The Way I Used to Be | Amber Smith

“I don’t know who I am right now. But I know who I’m not. And I like that.”
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary.
Number of Pages: 367.
Perspective: First.
The book starts with a freshman, Eden, getting raped by her brother’s best friend. We see her change over the course of her four years in high school in the aftermath of the assault.  We see how her friendships and relationships are impacted. For a complete summary, you can go here.

This is without a doubt the best book I have read in a long time. I gave it my Best Book Award, but I would give it more than that if I could. I stayed up until 3 am finishing this one through tears. The very first page starts with the raw account of the sexual assault. I had to stop and reread the first page three days in a row before I could move on. It was the most powerful, spine-chilling first page I have ever read. 
I know this book was inspired by Speak. It was similar, but I think it stepped it up a few more notches for the older teen crowd. Speak was a little more PG, where this was PG-13 to R. 
There were so many times I wanted to scream through the pages and tell the main character to stop. But the strength of this story is that she is flawed and damaged. We see the long-term aftermath of her rape. It slowly deteriorates her over several years. It felt very realistic. And that made it even harder to read. 
Because of the content, I realize that this book is not for everyone. It was heart-wrenching. But I cannot recommend it enough. If you might want to read this, see if you can handle the first page. If you can make it through that, then you will get hooked. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“Maybe he’ll get what he deserves. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll never find it in my heart to forgive him. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, either. ”
5/5 Stars

Check out the other recipients of the Best Book Award!

Do you agree? Disagree?