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In Review: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

TW: sexual assault, bullying, alcohol/drug use.

“He's not the hero and he's not the enemy and he's not a god. He's just a boy. And I'm just a girl, a girl who needs to pick up her own pieces and put them back together herself.”

Amber Smith rocked my world with this novel. It was dark and uncomfortable in places but an absolutely beautiful and soul-assuring story. 

The book is narrated by our main protagonist, Eden, who was assaulted as a child by her brothers best friend. The story is told over 4 years and we watch Eden go all the way through high school during this time. She runs into many complications as a result of the assault: from friendships to relationships to self love. This book covers it ALL. 

This story felt very honest, and with honesty comes harsh reality. The book is HEAVY and deals with some very serious topics, which may not be for everyone. For example, Eden turns to hyper-sexuality to cope with her trauma, drinking, drugs etc. For me, I felt very nurtured by the main character and could appreciate the voice the author gave sexual assault victims. I felt a sense of closure when I finished reading, like I’d lived through this whole experience with Eden and it was a positive ending. 

 The way I used to be has a very hopeful ending, I really hope there is a sequel which continues telling us Eden’s story as she progresses into adulthood. 

Written by Daisy Garland

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