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The Way I Used To Be

By Amber Smith

384 Pages

Synopsis of The Way I Used To Be

In “The Way I Used To Be,” we are introduced to Eden, a high school student whose life takes an unexpected turn after a traumatic event. The story begins with Eden being betrayed by someone she once trusted deeply. As the weight of this secret gnaws at her, she chooses to keep it locked away within herself, silently suffering the consequences.

As time goes on, the burden becomes heavier and starts to shape every aspect of Eden’s life. Her relationships with friends and family become strained as she withdraws into her own world of pain and self-destructive behavior. Each passing day is marked by a relentless battle between holding onto her secrets or finding the strength to confront them head-on.

Amber Smith masterfully explores themes of trauma, resilience, and healing through Eden’s journey. With raw honesty and emotional depth, Smith paints a vivid portrait of a girl grappling with the aftermath of trauma in a society that often fails survivors. Through poetic prose and authentic storytelling, “The Way I Used To Be” forces readers to confront uncomfortable truths about silence, shame, and ultimately finding one’s voice amidst adversity.

Join me next as we delve deeper into our review of this remarkable novel!

Review of The Way I Used To Be

The Way I Used To Be is a gripping and emotionally charged novel that delves deep into the complex world of trauma and its aftermath. Written by Amber Smith, this book follows the journey of Eden, a high school girl whose life takes an unexpected turn after a traumatic event.

One of the most striking aspects of The Way I Used To Be is its raw and honest portrayal of emotions. Smith’s writing style captures the inner turmoil and struggles faced by Eden with such authenticity that it feels as though you are experiencing them alongside her. From anger to guilt, sadness to hopelessness, every emotion is vividly depicted.

What sets this book apart is its exploration of how trauma can shape an individual’s life trajectory. As readers follow Eden through four years of high school, they witness her transformation from a carefree teenager to someone burdened by secrets and haunted by memories. It highlights the long-lasting impact that such experiences can have on one’s mental health and relationships.

Smith also tackles important themes in The Way I Used To Be – consent, victim-blaming, self-discovery – with sensitivity and nuance. Through Eden’s narrative, she sheds light on these issues in a way that encourages dialogue while never shying away from their complexities.

The Way I Used To Be is a thought-provoking read that tackles difficult subjects with grace. Smith’s powerful storytelling will keep you engrossed until the very last page as you root for Eden on her journey towards healing and self-acceptance.

Critical Analysis of The Way I Used To Be

The critical analysis of “The Way I Used To Be” delves into the various aspects of the novel that make it a thought-provoking and impactful read. One key element that stands out is the author’s ability to capture the raw emotions and psychological turmoil experienced by the protagonist, Eden.

Throughout the story, we witness Eden’s transformation from an innocent young girl to a survivor grappling with trauma. The author adeptly portrays her struggle in a way that elicits empathy from readers, forcing us to reflect on our own understanding of pain and resilience.

Furthermore, the narrative structure plays a vital role in enhancing its impact. The book spans four years of Eden’s life, allowing for an exploration of how traumatic events can shape one’s identity over time. This nonlinear approach adds depth and complexity to both the character development and overall storytelling.

Moreover, “The Way I Used To Be” tackles important themes such as consent, victim-blaming, and societal expectations. By addressing these sensitive topics head-on, it encourages readers to critically examine their own beliefs and attitudes towards survivors of sexual assault.

In addition to its thematic relevance, this novel also excels in its prose style. The writing is evocative yet accessible, drawing readers in with vivid descriptions while maintaining an authentic voice for Eden throughout her journey.

Overall,”The Way I Used To Be” presents a powerful examination of trauma and recovery through compelling storytelling techniques. Its ability to provoke introspection makes it not only a gripping read but also an important contribution to conversations surrounding sexual assault survivors’ experiences.

Themes in The Way I Used To Be

The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith is a powerful and emotional novel that delves into the inner turmoil of a young girl named Eden, who experiences trauma at a party and must navigate the aftermath on her own. Throughout the book, several themes emerge that add depth to the story and provide insight into Eden’s journey.

One prominent theme in The Way I Used To Be is the impact of trauma on an individual’s psyche. As readers follow Eden through four years of high school, we witness how her traumatic experience shapes her relationships, behavior, and overall outlook on life. Smith expertly portrays the long-lasting effects of trauma and how it can manifest itself differently in each person.

Another important theme explored in this novel is silence versus speaking out. After going through such a traumatic event, Eden finds herself unable to voice what happened to her for fear of judgment or not being believed. This internal struggle highlights society’s tendency to suppress victims’ voices while also emphasizing the importance of breaking that silence and seeking justice.

Additionally, The Way I Used To Be tackles themes of self-destructive behavior as a coping mechanism. In order to numb her pain and escape reality, Eden turns to risky behaviors such as drinking excessively and engaging in casual sexual encounters. This theme sheds light on how individuals cope with trauma differently but ultimately seek ways to regain control over their lives.

This novel addresses the complexity of friendship and trust. As Eden goes through various stages after her assault, she grapples with whom she can confide in about what truly happened that night. Through friendships tested by secrets and betrayals, Smith explores how trust can be shattered but also rebuilt over time.

In conclusion,

The Way I Used To Be offers readers a raw portrayal of one teenager’s journey towards healing from trauma while tackling important themes such as silence versus speaking out, self-destruction as coping mechanisms, trust within friendships, and the long-lasting effects of trauma. Amber Smith’s writing is both powerful


The Way I Used To Be is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that delves into the complexities of trauma, resilience, and self-discovery. Written with raw emotion and an unflinching honesty, Amber Smith’s debut novel captures the turbulent journey of one girl as she navigates through the aftermath of sexual assault.

Throughout the book, we witness Eden’s transformation from a vibrant and carefree teenager to a young woman burdened by secrets and pain. Smith’s storytelling prowess shines as she takes us on this emotional rollercoaster, immersing us in Eden’s world while also shedding light on important issues such as consent, victim-blaming, and healing.

What sets The Way I Used To Be apart is its stark portrayal of how trauma can shape not only an individual but also their relationships with others. It explores how silence can be both protective and destructive, emphasizing the importance of speaking up against injustice even when it feels impossible.

Smith offers no easy answers or quick resolutions in this poignant narrative. Instead, she presents readers with uncomfortable truths about society’s reactions to sexual assault survivors – from disbelief to victim-blaming – forcing us to confront our own biases and prejudices.

While some may argue that certain aspects could have been further explored or developed within the story, it is undeniable that The Way I Used To Be serves as an important catalyst for discussions surrounding consent education and supporting survivors. By giving voice to Eden’s harrowing experiences, Smith reminds us all of the power we hold within ourselves to effect change.

In conclusion (pun intended), The Way I Used To Be is a gripping novel that tackles difficult themes with sensitivity and nuance. Its impact lingers long after turning the final page, leaving readers pondering the lasting effects of trauma while also igniting conversations about empathy, understanding, and healing. This book serves as a reminder that stories like Eden’s need to be heard – they need acknowledgment; they need us to listen.

About The Author


Publication Date: 2017

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books