The Way I Used to Be
by Amber Smith
March 22, 2016 | Margaret K. McElderry Books
Status: Complete
         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.
This book incorporates a serious topic, that doesn't get the attention it deserves, rape. Rape is a horrible thing. People are not educated in rape culture and make insensitive comments. What was she wearing? She deserved it. Rape is incredibly traumatizing and this stigma towards rape survivors is misplaced. Instead of shaming them, why not educate people to not rape instead of saying don't get raped?

The whole book is about Eden's downward spiral and transformation. It's the after-math and we see how the trauma is affecting her. Eden plunges herself into a state of hating, anger and self-deprivation. She becomes bitter and lies. She does drugs, drinks underage and has a lot of casual sex. After that experience, Eden becomes empty and cynical. She looks at sex as a disgusting object, which is incredibly understandable. She becomes detached and numb. This leads to thoughts of suicide.

I thought Eden's inner-dialogue was powerful and moving. It wasn't profound or wise, something like that, but it was relatable. I was reading certain scenes and it began to cry because I understand her feelings, to a degree.  There was a torrent of emotion. As the story continues, Eden spirals deeper. It was difficult reading Eden torment herself. It pained me. It reminded me of Breaking Nova, but with less drug use and intensity. Breaking Nova was so emotionally draining.

I really wanted to see Eden rise up and overcome all this darkness. I was cheering her on and I was attached to her. She made shitty decisions in the past, but she's getting better.

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