writers should never run out of new narratives to introduce the world to. We are not tropes.

In short, nothing is wrong with Eden. Everything is wrong with this book. Skip The Way I Used to Be.
December 5, 2022

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I'm honestly kind of shocked that this was in the cruise ship library because it was as depressing as all get out and actually left me in a little bit of a funk. I have a hard time envisioning this as someone's beach read, you know? But that said, it was still an amazingly good read. The comparisons to SPEAK are on point, although I think it's a more mature work in some ways because of how morally ambiguous Eden is. It takes a lot of skill to make an unlikable heroine so sympathetic, and even though Eden does demonstrate a lot of toxic behaviors and can be quite cruel, you can definitely see where she's coming from.

When Eden was just fourteen, she was raped by her older brother's friend. He sneaked into her bed and told her he'd kill her if she told. After that, she's never quite the same. She can't tell anyone what happened, so she ends up internalizing it and trying to grab control wherever she can. She quits band, she starts acting like a control freak in her book club, and she starts changing her appearance. Then she starts hooking up with guys, becoming quite promiscuous. Almost like she's trying to play out what happened, but with full control.

The book is carved into four parts: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year. In these sections, Eden makes new friends and loses them, and complicates all of her relationships with her trauma. Because she never tells anyone what happened to her, people don't know why she's acting the way she does, and sometimes the effects are heartbreaking. I honestly had a tightness in my chest when I finished because I was so worried about the outcome, but it ended up being kind of bittersweet. That's why I think this is a book for older teens as opposed to younger ones: the heroine isn't as likable as heroines of other rape-focused books, like JUST LISTEN or SPEAK, and the morality isn't quite as clear-cut, nor is the ending quite as satisfying.

That said, I think books like these are very important because there really is no right way to be a victim, and even if you wear revealing clothes or sleep around, rape is still rape. Painting people as "ideal victims" contributes to rape culture and makes it easier to write off testimony. So I'm really glad that books like this exist, which explore what trauma looks like in more muddied waters. Bless the morbid and gloomy person who brought this book onto the cruise ship so that I could read it, too.

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Alana.
665 reviews1,269 followers
February 9, 2019
“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 about trauma and life after it. Eden is raped by her brother's long time best friend after he sneaks into her bedroom one night. Please be warned the description of the rape is extremely graphic and unsettling, but it made the story that much powerful and moving for the author to force reader's inside Eden's head during every single second of the few minutes that would change her life forever. I thought the rape would be the most devastating part of the story, yet I was GUTTED when Eden's mom walks in the next morning and finds Eden frantic and covered in blood but assumes it's because Eden got her period for the first time. I wanted to scream as Eden was unable to find her voice and tell her mom what happened because she was so terrified. However, this was only the beginning of what has easily become the most devastating story I've ever read.

Eden's story then goes on to follow her downward spiral from freshmen to senior year. Can I just say, if there are any fans of the movie Thirteen (a.k.a the best movie ever) out there you will LOVE this book. This had all the Thirteen vibes in terms of both girls downward spiral - just different circumstances surrounding the reasons for their spiral. She starts off with her usual friends, meets a boy and bases their entire relationship on lies to guard herself, and by senior year is completely self destructive to escape the trauma she still has told no one about. She's goes to parties to get intoxicated and pick up guys, has slept with 15 different guys by senior year, and calls her parents by their first names after basically disowning them. The four year time span of this story shows how far she's distanced herself from everyone who could possibly support her. To see how much Eden had changed from freshman year to senior was startling and at times made it difficult to like her, but it was executed so perfectly that it made this novel even more powerful.

*Mild spoilers for the ending ahead!

I've read some readers discuss how they didn't enjoy the ending of the book because it was too open-ended, and while I understand where they are coming from I also disagree. In instances like this, with such a heavy topic, I don't need closure, I just need hope. And that's exactly what this ending delivered. I'm lucky enough to have never been put in Eden's shoes but I don't think closure would help so much in this case. Eden coping with her trauma and her downward spiral is not something that would happen overnight, but as long as she is talking about it and working on coping in healthier ways than before I'm okay with that.

Favorite Quotes

“I don’t know a lot of things. I don’t know why I didn’t hear the door click. Why I didn’t lock the damn door to begin with. Or why it didn’t register that something was wrong, so mercilessy wrong when I felt the mattress shift under his weight. Why I didn’t scream when I opened my eyes and saw him crawling between my sheets. Or why I didn’t to try to fight him when I still stood a chance.”

“He's not the hero and he's not the enemy and he's not a god. He's just a boy. And I'm just a girl, a girl who needs to pick up her own pieces and put them back together herself.”

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

“I feel these forbidden thoughts creep in sometimes without warning. Slow thoughts that always start quietly, like whispers you're not even sure you're hearing. And then they get louder and louder until they become every sound in the entire world. Thoughts that can't be undone.
Would anyone care?
Would anyone even fucking notice?
What if one day I just wasn't here anymore?
What if one day it all just stopped?
What if? What if? What if?”

All in all, for a debut novel this was extraordinary and now one of my favorite books of all time. I'm so glad I decided to finally pick this book up. If you are a fan of Speak and Girl Made of Stars you absolutely need to add this book to your TBR!

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Profile Image for Hilly.
701 reviews1,266 followers
April 12, 2019
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.
Round main character with a strong personality? You got that.
Fucking crude reality exposed as it should always be? YES
Will you cry (and have permanent goosebumps) while reading this? Oh yeah.

He needed to make her feel worthless, needed to control her, needed to hurt her, needed to leave her powerless.
February 3, 2023
everyone in this book annoyed me. besides eden, she deserved so much better. josh was a king too. but everyone else… watch ur backs because i’ll be coming for u through paper🧍🏻‍♀️

this caused me a lot of pain and i wish we would’ve gotten a lot more of the ending but it’s a very important read.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,469 reviews9,632 followers
June 8, 2016
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. Especially if it's someone popular, someone in the family, a family friend, etc. But she had all of the evidence right there... right there..... I wanted to scream for her to call the cops and scream at her mom. Her parents were NOT very good to her, at least it seemed that way in the book. They weren't abusive, they just made Edy feel like her older brother was so much more important. It was the same way at school with Edy and bullies. Oh and how I loathe bullies too!




I don't know a lot of things. I don't know why I didn't hear the door click shut. Why I didn't lock the damn door to begin with. Or why it didn't register that something was wrong--so mercilessly wrong--when I felt the mattress shift under his weight. Why didn't I scream when I opened my eyes and saw him crawling between my sheets. Or why didn't I try to fight him when I still stood the chance.
I don't know how long I lay there afterward, telling myself: Squeeze your eyelids shut, try, just try to forget. Try to ignore all the things that didn't feel right, all the things that felt like they would never feel right again. Ignore the taste in your mouth, the sticky dampness of the sheets, the fire radiating through your thighs, the nauseating pain--this bulletlike thing that ripped through you and got lodged in your gut somehow. No, can't cry. Because there's nothing to cry about. Because it was just a dream, a bad dream--a nightmare. Not real. Not real. Not real. That's what I keep thinking: NotRealNotRealNotReal. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Like a mantra. Like a prayer.

Right after that Edy almost told her mom when she came into her room that morning, but her mom wouldn't shut her mouth for two seconds trying to hurry Edy to the breakfast table. To the table where her brother's friend Kevin sat eating and being loved by the family. Her mother ran around the room telling Edy that sometimes this happens with your period. Was she stupid? She had blood all over the sheets and her nightgown and bruises on her body and neck. I'm sorry, but I have never bled that bad all over everything to where it looked like a crime scene, but her mom was clueless. She couldn't see her child was sitting there in shock!

This brings us to the years of Edy's life in high school. The book takes us through each year, through the wonderful people she met and could have been or stayed friends with, nice boyfriends she could have had but she threw it all away. She started doing drugs, drinking and sleeping with a lot of boys with no feeling.

I hate all of this happened to Edy. If she would have only told when it happened, but we are not all the same. Some have to hide it, feel like they have to at any rate. Please don't hide this girls, call the cops, get it out. YOU WILL NEVER BE ALONE IN THIS FIGHT!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Eliza.
594 reviews1,375 followers
March 5, 2018

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 all, her mother came in soon after!). And did she? Of course not. There wouldn’t be a book if she had.

As the novel continues through Eden’s 4 years of high school, it subtly (and not so subtly) shows how the rape changed her forever. Now, obviously, anyone would be a different person after such a traumatic event. That being said, it doesn’t mean I have to like the changed person afterwards. My example being: Eden. I thought she was fine in the beginning, but the person she turned into was terrible and heartbreaking. I didn’t like her at all. Not only that, but alongside her terrible character, I noticed that some of the chapters were not nearly as good as the others—noticeably so.

Asides from Eden and the shifting chapters, a character I really enjoyed was Josh—even if I didn’t understand why he put up with Eden’s crap; though I guess that’s what love does to you. Still. He was a real sweetheart to her when no one else was. I mean, the way he agreed to meet up with Eden (after they’d been broken up for years), because she “needed to see him” was beyond me. No guy would do that nowadays, without at least some explanation (at least, I don’t think so). Then again, like my mom always tells me: “It’s not reality; you’re reading a book! Stop confusing the two!”

Overall, this novel tackles a very difficult subject matter by displaying the after-affects someone might go through after being raped. It shows how rape does not only effect the person raped, but that it also effects the people near to them, too.

So, even though I read through this book rather quickly, there were many things that bothered me: the writing, the oblivious parents, Eden, Mara, etc. Therefore, this was average—maybe even slightly below average—but because it is about a sensitive subject mater that many people don’t write about well, I will leave it as “average.”


I read the first chapter of this online and oh my gosh it grabbed my attention unlike anything else. I can't wait until I get this in 2 days.
Profile Image for Lucy Tonks.
488 reviews718 followers
June 5, 2021
“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 assault. Starting high school didn't change anything for Eden, she is still the good girl she ever was. But her world crashes down the night her brother's best friend rapes her in her own bedroom. Everything that was simle becomes complex. All that she loved, she now hates. Nothing makes sense anymore. She knows she should say something, but she can't, instead buring everything that has happened. And she buries the way she used to be.

We are witnessing Eden's life as she deals with everything that has happened. From the moment she was assaulted through her freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. This books doesn't hide anything. It tells everything as it is. It does not hide or romanticese our main character's trauma. We see Eden as she is. Broken and in all these 400 pages we are demonstrated how strong and how much strength she has.

I may have not agreed with the path that she took, but this is her story. This is how she's dealt with this traumatic event that has happened in her life. This person in her life who she has trusted for a very long time tried to take her strength away, but she fights. For the whole book Eden fights. She can never go back to the person she was. There were times where we can see her wanting to give up, not being able to navigate some of the unbearable pains of the teenage years, but she still couldn't give up.

“I feel these forbidden thoughts creep in sometimes without warning. Slow thoughts that always start quietly, like whispers you're not even sure you're hearing. And then they get louder and louder until they become every sound in the entire world. Thoughts that can't be undone.
Would anyone care?
Would anyone even fucking notice?
What if one day I just wasn't here anymore?
What if one day it all just stopped?
What if? What if? What if?”

I wish we got more to that ending. Everything happened then the book simply ended. We didn't really get to see what happened after. How Eden heals and starts opening up to more people. We don't really get to see any reconciliation between Eden and her parents or Eden and her friends. I just wish we got to see what the ending has brought and how it shaped the main character's life anew.

It's pretty hard talking about this. Not only it's a hardhitting book, but I don't feel like I am making it justice with my review. This book is amazing. There may be times when you feel like slapping Eden, but in the end your heart just breaks for her. She is this teenager doing her best to survive a world that continues to try and breal her.

“I don't know who I am right now. But I know who I'm not. And I like that.”
Profile Image for Theresa.
228 reviews140 followers
April 1, 2017
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 high school. "The Way I Used to Be" will leave you reeling. Have some tissues handy. This novel is like a sucker-punch to the gut and heart. Enjoy.

Opening line:

"I don't know a lot of things. I don't know why I didn't hear the door click shut. Why I didn't lock the damn door to begin with. Or why it didn't register that something was wrong - so mercilessly wrong - when I felt the mattress shift under his weight. Why I didn't scream when I opened my eyes and saw him crawling between my sheets. Or why I didn't try to fight him when I still stood a chance."
Profile Image for Alison.
548 reviews3,655 followers
July 14, 2016
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 was messy and emotional and aggravating, because that's how it feels.
These characters were so real and this was such a great portrayal of the ugly side of being a victim after rape as a teen. I loved seeing the progression from year to year and how dark Eden was becoming (also, i didn't fail to notice the name significance here, also nice apple add in there).
This is the only time i wish a book hadn't been written so vividly because it killed me inside to relive Eden's nightmare over and over.
I would have to say that if you have been raped, this book will either destroy you or make you feel less alone, but it may be a trigger so please read at your own risk.
This book doesn't show "getting over it," because you never can. And sometimes you can't cope, and sometimes things get messy and fucked up. But you live, and you work through it, and you survive.
Profile Image for Kelly Gillan.
103 reviews463 followers
February 27, 2021
haven’t read a book in one sitting in a while but i just couldn’t put this down. wow. i am sobbing
Profile Image for alexia.
280 reviews59 followers
April 13, 2022
4.5⭐️ check up TW warnings for this please, if you want to read it. wow this is one of the most impactful books i’ve ever read
Profile Image for Emmyreads444.
167 reviews1,485 followers
December 18, 2022
This book broke me and put me back together. Can we please get a second book where Eden and Josh end up together? 😩
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for :).
137 reviews171 followers
December 23, 2020
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 dont think ive read a book that handles rape this well since i read speak. and speak is like extraordinary, so that's definitely a compliment. i really really enjoyed this book and i found eden to be one of the most developed characters i've ever read about.


eden was so so so well written and being in her head was such a surreal experience. i really loved how amber smith displayed eden's different coping mechanisms. a lot of the mental health books ive read focus on self harm - which is obviously such an important and relevant topic, but i think that media forgets to portray the other ways that rape survivors cope, this is what amber excelled at. eden struggled with drinking, drugs, sex, and overall being kinda mean. of course there were times that i was frustrated with her, but i never forgot that this was her way of dealing with everything and i was in no position to judge.

i really liked josh and my heart hurts for him. i know he always did his best and it just really sucks that his arc ended the way it did.

just like josh, mara definitely did her best. there were times that i wish she would just notice that eden was struggling and ask her about it. overall though, i thought she was a really supportive friend.

wow. caelin was such a complex character and i loved every second of it. the author really did a great job writing about his denial and obliviousness to what his best friend did to eden.

things i liked:
- this story is written across four years. the first part being eden's freshman year, then sophmore, junior and senior. we get to see how she grows and copes with her trauma throughout the four years.
- this writing was glorious. absolutely amazing.
- there are just little things that smith adds to her writing that just seems to make this story that much more real. for example, eden barely ever says the name of the boy who raped her. whether it is out of denial or just genuine fear, i dont know. but i do know that it was a great way of subtly expressing her trauma.

things i didn’t like:
- the only thing i did not like was that the pacing was a bit off at times. junior year was only like ten pages long???

i definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to get more insight on the struggles that rape survivors deal with. but also, it is just in general a gorgeous coming of age story that anyone would enjoy.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,395 followers
December 5, 2016

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 tell someone. I understand that may not be easy in cases of sexual abuse, I wouldn't know, and everyone does react differently I am sure.

An accurate gif of me reading the first chapter:


Saying this book is about a rape survivor, it's in the first chapter and description. I was curious how this book would work considering it was told over the course of years of high school - the rape happening while she was a freshman and the story concluding while she is a senior. The rape throws our main character, Eden, completely off course with her life. She goes from the good girl to a girl who has seen the ugliest of the world and is trying to regain what she lost in all the wrong ways. Eden doesn't react in smart ways and plays with people's emotions for her gain. She is cynical, cruel and a bitch.

Now, clearly, I hated Eden for how she treated everyone around her. Though for a lot of the book I was crying for the girl. I just couldn't believe she had been warped so much into this new person who couldn't trust and saw only the negative. I also couldn't believe no one thought to ask her why she had changed, no one thought that maybe something had triggered this drastic change. Especially the people closest to her.


My biggest annoyance, however, was the open ending. I hate open endings, and with a topic such as this I need closure.

Overall I just have a lot of feelings regarding this book. I'm not sure I could even put into words how this book made me feel. I definitely can't formulate enough words to do a proper review which is frustrating, but I guess that's the point of this book.
Profile Image for Jenna.
268 reviews78 followers
October 4, 2021
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, acknowledge and learn about. There is a great deal to experience, to learn from, to mourn, to excite and to cry about in this book.
Please if you get the chance to read this book, do it. If you want to know more about what it was like reading it you can comment on this review or message me, I'd love to discuss it.
Definitely one of my new favorites.
This is the book I voted for best young adult fiction 2016. I think anyone who has a chance to read this book should.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
March 24, 2016
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 woman who was raped by her brother's best friend when she was a freshman then following her downward spiral through four years of silence.

Reading "The Way I Used to Be" reminds me a little of my experience reading a few of Ellen Hopkins books. No poetry here, but it's very raw and doesn't shy away from showing Eden's story in graphic detail. That means showing what happened to her during her rape and the aftermath in showing how it affects Eden's ability to relate with the people around her - from her family to friends to love interests. Suffice to say, Eden doesn't treat other people very well, let alone herself. It's a difficult spiral to watch; I'll admit there were times when I found it hard to watch Eden go to the point of no return with screwing up her relationships and trying everything she can to numb her respective pains - drugs, sex to offset her rape, pushing away all the people closest to her or even using other people as a means to end. Despite times when I wanted to throttle her or say "No, no, no!", I felt for her. Throughout the story I wanted so badly for her to overcome the spiral, even if there were moments where I felt numb by the holes she dug so deeply in her life.

The narrative does a fantastic job of showing Eden's viewpoint and psyche, though I'll admit what kept me from liking this narrative more was probably a couple of vital things that felt missing. This book takes place over four different years and for the time change, that means it'll make certain leaps in order to move forward with the story. However, it felt like there were key scenes omitted that contributed to some jarring leaps within the book. (For example, when was the point Eden started calling her parents by their first names? That's a pretty important transition that went unaddressed for the most part. While I did see moments where Eden had a falling out with her parents - their neglect at times making me rage - it didn't feel complete.)

I also realize that this is just one narrative that expounds upon an individual experience of rape and how it can negatively effect not only the person but their various relationships of different measures, but I feel like there could've been a better recognition of Eden's issues with using sex as a means to an end, a measure to fill the void left from her rape and struggles to be "normal". It caused so much conflict among her family relationships and friends, but was there really no one to tell her why that was wrong besides people choosing to cut her out of their lives? The narrative does give good insight on topics discussing sexual shaming (which I appreciated and wanted to hug Eden as she struggled with not only being the target of those attacks, but also struggling with her own negative self-labels). Maybe my mind is reaching beyond the context of this narrative's intention, but I feel like the moment Eden has her moment of recognition, the book ends too soon and abrupt - like we see many moments of her spirals downward, but don't see enough of her (very emotional and jarring) coming to terms - and that's one of the main points where it really got me. I think that's something that bothered me in the end, though the narrative ends with the note of things progressing further along in her recovery that we don't see as readers.

Even with those qualms, I still appreciated what this story had to offer. I still think this is a narrative worth perusing because it shows some hard fought battles and an eye to horrifying experiences that happen far more often than not with experiences with rape/SA. But I would also argue that it's important for people (teens and adults) to realize that survivors of rape are not all-encompassed by the terms "broken" or "damaged" - nor are their shaped by that experience alone. This is something that I feel many YA and NA books need to recognize and expand upon, and I feel like "The Way I Used to Be" could've had further expansion to make it hit home that much more.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Souhaila.
256 reviews92 followers
November 10, 2022

I'm conflicted, I don't know how to rate this book.

In one hand, It was heartbreaking and painful to read( in a good way) but in the other hand, Eden made it so hard to like her.

What happened to her is awful, I wouldn't wish it to anyone but is it a free pass to treat everyone and anyone around her like shit?

I could understand her anger with her parents and brother, I can understand her conflicted emotions and her rage at the world but I can't excuse her actions. Josh deserves better, Steve deserves better.
Profile Image for enqi ༄ؘ 。˚ ⋆♡.
319 reviews621 followers
May 3, 2020
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 above, which I will touch on later in my review. Before I begin, I just want to throw a disclaimer out there that I am in no way invalidating anyone's experiences, victim or no. Nor am I "comparing" experiences in terms of the amount of trauma experienced. I'm just writing an honest review for a book. And if I come across in any way insensitive or callous, please do not hesitate to tell me immediately.

The story follows a girl named Eden. She was always good at being good, even after starting high school. But the night her brother's best friend Kevin rapes her, her entire world capsizes. Everything she thought she knew was a lie, and everyone she thought she trusted ended up betraying her. What - and who- she once loved, she now hates. Nothing in her life makes sense anymore, and Eden can't bring herself to tell anyone what happened. So she buries the girl she once was - the way she used to be. Eden is thrown into a vortex of hatred, both for her abuser and herself, and this changes her completely. This book is told in four parts - freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year, revealing the deep cuts of trauma.

I don't know a lot of things. I don't know why I didn't hear the door click shut. Why I didn't lock the damn door to begin with. Or why it didn't register that something was wrong - so mercilessly wrong - when I felt the mattress shift under his weight. Why I didn't scream when I opened my eyes and saw him crawling between my sheets. Or why I didn't try to fight him when I still stood a chance.

I don't know how long I lay there afterward, telling myself: Squeeze your eyelids shut, try, just try to forget. Try to ignore all the things that didn't feel right, all the things that felt like they would never feel right again. Ignore the taste in your mouth, the sticky dampness of the sheets, the fire radiating through your thighs, the nauseating pain - this bulletlike thing that ripped through you and got lodged in your gut somehow. No, can't cry. Because there's nothing to cry about. Because it was just a dream, a bad dream - a nightmare. Not real. Not real. Not real. That's what I keep thinking: NotRealNotRealNotReal. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Like a mantra. Like a prayer.

There is no denying that this is a haunting, gripping book that tells a very heartbreaking story. I couldn't stop the tears as I read about Eden and her gradual emotional decline, the way she began to lose touch with the people closest to her, retreating into her own head more and more. How anything and everything became a sickening reminder of that terrible night. How she sought to numb herself, detach herself from the memory, and began to use other guys as an outlet to forget what happened, even for just a moment. How she unwittingly (or knowingly?) lashed out at the people closest to her, behaving horribly to them and pushing them away. Eden's life becomes a vicious cycle, and she spirals further and further into PTSD.

But even though the writing was clearly heartfelt, it ended up being a double-edged sword. Eden was a very frustrating character, to say the least. She was extremely difficult to like and very easy to dislike. The way she talked to others, the way she treated the people who genuinely cared about her, her attitude in general, rankled me and got on my nerves several times. The book became a little repetitive - something happens and it triggers Eden, she lashes out at the people around her, they try to ask what's wrong and she shuts them out. And then goes into an even bigger spiral of self-hatred because she can't bring herself to say anything about why she's not okay. And this went on for at least 90% of the book. It wasn't an easy feat to stomach Eden's character for that long, because to put it quite frankly - she was a bitch to everyone she knew, even her own best friend.

There have been many YA books touching on the subject of rape recently - and this story hasn't really brought much to the table. The only interesting thing about it is how it's told in four parts - one for every year - and in each part, we watch Eden slowly change and we really get to see how that fateful night has shaped her. However there are also some aspects that are very lacking. For most of the book Eden is in a continuous downward spiral - but instead of using several repetitive events to bring that message across, I would rather have seen it in the more intangible things, like why in her POV Eden suddenly began addressing her parents by their first names Vanessa and Conner instead of Mom and Dad. But the author simply leaves it as Mom and Dad one page, and Vanessa and Conner the next. I felt like these changes were actually crucial in showing Eden's character development and the process of her growing rebellion, but they were simply glossed over.

It was also really depressing to read this book. I couldn't read it in one sitting because of that. Every few chapters I would have to put the book down to clear my head. And this is where I risk sounding insensitive - a depressing book does not mean it is automatically good. In that sense, The Way I Used To Be was - I'm terrible at analogies - like a fluffy but empty bun. You bite into the soft, fluffy texture of the bread, anticipating the rich taste of the filling since the bun tastes so promising - only to find the filling is empty and there's nothing inside so you're just eating plain bread. That's what I felt like reading this book. It was wonderful at first, but as time went on the story began to drag and I found it hard to get through it. Only towards the end did the book pick up - around the last six chapters where the healing process was beginning.

His hands, his arms, can hold the pieces in place temporarily, maybe even for a long time, but he can never truly put them back together. That's not his job. He's not the hero and he's not the enemy and he's not a god. He's just a boy. And I'm just a girl, a girl who needs to pick up her own pieces and put them back together herself.

I loved Eden then - but alas, I only got to see this version of her in the last 20 pages. Eden's healing process should have been gradual and measured to me, not rushed in the last few chapters.

In the end, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It runs on emotions and shock factor more than it does actual substance. But I also felt that it is a very important book and I did take something away from it. Eden never dared to tell anyone what happened to her for fear of her own life - it began that first morning when even her own mother didn't seem to notice that anything was wrong with her, despite all the blood on the sheets. To all females out there - when something like that happens, get help. Don't bottle it all up - there are many, many avenues of help available even if you don't want to tell your family and/or friends. I cannot emphasise the importance of this.

And would I recommend this book after all? I would. Because it is poignant and it is heartbreaking and it does carry important messages. Maybe everyone has different tolerance levels. Some of my friends rated this book 4 or 5 stars. Perhaps I just couldn't bear reading about depression, having been depressed to the point of suicidal for some months of my life. But if you're looking for an alternate perspective, to learn more about victims of this terrible crime, then definitely pick up this book.
Profile Image for autumn ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ.
81 reviews130 followers
March 14, 2023

i'm so in love with this book.
this is the kind of story you feel uncomfortable reading - but in a good way. the kind of story where you want to grab the main character by their shoulders and tell them to speak up. but instead you witness them slowly suffering. and then the ending brings you to tears, because it was beautiful and touching at the same time.

this talks about the effects rape can have. over a timeline of 4 years, we see how our main character develops. how her relationships with basically everything changes, including friends, family, love, sex, new acquaintances, school, just her entire life.

i know this isn't a romance, but i LOVED LOVED LOVED the love interest.

i loved reading this book. even after putting it down after the first chapter i couldn't help myself but think about continuing. and so it went on: i woke up in the morning and basically flew to this book. 🙃
i recently reread some scenes and they were as sad and gripping as at the first time.

this story is told beautifully, yet difficult to read at times.
Profile Image for elise.
7 reviews14 followers
March 12, 2023
Wow. I don’t know what to say, i feel empty.
Profile Image for Taylor.
519 reviews204 followers
July 24, 2021
“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!!!!!😭💔
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