REVIEW: The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith


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 bureis the way she used to be. 

Told in four parts - freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Title: The Way I Used To Be
Author: Amber Smith
Purchase: Amazon ~ Kindle 
Started: 06/30/2016
Finished: 07/02/2016


This book was spot on. It reminded me of me in my high school years. These last few months, I've been reminiscing about my high school life. I've been wishing I could go back and relive it. Well this book put a stop to all of that!

The book is separated in four parts. Freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. Before her freshman year, Eden gets raped by her brother's best friend in her own home. A place where she's supposed to feel safe and wanted. He threatened to kill her if she told anyone and she highly believed that if she did tell, no one would believe her.

Because, how could a rape happen so close to home and nobody not know anything about it, right?

It's so depressing to know that a family is so oblivious to their child that they can't tell something happened. I was hoping one of them had some kind of idea that there was something wrong with her. But no, all they care about is Caelin and Kevin A.K.A the rapist.

But I want to point out how shitty Eden's parents are really quick. Their lives revolve around Caelin, they're little basketball college boy. What kind of family praises one kid more than the other? It's heartbreaking to see a family so oblivious to what their other child is doing. They think she's just acting strange and different because her brother went away for college. Seriously? Who would be mad about that?

So when Eden goes back to school, she already has a hard time. She's a nerdy freshman girl. She's an easy bully target. Eden gets food thrown at her during her lunch period. That ends up leading her to the library, the safe haven for all nerds. The starts a book club with Miss Sullivan, the nice librarian lady.

She gets her friend Mara and Stephen to join as well so they're not also getting tormented in the lunchroom. There's also someone else in the club that Miss Sullivan invited, Cameron. Eden doesn't like him off the bat and Mara falls head over heels for him.

Eden gets treated like shit through the rest of freshman year. Getting ran into by bigger guys and getting talked about by her old friend Amanda.

At the end of the first part, she finally puts her foot down and decides she won't deal with anyone's shit anymore. Good for her!

Sophomore year comes and she has a different look. New clothes, new 'don't give a fuck' attitude. She gets all of the attention she sought in her freshman year, although it's not all good.

She formally meets Josh, the kid who ran her into her locker in freshman year. The guy she wanted to beat up with her clarinet. He has no idea that it was her, which pisses me off. She shouldn't have made friends with him just for that reason!

Her and Josh do end up "dating". She doesn't want to call it that because she feels weird about having a relationship. She lies to him a lot. She lies about her age, middle name and other things. She's obviously not quite sure how being with someone works, even if it's not exclusive. She has this fake persona, she wants to appear cool even though she actually appears strange and introverted.

Her old friend Amanda is now starting rumors about her, that she slept with Josh already and is being the school slut. At this point, we're still not sure why Amanda hates Eden.

She does end up having sex with Josh. They end up getting really close, closer than she would like because she feels like she can't trust anyone. I knew the entire time she was with Josh that she was going to fuck it up. I'm so mad that they didn't last longer. He ends up finding out that she lied about her age and they break up over it.

It's pretty depressing because I went through the same stage in my life. I pushed away all the people who actually cared about me for people who don't.

Caelin ends up beating Josh up because he finds out about him and Eden sleeping together.

Now onto Junior year. The year she fucks up even more. Eden and Mara are illegally buying cigarettes and alcohol. They getting high with strangers at parks. They're sneaking out at night to go to parties. She's also sleeping around at these parties.

She's just all around making terrible decisions that year.

Now, senior year.

Eden, Mara, Cameron and Stephen all go to a party together for the fist time. Eden gets busted by Caelin trying to sleep with someone even when she came with Stephen to the party.

Mara has been trying to get Eden to date Stephen because she thinks it'll do her some good to date someone that's actually good for her. She ends up trying to sleep with him and ruins that friendship with just about everyone.

Mara, Cameron and Stephen call her out about being a slut and a bitch. And instead of just trying to figure out what happened to make her feel that way, they all stop talking to each other.

At this point no one likes Eden. Not her brother, not her friends. She's royally fucked up everything.

And all of a sudden, Kevin gets busted for raping another girl and Eden freaks out. She knows she needs to tell someone about it and she ends up calling Josh.

I've been pushing for Eden to get back with Josh, he was so good for her and I was extremely upset that they broke up. She calls him and they go to iHop together to talk and she tells him that Kevin raped her.

They spend the night together and Josh admits that he still loves her and she finally admits that she loved him. He offers to leave his girlfriend for her, but she denies him.

He takes her home and she tells Caelin that his best friend raped her back in freshman year. He's the one that takes her to the precinct to tell her story about Kevin.

The end of the book kind of just leaves you hanging. How did her parents take the news? Did she ever make up with her friends again? Does she actually keep her promise to stay friends with Josh?

Even with all that left unsaid, it was still such a great book. I could not put it down!!

It's a beautiful story of how someone tries to find themselves after something so bad has happened to them. I recommend this book to everyone, especially to those who share this story.

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