What I Read: The Way I Used To Be, Amber Smith, 5/5, 384 pages
How It Starts: Eden, starting freshman year and more than excited, is ready for high school. With her best friend Mara, she feels like she’s ready for everything.
How It Gets Complicated: During winter break of freshman year, Eden’s older brother’s best friend unexpectedly rapes her. And she doesn’t tell anyone. Throughout the four years of high school, her life goes downhill by the trauma she experienced. She gets distant with friends, family, and her life goes to mayhem. She doesn’t think she can ever get back.
What I Liked about the book was the plot! The characters! The raw and realistic way the author writes this book. I’ve read a lot of sad books, but this one was the saddest one yet. Even though sad books can be, well, sad, this book gave one of the most moving messages I’ve ever read. This book had me feeling every emotion the characters felt. And there were a lot. There was such a range of characters, and it was so detailed and the author explained it so perfectly that I felt like I was in the story. This book was one of the best books I’ve ever read.
What I Disliked about the book was little. Although her high school experience can be and is realistic to lots of teens, some parts made me uncomfortable to read. I think, though, that was the author’s point. Other than that though, I just wished I could’ve seen more interactions with Eden and her friends once she slowly starts the process of recovery. It ends too soon, and I honestly just wish there were more.
Recommendation to anyone who needs to feel emotions very strongly. This book gave such a range of emotions, and it gives such a powerful message. Anyone who is comfortable with uncomfortable and horrible situations, though. Not for the faint of heart.
- Source: The Way I Used To Be, Amber Smith, 82
- Context: “”Yeah, but do they ever really come true anyway, even when you don’t tell?” Interesting tactic- playing to my cynicism. He’d good.”
- In Their Words: cynical disposition, character, or belief.
- In My Words: cynical character
- Source: The Way I Used To Be, Amber Smith, 2
- Context: “And I can’t shake the knowledge that life will just keep on happening, regardless if I wake up or not. Obscenely normal.”
- In Their Words: abominable; disgusting; repulsive.
- In My Words: disgusting
What I Read: Tell Me Three Things, Julie Buxbaum, Realistic Fiction, 325 pages, 3/5
How It Starts: Jessie Holmes moves to Los Angeles, California when her dad elopes with a rich woman. Immediately, she doesn’t enjoy it there. Her whole life is flipped upside down from Chicago in a humble neighborhood to going to an intimidating prep school and hanging with rich kids. Everything changes, though, when some anonymous person emails her, claiming that they’re from the school, and want to give her advice and a person to talk to.
How It Gets Complicated: The book slowly progresses when there are more options for who “SN (somebody nobody, the name she gives the anonymous person)” could possibly be. Also, problems with her new family, complications with old and new friends, and overall a stressful time for Jessie can makes things unbearable.
What I liked was the characters. Most of them were flawed, as are all humans, and they were all diverse in such a casual way. Usually, if a person is different, the book makes it a point for all the readers to know. In this book, the characters were flawed and different all in such nondescript ways. I think that made the book that much more enjoyable to read. I also enjoyed just seeing how normal a lot of people were. The plot was interesting, but I think the characters’ relationships are what really made the book.
What I disliked was how the feel of this book was like every other young adult realistic fiction book. Although I enjoyed it, nothing really stood out to me. In a month, I would honestly forget the character’s names, etcetera. The author did nothing to make this different from all the other books I’ve read that aren’t fantasy. Overall, the writing style was just kind of boring.
Recommendation to anyone who enjoys a quick, cute read. I finished it quick, and the entire read was enjoyable. Mostly romance.
Being seen is important. It’s normal, and it’s a part of every day life. When all that gets abruptly taken away from Conor, he barely stays sane. When Lily told everyone, every normal thing in his life was taken from him. Most people sympathized with him, therefore making no punishment inevitable. And Conor hates that. Conor loves normalcy, whether that’s being physically bullied every day, or punished for not getting his homework done. And when all that doesn’t seem important anymore to anyone but himself. The Monster came so he can truly be punished; because he is human. Every human has consequences to their actions, whether internally or externally. Because of Conor’s mom’s situation, every consequence for him has gone down the drain. Conor just wants to feel human again. He wants to be seen as a normal person. And with everything going on around him, he won’t stand much longer unless he gets the consequence he deserves.
Source: Tell Me Three Things, Julie Buxbaum, 313
“I’m early, so I sit in the first booth, a cowardly move that ensures I will see SN before he sees me. My back is to the rest of IHOP and their mountains of pancakes, and I watch the parking lot through the glass double doors. In just fifteen minutes, I will meet SN. He will sit down across from me and introduce himself, and our entire virtual friendship will become something real. Will be brought into the light and into here and now. Based on something both more and less tangible: spoken words.”
Context: Jessie is finally meeting the anonymous person who had emailed her all those weeks ago. She’s overwhelmed with emotions, and she’s scared it’s someone she doesn’t want it to be.
This Makes Me Think because it is finally happening! Throughout the entire book, the author made it so it seems like more than one character could be the anonymous “SN” that has been emailing her since the beginning. At this part of the book, I was on the edge of my seat. And when the big reveal came, I was expecting it and not expecting it at the same time. This part was definitely the climax.
Source: Tell Me Three Things, Julie Buxbaum, 127
“”Ewww. Gross, no. And shush. They’re fighting.” he says, and pulls me next to him, right near the door, so I can hear them too. Turns out that’s unnecessary, because soon they’re shouting so loud I’m sure the neighbors have turned off whatever reality show competition they are watching to tune in to this instead.”
Context: Jessie moves to California because her dad goes to elope with some rich lady. She never approved of their relationship, and now she hears them fighting. Although they tried to seem like the perfect couple to her and her new step brother, Theo, the both of them eavesdrop on their first vocal argument.
This Makes Me Think because I don’t know what could this mean for this new family The relationship between everyone is already fragile, seeing how the Holmes came from a completely different life. If they end of breaking up, this makes me wonder on what’s going to happen.