Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2018
In The Way I Used To Be, we are introduced to Eden a fourteen year old girl who endured a horrible breach of trust in a person whom her family accepted into their family. Caelin, her brother has been her protector and friend. They were close until he went away to college. When he went away to college the family dynamics changed. Her father no longer had his buddy to root for in sports. Her mother no longer had the responsibilities of doting on him. The household seemed empty and lost without him. He was the glue that held the family together.

This story is broken down by each high school year. For Eden high school became about the groups, rules, and cliques. Eden didn’t fit into any groups or cliques. Nobody stood up for people like her and Mara who got bullied. Not fitting is not something that gets talked about. Eden realized she was suppose to accept their behavior. After all she believed it was her problem that others bully her because she was too weak to stand up to them. Eden knew better than this, but she feels like her family, her friends, and the school system has failed her.

We watch Eden cope by finding alternate ways to avoid the negative attention placed upon her. Both Mara and Eden explore areas that garner them the necessary reprieve they are looking for at certain moments in life.

Eden just wants to blend in and be normal and finish school unscathed. It’s an adjustment and one that’s difficult to manage with no role model to follow. Eden is a young teenager trying to navigate the tough years of adolescence in high school. Eden goes through some very awkward stages in her high school years. It’s completely understandable considering the circumstances. The rape not only violated her body but her mind as well. Eden is confused and doesn’t know how to express the feelings taking place within herself.
I found Eden’s character to be quite relatable given the circumstances of her relationship with her parents, brother, and Kevin. Her stages of rebellion were the best ways for her to deal or cope with these confusing feelings when she lacked a support system.
I was so afraid to read this book due to subject matter inside. I got to say Amanda Smith made it easy to read. Rape is a scary word and when attached to a persons age and the identity of that person it’s even more alarming. I didn’t want to read about a rape, yet Amanda made sure to be careful with how she wrote that scene. I survived because Amanda was cautious enough to focus on the aftermath of that situation. That’s what I strived for, in this book an opportunity to read about one girls struggle with a toxic secret that ruined her life.
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