Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
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.
Publishes in US: March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: ya contemp
Source: Simon and Schuster
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
Series? no

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This is a book with dark or difficult themes. Young adults that have made hard choices from hard backgrounds. It deals with rape and the fall out. It is a young adult book, but if under 18, ask parent's guidance.


    Simon Teen sent me this one in the mail, and upon reading the synopsis, I figured that this book fit my tastes. I am drawn to books that are heavier in nature for part of my reading. Also, rape is a really important issue, and this looks into the mindset of a young girl who has chosen like so many, to remain silent. It follows her through her stages of disbelief, withdrawing, anger, and ultimately takes her to a place where she can begin to heal and move on, even though it will always be something that sticks with her. 

   Eden, Edy is the main character and she is quieter, she is my kind of nerd, she likes to read, she is in the band. She reminds me a lot of myself, having a best friend and not letting many others in. Family is a big theme in this one, even if she didn't feel comfortable telling them the truth right after it happens. It does show them in a tough time because she isn't herself and she isn't open about what is causing her to act the way she does. She begs her brother in college to come home, and she is short and tense with her parents. 

    This book is told in parts, each year of her high school experience. We see how the pain sticks around, and how much it plagues her. It gives a unique experience and shows the different ways that Edy suffered, but also the ways that she learned to cope. It shows her courage along with the darkness, it shows that its never too late to change your mind, or speak up. I think there are certain elements that are left out in skipping through the four years, but it does give the best overall feel for how much she was hurting and how she dealt with it. 

   Sometimes with reads like this, the period where they are healing and they begin to realize the repercussions of staying quiet are almost glossed over. We saw in great detail how she was with so many other guys, just to feel in control, we saw the damage that her hiding her pain, and not sharing with anyone what she had went through created breakdown in the relationships. I was glad that she had a select few that they didn't let her push them away too far, and were still on her side when she finally begins to tell the truth. 

Bottom Line: powerful, emotional and raw.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
How good are you at keeping secrets?

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