praise for TWIUTB

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD NOMINEE (BEST YA FICTION of 2016)

AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’S 2017 AMELIA BLOOMER LIST

TEXAS LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’S 2017 TAYSHAS LIST

A BANK STREET BEST BOOK OF 2016


The Way I Used to Be explores the aftermath of sexual assault with a precision and searing honesty that is often terrifying, sometimes eerily beautiful, and always completely true. It is The Hero’s Journey through a distorted circus mirror – one girl’s quest to turn desperation into courage, to become a survivor instead of a victim. Amber Smith gets it exactly right.”

– Amy Reed, author of BEAUTIFUL and CLEAN


“This is a poignant book that realistically looks at the lasting effects of trauma on love, relationships, and life… Teens will be reminded of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. VERDICT: An important addition for every collection.”

School Library Journal (STARRED REVIEW)


“A difficult, painful journey, but teens who have experienced rape and abuse will be grateful for this unvarnished and ultimately hopeful portrait. Eden’s shell-shocked narrative is an excellent narrative conduit for what Smith has to say.”

Booklist


“This is far from a feel-good read, but I can’t implore how necessary it is to read a book like this one… As unforgettable and stirring as Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Smith’s provocative debut is best described as a survival story with hope and anger serving as prominent themes so fully explored they simmer off the page.”

– The Young Folks


“The Way I Used To Be is an intensely gripping and raw look at secrets, silence, speaking out, and survival in the aftermath of a sexual assault. A must-have for every collection that serves teens.”

SLJ / Teen Librarian Toolbox


“Edy’s exploration of the meaning of sexuality and intimacy will be thought provoking for teen readers of various experience levels, and this title is likely to find space alongside [Laurie Halse] Anderson’s Speak.”

– BCCB


“This isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important one… I was incredibly moved by Smith’s powerful writing, and Eden’s story of growth and survival is one you won’t want to miss. You’ll be thinking about this one long after you read that final page.”

– Seventeen


“A heart-twisting, but ultimately hopeful, exploration of how pain can lead to strength.”

The Boston Globe


“Readers will root for her as she gathers the courage, at last, to speak up.”

– B&N Teen blog


“Easily one of the hardest books to read on this list. Brutal, raw and emotional… Eden’s story gets told on her terms, in her voice. An honest look at one teen’s struggle to find her way back to herself, to mold herself into the survivor she is.”

– FANGIRLISH


“THE WAY I USED TO BE promises to be meaningful, significant, and truly unforgettable.”

– FIKTSHUN


“Don’t let a book of this magnitude pass you by. Pick it up and read it because Eden’s story demands to be read.”

– ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT


“With an achingly beautiful narrative and carefully crafted plot, The Way I Used to Be is more than just an excellent book; it’s an important one.”

– NOVEL NOVICE


“Bottom Line: powerful, emotional and raw.”

– BRANDI BREATHES BOOKS


“A blunt and raw way to approach a sensitive subject, Smith discusses rape and its repercussions beautifully.”

Justine Magazine


The Way I Used to Be is a beautifully told debut novel spanning four years of a rape survivor’s life.

– The Bucks County Courier Times


“I opened the novel and could not – could not – stop reading. Not only because of Smith’s incredibly compelling style. But also because this sad, sordid story offers hope.”

– The Charlotte Observer


“The book ends with a glimmer of hope that hints at the growth readers have wished for Eden since the book’s beginning.”

– The News & Observer


“A full-fledged novel with characters who develop, deteriorate and, at the very end, begin to put their lives back together.”

– The Buffalo News