Parents' Guide to

The Way I Used to Be

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Teen's life unravels after rape in insightful, sad tale.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Beautifully Thorough Book

This book is about a girl who was raped and finds ways to cope with this awful occurrence thought out her highschool career. It does discuss sensitive topics which is why I think only 15 year-olds and up should read this. As a part of her coping, she finds momentary closure with having sexual relations with others. As I was reading this book, I thought that because her decisions, it took a weird turn, but the author has such a beautiful resolution that honestly and very sweetly condones the main character's actions throughout the novel. It's a well written novel and anyone who is looking to understand or gain new perspective, I highly recommend reading this!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (12 ):

In this tough but worthwhile read, a teen girl's life spirals into self-destruction after she is raped in her own bed. The pain and loneliness Eden experiences after being raped by her brother's best friend is palpable. However, it's frustrating to watch a character make terrible decision after terrible decision, even if you feel for her. The overall message and story show that even kids from loving families find it hard to speak out and get help after a trauma. Hopefully teens reading this will get the lesson that the longer you hold a secret in, the more damage it does to you. The trauma of rape leads Eden to self-loathing and an inability to trust her instincts, and she begins to behave completely opposite of the shy, geeky girl she's always been. She loves the rush of power that comes with playing with guys' emotions and uses sex and alcohol as ways to escape her unhappiness. Her partying and frequent sexual hookups snowball until she gets to the point where she has no idea who the real Eden is anymore. Her rage is not only directed inward but also at everyone close to her, causing her to ruin her relationships with her friends and family. While not all rape victims react in this way, author Amber Smith paints a believable picture.

The book is on the long side, as it covers all four years of high school, and it would have been more compelling had it been tighter and had the side characters been better developed. Also, in her senior year, Eden begins referring to her parents by their first names. This reads like an editing mistake because their names have never been mentioned before that point. The author adds no explanation as to whom Eden is referring, so it could be confusing for some readers.

Book Details

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