“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, AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE NOWHERE GIRLS
In the tradition of SPEAK, this extraordinary debut novel “is a poignant book that realistically looks at the lasting effects of trauma on love, relationships, and life” (School Library Journal, starred review).
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.
Praise for The Way I Used to Be
* “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 poignant and painfully honest survival story about the aftermath of trauma. Amber Smith weaves Eden’s narrative with a deft, empathetic touch that doesn’t shy away from difficult truths. This is a courageous, necessary, and beautiful book.” (Kathleen Glasgow, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces)
“This young adult novel is an unflinching look at the struggles of a rape victim to process her trauma and find the strength to rebuild her life.” (Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Speak and Shout)
“After finishing this book, my heart was pounding and I couldn’t find words big enough to describe how brilliant, beautiful, and powerful it is.” (L.E. Flynn, bestselling author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here)
“Eden is a young woman silenced by threat and shame, but so too is she a character who will inspire hope, for her extraordinarily gripping story is not only a call for action but a reminder of the power we find within ourselves to overcome and survive.” (Amy Beashel, author of We Are All Constellations)