“The Way I Used to Be” is a powerful and emotionally charged coming-of-age novel written by Amber Smith. First published in 2016, the book has garnered widespread acclaim for its honest portrayal of the complexities of growing up and dealing with trauma. Spanning four years, the story follows the life of Eden McCrorey as she grapples with the aftermath of a life-changing event and the profound impact it has on her relationships, emotions, and sense of self.
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The novel begins with Eden McCrorey, a fourteen-year-old high school freshman, whose life takes a devastating turn when she is assaulted by her older brother’s best friend, Kevin. Consumed by fear and shame, Eden keeps the traumatic incident hidden from her family and friends. As the years pass, the burden of the secret and the emotional fallout from the assault manifest in destructive ways. She distances herself from those closest to her, pushing them away with her anger, isolation, and reckless behavior.
Throughout the book, the narrative masterfully captures Eden’s emotional turmoil and internal struggles. As she grapples with her trauma and searches for a way to cope, the reader is taken on a raw and emotional journey of self-discovery and resilience. As Eden navigates the ups and downs of high school, friendships, and romantic relationships, she eventually finds the strength to confront her past and begin the healing process.
“The Way I Used to Be” has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from readers and critics alike. Critics have praised Amber Smith’s writing for its authenticity and sensitivity, highlighting how the novel resonates with readers on a deeply emotional level. Many have applauded the author’s portrayal of the protagonist’s trauma and her subsequent transformation, noting how it sheds light on the importance of addressing such issues in society.
Readers have described the book as both heartbreaking and empowering, appreciating the way it tackles difficult subjects with honesty and empathy. The narrative’s emotional depth and relatability have left a lasting impact on those who have experienced trauma or know someone who has.
“Through Eden’s journey, Amber Smith poignantly captures the struggle of a survivor, reminding us of the immense strength it takes to heal and reclaim one’s life.” – Booklist
“The Way I Used to Be is a compelling narrative that tugs at your heartstrings, leaving you with a profound sense of hope and understanding.” – Goodreads Review
“Amber Smith’s writing is a revelation – it invites you to feel and empathize with Eden’s pain and triumphs, creating an unforgettable reading experience.” – The Huffington Post
Q : Is “The Way I Used to Be” suitable for young adult readers?
A : While the book deals with mature themes, it is written with sensitivity and can be beneficial for young adult readers who are mature enough to handle its content.
Q : Does the novel have a hopeful ending?
A : Yes, “The Way I Used to Be” culminates in a hopeful and empowering ending as Eden begins to confront her trauma and embark on a path of healing.
Q : Are there any trigger warnings for the book?
A : Yes, “The Way I Used to Be” contains content related to sexual assault and its emotional aftermath. Readers who may be sensitive to such themes should approach the book with caution.
Q : Is “The Way I Used to Be” based on a true story?
A : While the novel is a work of fiction, it draws from real-life experiences and aims to shed light on the struggles faced by survivors of trauma.
“The Way I Used to Be” is a compelling and emotionally charged novel that navigates the complexities of trauma, healing, and resilience. Amber Smith’s poignant storytelling and genuine portrayal of the human experience make this book a must-read for anyone seeking an empathetic exploration of personal growth and survival.