Review: Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell

Etched on MePublished: February 4, 2014 by Atria Books
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336

I received a paperback of Etched on Me through the Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.

As a heads up, this is not a book I would recommend to everyone, as I think a lot of the content could be pretty triggering. That said, I thought the book was an interesting look at mental illness through one young woman’s eyes. I was both surprised and sad to learn that parts of the story was inspired by actual events.

Etched on Me was incredibly difficult to read at times (enough so that I originally picked it up toward the end of February and put it back down for a while), but I really loved Crowell’s writing. Lesley felt very real to me, which is part of what made the book so heartbreaking to read. I ended up crying several times while reading it. Crowell really made me want Lesley to succeed. I loved the phoenix metaphor that was used several times throughout the story. I also was not familiar with Crowell as an author and was surprised to learn at the end of the book that she is from Portland – the book takes place in England and Lesley’s voice feels very realistic.

The only thing I didn’t like was how a few things turned out toward the end of the story, and I wasn’t sure how realistic that was, but after learning it was based off true events, I reconsidered that stance a bit.

I originally thought it was a YA novel because I learned about it on SimonTeen’s Facebook page, but after reading it, I wouldn’t describe it that way. But it is a coming of age story, and I enjoyed seeing Lesley’s transformation over the course of the story. Despite this one being a difficult read for me in a lot of ways, it was definitely worthwhile for me and I’m looking forward to reading more of Crowell’s books in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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