Hardback Edition, 384 pagesExpected publication: March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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.
Amber Smith grew up in Buffalo, NY and now lives in Charlotte, NC with her two dogs. After graduating from art school with a BFA in Painting, she earned her MA in Art History. When she’s not writing, she is working as a curator and art consultant. She has also written on the topics of art history and modern and contemporary art. The Way I Used to Be is her first novel.
So I saw a lot of people talking about The Way I Used To Be and I kept reading rave reviews so I knew I had to check it out. I opened this book and read the first chapter and I did not close the book until I had devoured every..single...page. I read the book from cover to acknowledgements in one sitting. I was completely captivated by Eden's story, her struggle to survive, and how she attempted to deal with the pain that her sexual assault caused. The first paragraph in the book grabbed me and from there on I could not put it down.
"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."
There is so much raw emotion and heart-breaking issues throughout this entire book. I had so many "feels" while reading this book. I felt sad, angry, mad, and then I would feel happy, hopeful, and at some times.... relieved.
Eden story is full of so much pain and anguish. She is secretly hurting so bad and acts out in different ways just begging for someone to see...for someone to ask...for someone to care and yet no one pays attention..no one notices how bad she is hurting inside.
The Way I Used To Be should be read by each and every teenager and young adult. The issues in this book are so real and so many young people are faced with both sides of this story and should see the effects that rape has on not only the victim but everyone around them. I searched for some advice/help that I could post along with my review and I found some great information on the website Rainn.org.
It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially when that person is a family member, friend, or loved one. If you’re looking for information on how to support a child, click here. Consider the following ways of showing support:
- Listen. Be there. Communicate without judgment.
- If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to report, offer to be there. Your presence can offer the support they need.
- Encourage the survivor to get support. Share resources like the National Sexual Assault Hotline and online.rainn.org, but realize that only they can make the decision to get help.
- Be patient. Remember, there is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.
- Encourage them to practice good self-care during this difficult time.
- If someone you care about is considering suicide, learn the warning signs, and offer help and support. For more information about suicide prevention please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.TALK (8255) any time, day or night.
- To search for your local sexual assault service provider, click here.
Needless to say, this book truly touched me and I absolutely loved it...the only problem I had with the book was when I read the last page...I didn't want it to be over.... I wanted to continue to read about Eden and her family and friends and how they faced the challenges ahead. I really hope that the author, Amber Smith, continues writing after this amazing book because her writing is mesmerizing and her characters are written in a way that really makes you connect with them and feel what they are feeling. I absolutely recommend this devastatingly beautiful book....
**References were taken from www.rainn.org**
**The quotes from this book have been taken from an Advanced Reading Copy and are subject to change when the final book is printed. Please refer to the final, finished copy for exact quotes!**
**I want to say Thank You to McElderry Books for the opportunity to review this book!!**