Smith, Amber. The Way I Used to Be. 384p. ebook available. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481449359.
Gr 9 Up –Eden is a quiet band nerd and a freshman when her brother’s best friend, Kevin, rapes her. Eden’s entire life is changed from that moment. Life no longer makes sense. She believes Kevin’s threats and doesn’t tell anyone what happened. The next four years of her life are shaped by that night in large and small ways. Eden struggles to relate to her best friend and most of her other acquaintances. The teen experiments sexually in an attempt to gain control, but her inability to relate and connect create a dangerous cycle she must confront in order to move on. Smith tells Eden’s story in four parts: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year. This is a poignant book that realistically looks at the lasting effects of trauma on love, relationships, and life. While the rape is discussed, it is not graphic, allowing for a wider readership. Teens will be reminded of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. VERDICT An important addition for every collection.
This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2016 issue.