I knew this book was going to be hard - you don't go into a book about sexual assault thinking it's going to be sunshine and rainbows - but I didn't think it was going to be this hard. I can count on one hand the number of books I've read in my lifetime that have moved me to tears, and this book is now one of them.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith.

**Due to the nature of this book, please be aware of trigger warnings for rape/sexual assault both in the book and possibly touched on in this review.**

This book follows then fourteen-year-old Eden through her freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. Eden was always the good girl who didn't rock the boat. But when her older brother's best friend rapes her, her life changes and she buries her emotions deep within herself. Unable to talk to anyone about it, Eden continues down a path of both destruction and survival. She becomes a person she never thought she'd be, but that idea of a person is based on who she was before. Now, she is trying to navigate first love, friendship, life, and hold it all together.

I truly do not even know where to begin with this book. The story itself was gripping and horrific; Eden's struggles to keep moving were both heartbreaking and hopeful. Books like these, with such serious subject matter, are extremely difficult for me to review because I feel like I can't critique them, even if there are parts I didn't like, because it is so important to have these stories out there.

Writing style-wise, I found this book to be very fast paced and a quick, but emotional read. I just couldn't put it down, I needed to know what was happening next. Not because it was particularly suspenseful, but because Eden's life was a bit like a train crash, you just can't look away. I was gripped from the very first page until the very last one.

Like I previously mentioned, I'm not usually an emotional reader. I think this is the third, maybe fourth book that I have cried while reading in the last three years. I think it was a combination of the story itself and the writing. I really lost it at the end and had to read through my tears. I really don't remember a book ever making me cry that much, and so, perhaps arbitrarily, I'm giving this book a full five stars.

While there were some parts I could have lived without, this book made me feel something deeply, moved me in such a way, I would be doing it an injustice for any rating lower.

Ok, I think I'm going to leave things here - I really don't know how else to put my thoughts about this book into words.

Overall, a deeply moving book that is worth the read.