Monday, April 25, 2016

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Eden was a normal kid.  A little nerdy, sure, but a mostly happy high school Freshman.  Then her brother's friend comes into her room in the middle of the night, and everything changes.  Told over the progress of 4 years, this is Eden's journey and downward spiral after the unimaginable happens.  The violence of that night will effect Edy's behavior, relationships, sense of self, and even her sanity.  Can she learn how to overcome and survive after something so traumatic?

This is one of the special ones.  I sit down to read a book and I expect/hope to like it.  But every now and again I read a book that is totally 100% amazing, beautiful, and perfect, while also getting me to connect to it like I'm reading a letter from my best friend or even myself.  THIS is that book.  And I almost feel like I don't have words to tell you how much I loved it.

I think my very favorite part of this book was that Edy was going through this BIG, HUGE thing that happened to her, and I was able to relate to her in an intense way.  I didn't go through anything like she did, but I do know what it's like to have problems letting my feelings out.   Some aspects of Edy reminded  me of myself and other people I knew as a teen.  It's not something I expected to happen being that she's reacting to some major trauma, but I felt so many feeling and relived so many moments as I read about Edy's journey.

Edy guarded her feelings so closely.  She didn't want anymore hurt.  It was heartbreaking to read about the walls she had up around her emotions.  I wanted her to let people in, but I also know how hard it is to do.  I don't think there is any certain "way" someone reacts to trauma.  I think people just do the best they can.  The best Eden could do was especially hard to read about at times... like a train wreck you can see coming from miles back, but can do nothing to stop it.  It was worth all the heart-wrenching emotions though because stories like Eden's are so SO important.

I can't wait to read more Amber Smith books.  I mean, this is her first one you guys!?!!  I can't imagine how she will follow this up, but I'm anxious to see.  I loved every minute of this heartbreaking, harsh, fantastic, unputdownable book.

Cool Factor: The cover picture is from something that happens in the book.  I love when that happens!

OVERALL: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson for a new generation.  It's the best book I've read so far this year and I think it's a MUST-READ for YA (or any genre really).  The subject matter is hard to read about, but I think so important.

Date Published: 3/22/2016
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • A graphic sexual assault
  • High school
  • A book club!!!
  • Swearing
  • Drinking
  • Drugs
  • Parties
  • Sexual situations
  • Band
  • Makeovers

My Rating: 5/5

Character: Mara (the best friend)
Book: Zero by Tom Leveen

  • Mara and Cameron remind me a lot of Amanda and Mike.

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  1. yay so glad you loved this book. I haven't had the chance to read it yet but its on my list. I have to ready for these kind of books. My heart is so sensitive. I am excited though knowing you loved it so much.

    1. Yes it's definitely the type of book I need to be ready for also... but somehow this one didn't hurt as much as some books on this subject have. Which oddly doesn't make me like it less, I think it makes me like it more!!

  2. I saw this one on OverDrive and I was really curious about it. I surprisingly haven't heard that much about it, so thank you for this review. It sounds like a really intense story. I'm happy to hear you really enjoyed it, and I'm definitely going to bump this up on the library TBR. By the way, I really love how you added the "This Book Contains:" at the bottom of your review. :)

    Sarah | Kerosene Lit

    1. Thank you for saying that!! And YAY, I hope you read this soon. It's seriously one of the good ones!

  3. It's always so interesting to read our different perspectives, Michelle. Usually we're on the same page but not today... :) I read TWIUTB and didn't love it. I couldn't relate to Eden; I felt she held us all at a distance (UNDERSTANDABLY so :)) but...lots of things weren't explained or rushed. Like when she stopped calling her parents 'mom and dad' and by their first names. There was no reasoning. I did read an ARC so I wonder if things got changed. But yeah for me the SPEAK of the next generation is not this one. Ah well...

    1. I love hearing your opinions bc we do read and love a lot of the same books!! I can understand what you mean about parts being rushed through. I thought it was weird that her Freshman year was rushed through after the book club was formed?? I just figured the author was giving snippets of each year and not the whole picture.

  4. Fantastic review. I really HAVE to read this one.

  5. Those books which made me feel deep connection with the character and touch me emotionally are always have a special place in my heart. So glad to hear you’ve found such book, Michelle. I’ve read a couple not favorable reviews on this book and almost give up on it. But after reading your review I want to give it a try. Wonderful review!

  6. I don't know how I completely missed this book. After reading your review, I'm convinced I need to read this. Checked it out on Goodreads and saw that lots of my friends read and reviewed it (and loved it), so I have no idea how it flew completely under my radar!! (By the way, I ended up here after you said this was your favorite book of the year in your 2016 wrap-up post.)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction