The Way I Used to Be
Author: Amber Smith
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: 384 pages, Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Drama
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Synopsis: 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.
Oh my goodness. Okay background story. I’ve never heard of this book before and I never knew what it was about. However, when I saw this book at the store, the cover stood out. I think I’ve seen the cover before but never really paid attention. Anyway, I picked it up and read the synopsis and I knew I had to read it. It seemed like such an interesting and compelling book to read. I haven’t read a YA book that covered rape in a long time. I think I’ve only read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and The S Word by Chelsea Pitcher and they were both really great. I knew that this book would be such a heavy topic and I prepared myself for it. Even then, it’s like something you can’t prepare me. This book angered me and saddened me so much, for the obvious reasons of course. The book jumps right into it, the rape is about to happen right when you start the chapter. Shell-shocking. I cried, I couldn’t help it. Overall, the book was great. It kept me glued to the book, wanting to know what happened next.
I liked the idea that it went through Eden’s four years of high school. It was different, however, it had it shortfalls. I liked that it showed the progression of Eden and how her life got darker each year. On the other hand, it failed to show some important aspects of her life and the timing/pacing was very weird. Sometimes it would jump so much that you get confused. In one page it’s October and then the next page it’s June. There are gaps that shouldn’t be there. For example, the author missed out on the opportunity to display the fallout between Edy and her parents. You know that something had happened because all of a sudden, she no longer referred to them as mom and dad, but by their first names. It totally confused me, I thought that the author somehow mixed up names or something.
Another problem I had with the book was that there were so many questions left unanswered in the end. I wish that there was an epilogue of some sort so that we could get more information. Other than that, the book was really great. Everyone handles traumatic experiences differently and I think how Edy handled hers was very believable, especially around Josh. *SPOILER* Josh doesn’t end up with Edy and I liked that she realized that she didn’t need someone to rescue her and that she could rescue herself. However, I like the idea of them eventually ending up together because Josh really helped her out during their time together. He was perfect!*End of Spoiler*
Like I said, there were a lot of unanswered questions. I wanted to know how her parents reacted to the rape. I wanted to know if Caelin stood by Edy and if there was confrontation between him and Kevin. I wanted to know if there was a Josh/Kevin confrontation. I wanted to know if Edy and Josh eventually work out to be in a relationship. I wanted to know about the uncle and Kevin. I wanted to know what would happen to Amanda. We read so much darkness and despair for 400 something pages and we only got to see 30 pages of resolution. It definitely needed more