What Is the Plot of ‘The Way I Used to Be’? Unraveling Eden’s Journey of Heartbreak, Healing, and Hope

Are you ready to dive into a gripping tale of self-discovery, resilience, and the complexities of growing up? Look no further than “The Way I Used to Be,” a powerful novel that will leave you breathless. In this blog post, we’ll explore the captivating plot of this book, following the journey of Eden as she navigates the tumultuous waters of high school and beyond. From shocking beginnings to emotional truths, this story will keep you hooked from start to finish. So, grab a cup of tea, get comfortable, and let’s unravel the captivating plot of “The Way I Used to Be.”

The Shocking Start: Eden’s Freshman Year

The narrative of The Way I Used to Be begins with a jolting event that shakes the very foundations of Eden McCrorey’s life. As a 14-year-old freshman, Eden is subjected to a horrifying act of sexual assault by someone she trusted—Kevin, her brother’s best friend. This assault is a cataclysmic event that shatters her innocence, leaving her to navigate the treacherous waters of high school with a heavy heart and a burdened soul.

Eden’s story is a poignant exploration of the aftermath of trauma. The secret of the assault becomes an albatross around her neck, influencing her relationships, her self-esteem, and her entire worldview. Despite the turmoil within, she chooses silence, a decision that amplifies her struggle as she moves through the pivotal years of her adolescence.

Character Event Reaction Impact
Eden McCrorey Raped by Kevin Keeps it secret Internal struggle and altered relationships

The book’s structure, which segments Eden’s high school journey into four distinct parts, marks the passage of time and highlights the evolution of her coping mechanisms. As the reader delves into the depths of Eden’s psyche, they witness the silent screams and the unshed tears of a young girl grappling with a reality that is too excruciating to share.

Amidst this chaos, Eden’s freshman year becomes a testament to her resilience. Her silence is not a sign of weakness but a complex layer of her survival strategy. As she confronts academic pressures, social expectations, and the haunting memories of her trauma, Eden’s freshman year sets the stage for a harrowing yet powerful journey that will unfold over the course of her high school experience.

The Way I Used to Be does not shy away from the darkness that envelops Eden, but it also offers glimpses of hope—subtle reminders that even in the bleakest moments, the human spirit can endure. As readers, we are compelled to continue alongside Eden, yearning for a resolution that can bring her peace and the strength to reclaim her voice.

Her poignant narrative is a stark reminder of the silent battles many face, and through Eden’s eyes, the reader is forced to confront the harsh realities of trauma and its pervasive impact on one’s life. Each page turned is a step with Eden on the path towards healing, a path fraught with pain but also illuminated by the faint glow of resilience.

Themes Explored in “The Way I Used to Be”

The narrative of “The Way I Used to Be” weaves through a tapestry of emotional landscapes, each thread colored with the themes that are as complex as they are impactful. We traverse alongside Eden McCrorey on a journey that is as much about the external world as it is an introspective odyssey. Here, the stark realities of bullying emerge, not just as schoolyard taunts, but as the pervasive shadows that can follow someone who feels isolated by an unspeakable trauma.

Through Eden’s experiences, the novel paints a poignant picture of first relationships, capturing the bittersweet essence of young love and the sting of betrayal. Her interactions with others, tinged with the pain of her assault, become a dance between seeking connection and recoiling from the vulnerability it demands. This is not just a story about falling in love, but about the courage it takes to trust again after trust has been shattered.

Friendships, too, are a critical motif within these pages. They serve as both a refuge and a battleground for Eden, reflecting the complexities of her inner turmoil. As Eden’s secret creates a chasm between her and the world, her friendships evolve, some straining under the weight of unspoken truths, while others offer solace without understanding the depth of her pain. The novel explores the resilience of these bonds, and the ways in which they can be both tested and strengthened in the face of adversity.

In a powerful display of rebellion, we witness Eden’s actions as a mirror to her internal chaos. With each act of defiance, she attempts to reclaim a sense of control that was stolen from her, yet often finds herself spiraling further. It’s a poignant reminder of how trauma can skew one’s compass, turning the search for empowerment into a path that can lead to more pain.

Ultimately, “The Way I Used to Be” is a profound exploration of acceptance. Acceptance of the past, of the scars that shape us, and of the arduous journey towards healing. It’s about Eden learning to navigate the world anew, piecing together a self-identity that has been fractured by violation. As readers, we are privy to her innermost battles, the moments of despair, and the flickers of hope that ignite her path forward.

The emotional core of the novel is not about grand gestures or dramatic confrontations, but rather, the quiet strength that comes from enduring and evolving. In sharing Eden’s story, author Amber Smith offers a vessel for empathy, understanding, and perhaps most importantly, a conversation about the silent battles many face in the aftermath of trauma.

As we follow Eden through the labyrinth of her high school years, the novel invites readers to reflect on the power of resilience and the silent courage it takes to face each day with a past that clings so tightly. The themes explored in “The Way I Used to Be” resonate deeply, providing a lens through which we can all examine the complexities of trauma and the multifaceted nature of the human spirit.

Eden’s Journey Continues: The Trial and College Life

The narrative of “The Way I Used to Be” takes a significant turn as Eden, now a college freshman, steps into a new world of independence and possibility. This transition period is a bittersweet amalgam of newfound freedom and the weight of her ongoing court battle. As readers, we witness Eden’s resilience in the face of this duality—a testament to her enduring spirit.

The courtroom becomes a pivotal stage in Eden’s journey, where her voice and those of other survivors merge into a chorus of strength and defiance. The trial, a narrative thread laden with tension and emotion, is a battleground where Eden confronts her past. It is a space where the silence is broken and the truth fights to be heard, creating a backdrop that is fraught with the anxiety and anticipation of justice.

Amidst this tumultuous period, Eden’s college life unfolds with the vibrancy of new experiences and the challenge of adapting to an environment that is at once exciting and daunting. College represents a fresh start, yet it carries the echoes of her trauma. Her story, therefore, is not just one of survival but also of the complexities of moving forward.

It is within this mosaic of college life that Eden’s path crosses with Josh once more. Their reconnection is a delicate dance of past and present, hinting at the possibility of healing and the tender shoots of a new beginning. Their interactions are a poignant reminder that love and support can blossom in the aftermath of pain.

The juxtaposition of the trial’s gravity against the backdrop of college life challenges Eden to navigate a world where she is at once a student, a survivor, and a young woman rediscovering herself. This intersection of experiences keeps readers riveted, as we root for Eden to find her footing in a reality that is forever altered but still holds the promise of growth and transformation.

In Eden’s journey, we find a narrative that is both personal and universal—the story of a battle for justice, the quest for knowledge, and the delicate art of piecing oneself back together. Her story is one that speaks to the resilience required not just to survive, but to thrive in the wake of adversity.

The Emotional Truth Behind the Fiction

The world within “The Way I Used to Be” resonates with a stark, emotional authenticity that grips the reader’s heart. Each page of this novel is infused with the raw complexities of Eden’s internal struggle, echoing the silent battles many face in the wake of traumatic experiences. While the characters and their stories are born from the author’s imagination, the emotional landscape they traverse is undeniably real. The author’s deep empathy bleeds through the narrative, offering a mirror to those who have felt voiceless and unseen.

In crafting Eden’s character, the author delves into the nuances of pain and the arduous journey of self-reclamation. It is through Eden’s eyes that readers witness the metamorphosis of a soul – from the shattering moment of betrayal to the profound courage found in speaking one’s truth. The novel does not shy away from the darkness that can consume us, nor does it ignore the glimmers of hope that guide us towards healing. The interplay of these elements makes “The Way I Used to Be” a vessel of understanding, bridging the gap between fiction and the very real emotions that underpin our human experience.

The Sequel: A New Chapter in Eden’s Life

The journey of resilience does not culminate with the closing of a book, and Eden’s path is no exception. As the sequel unfolds, readers are ushered into a new era of her life. Here, Eden and Josh rekindle the embers of their past, cautiously navigating the uncharted waters of a relationship once marred by the aftershocks of trauma. The sequel promises a narrative of hope, illustrating the beauty of second chances and the power of love in the healing process.

With Eden’s college years as the backdrop, this continuation is not just about the romance that simmers between two kindred spirits, but also about the individual journey of growth and self-discovery. The sequel, much like its predecessor, is poised to be a beacon for those seeking solace in stories that reflect the intricate dance of falling apart and coming together again. It is in the delicate balance between the two that Eden, and indeed all of us, find the strength to write new chapters in our lives.


In the emotionally charged tapestry of “The Way I Used to Be”, readers find themselves immersed in the harrowing yet inspiring journey of Eden, a character who embodies the resilience of the human spirit. As the narrative weaves through the complexities of her life, Eden’s courage in the face of adversity resonates profoundly with anyone grappling with their own silent battles.

The novel serves not merely as a story, but as a powerful vehicle for empathy and understanding, challenging us to see the world through Eden’s eyes. Her struggles with trust, her search for identity, and the courage it takes to confront her past are rendered with a raw honesty that is both heart-wrenching and heartening.

Eden’s evolution from a victim of a heinous act to a survivor on the path to recovery is a testament to the strength found in vulnerability. Her narrative, punctuated by the trials and tribulations of adolescence, college life, and the complexities of love, showcases the multifaceted nature of healing. It’s a reminder that the journey to reclaim oneself is seldom linear, often fraught with setbacks and victories, much like the winding paths we all tread in our own lives.

Moreover, the relationship between Eden and Josh, intricate and fraught with their shared history, illuminates the nuanced dance of intimacy after trauma. Their tentative steps towards one another mirror the delicate process of rebuilding trust, not just in others, but within oneself.

As we turn the final pages of this compelling narrative, we are left with a profound sense of solidarity with Eden. It is a story that not only charts the path of one individual’s recovery but also serves as a beacon of hope for others—a reminder that from the ashes of our darkest moments, we can rise, transformed and renewed.

The novel “The Way I Used to Be” is a poignant exploration of the human condition, reminding us that even in our most fragile states, there is an indomitable will to persevere, to heal, and ultimately, to thrive.


Q: What is the plot of The Way I Used to Be?
A: The Way I Used to Be follows Eden McCrorey, a teenager who is raped by her older brother’s best friend. The novel is divided into four parts, corresponding to each year of high school, and it follows Eden’s journey from freshman to senior year.

Q: What happened in The Way I Used to Be?
A: At the beginning of the novel, 14-year-old Eden is raped by her older brother’s best friend. She keeps this traumatic event a secret and tries to move on with her life.

Q: Is The Way I Used to Be based on a true story?
A: While The Way I Used to Be is a work of fiction, it is inspired by emotional truth. The author wrote the book from a place of reflection and compassion, drawing on real-life experiences to create a compelling narrative.

Q: What are the themes explored in The Way I Used to Be?
A: The Way I Used to Be explores themes of bullying, first relationships, best friendships, rebellion, and acceptance. The story revolves around a young woman dealing with a traumatic event and navigating her way through life in the aftermath.