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Etched on Me

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  366 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Girl, Interrupted meets Best Kept Secret in this riveting, redemptive coming-of-age story about a young woman who overcomes a troubled adolescence, only to lose custody of her daughter when her mental health history is used against her.

On the surface, sixteen-year-old Lesley Holloway is just another bright new student at Hawthorn Hill, a posh all-girls’ prep school north o
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Washington Square Press
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  366 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I saw Jenn Crowell’s debut novel Etched On Me on Netgalley, I thought it sounded very intriguing – I love the cover, I loved the sound of it, and I was interested to read more about Lesley’s plight. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I dove in head first and I was suckered in immediately. So much so that despite working quite long shifts this week that leave little time for reading, I tried my very hardest to get in an hour or so a day because Lesley became almost like a frie ...more
Megan (The Book Babe)
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Etched on Me Other reviews at The Book Babe's Reads.
I'll be the first to say that the premise of Etched on Me appealed to me - I love the dark, gritty stories that I read, but this one didn't really work for me. It's not that it wasn't dark or gritty (it was!), the problem was that I couldn't connect with the main character, Lesley. She's a girl with a lot of problems, and although I understand that... I don't think that she was fleshed out enough.
I liked the inside look at mental institutions
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer
I stayed up late last night because I couldn't put this down. A brave, difficult, compelling, heart-rending novel by an old friend. Jenn Crowell takes an unflinching look at one facet of the British mental health system, and one young woman (fictional, but based on real cases) who survived it. (That's not a spoiler. It's in first person, so narrated as a recollection, which tells you from the beginning that she in some way makes it through.)
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

Hey every book I read from now on! Yeah, you! Do me a favour and sport completely tricky, beautifully elegant front covers, and then shock the HELL out of me once I open you. Okay? Alright good. Now that that's settled, let me to describe to you the wild ride that was Etched on Me . I feel like I should be making a video review for this, there is so much emotion I want to convey, that I feel like the use of writing as a medium just won't cut it this time. Etched on M
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Books don't need to be topical or timely to be worth reading, but Etched on Me does benefit from the recent open letter from Dylan Farrow about her own experience with childhood sexual abuse. I applaud any survivor who is able to speak out - I hope she continues to find peace and healing along the way. Etched on Me is timely because it deals frankly and honestly with the long-term consequences of abuse - depression, self-destructive behaviors ranging from cutting to drug addiction to anything el ...more
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll come right out and say it. This isn't a fun book. It is one of those works that will put the reader through the emotional ringer.

And that is what makes it so good.

Lesley is one of those characters who just sticks with you. She has the sort of inner strength that I wish we all had--she is dealing with some really, really tragic circumstances and somehow, some way, she pulls through. And it is a struggle, there is no doubt about that.

I don't know that much about mental illness, so I have no w
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Etched on Me is one young woman's journey from victim to survivor. Lesley Holloway was dealt a crap hand at life, her father repeatedly abused her while her mother knowingly turned a blind eye. When she finds the number for Children's Services she knows she can make her escape. Once she is able to leave, she had hoped her life would change for the better. Sadly, it doesn't. Her father was convicted and sentenced to prison, her mother wants nothing to do with her, and she's living on her own in a ...more
Dan Radovich
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
There is nothing missing in Crowell's writing,she brings to life every character and situation in a style easy to read and believable. Leslie Holloway is someone that you care about from the very start of this novel. Crowell takes you into the life of a London teen-aged girl struggling to survive life in support facilities. A talented author.
Khalia Hades
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. Reading Etched On Me has had me going through a journey...a goddamn roller coaster of emotions. The story hit home, awakening memories I had thought forgotten. I loved the way the author wrote each word with emotion.
I recommend this book, this piece of art, to all of you curious readers.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is so easy to see both sides of this story. A mother's rights over a baby's safety. Great read. Just enough medical to keep it interesting. So real life when the mental health issues are in the news so much. Set in London, it could be anywhere.
Cathleen Holst
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the most intense stories I've ever read. Will certainly keep you up reading long past bedtime. Five stars isn't nearly enough.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book. Les is such a relatable character and I was very compelled by her story. At every point in her journey I was cheering her on and crying for her suffering.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review originally published on my blog, Musings of a Bookish Kitty:

Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell
Washington Square Press, 2014
Fiction; 336 pgs

At sixteen, Lesley Holloway is trying to fit in and make good grades like any other girl at Hawthorn Hill, an all-girl prep school in London. She hadn't been sure she would be able to attend after making the decision to runaway from an abusive home and seek help from the local child welfare agency. Feeling alone and a
Dawn Ferchak
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lesley Holloway is sixteen years old and a student at Hawthorne Hall, a prestigious London prep school. She doesn’t fit in, not entirely, but the Hall is a promise of a new life, a home away from the home where her father sexually abuses her and her mother is either ignorant to or just ignoring it. Lesley is also a cutter, which seems a fine way of coping until the day it goes too far and she ends up first in the emergency room and then in and out of psychiatric institutions. Just when it seems ...more
Stephanie Ward
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
'Etched on Me' is a gritty and raw look at the obstacles and internal struggles that people with mental illness must deal with throughout their lives. It tells the story of Lesley Holloway - a teenage girl who finally finds the courage to flee her abusive home, which begins a series of mental illness issues, psychiatric facilities, and finally the fight for her child. Lesley is a very realistic main character for the novel. She's tough, witty, strong, smart, and determined. She also has some rea ...more
I'm trying to form the right words to describe this book. Etched on Me is not an easy read. You can't just sit on a comfy chair and read it with a million other things in your mind. Trust me, the pages won't turn. This book demands your undivided attention. Reading this book is painful. A book which does not shy away from the all too real problems. Etched On Me is about the journey of a young girl, Lesley Holloway. Her life is anything but normal. Being subjected to repeated sexual abuse from a ...more
Sara Strand
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can I tell you right now that I couldn't put this book down? I was drawn in immediately to poor Lesley's story of sexual incest abuse. That's what it boils down to and basically how the entire system basically fails her.

Lesley is sexually abused by her father for years and after realizing her mother isn't going to help her, she decides to run away and find help. She finds a sympathetic case worker that gets her set up in a hostel and over time, she begins to cut herself to cope with what her li
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Etched on Me deserves a round of applause. Honestly, it does. It deals with situations that most of us shy away from talking about, but it does it in a blindly honest and raw way. Things like childhood sexual abuse, depression, self-destructive behaviors, and just plain loneliness are all touched on. Lesley Holloway's story may be fiction, but the book speaks to those who know these feelings are real. Jenn Crowell shows that traumas like these have both the power to break us down, and to push us ...more
Jul 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Lesley Holloway is an aspiring, intelligent young woman newly accepted into a prep school. Her classmates don't know that Lesley is being victimized sexual by her father or that she ran away from home. Lesley starts cutting herself and what starts in her young teenage life is a series of medical facilities and a new-found family to support her through the mania. Slowly repairing herself, going to college and getting a degree, Lesley steps in another life changing scenario: finding out that she i ...more
Sandy Eichelberger
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ng-books
Lesley has run away from her father and the sexual abuse she’s suffered at his hands and from her mother who’s done nothing to stop it. Social Services tries to help her but there are problems with her placement. The strain is taking a toll on Lesley and she turns to self-mutilation for relief, but when she cuts too deep, she is rushed to the hospital and deemed a danger to herself. Fortunately there is one woman, a former teacher she refers to as Miss, who stands by her and tries to help. Howev ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Carney
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Etched on me is about a sixteen-year-old girl, named Lesley Holloway. She’s just another student at an all-girl prep school that’s located just north of London, Hawthorn Hill. Throughout the time she spent attending Hawthorn Hill, her father was sexually abusing her which caused her to run away from home. She started to use cutting herself as a coping mechanism, but one day she went too far and ended up in the ICU at the hospital. She spends the next two years making her rounds through psychiatr ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Lesley Holloway attends a posh all-girls school north of London, and she hides a very dark secret. She is a runaway from a home where here father has been sexually abusing her for years. She is living out of a hostel and found that cutting herself offers a release from the pain she has been enduring. This all becomes known when she cuts too deep.

Lesley ends up in a psychiatric facility where they try to address her issue and help set her on the way to recovery. Lesley is doing well and finishes
Jul 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2013
Lesley Holloway a girl dealt a rotten hand in life, suffering the unthinkable - a survivor, a fighter. Abuse took its toll but somehow Lesley dug from deep within and prevailed by fighting her demons. She has come a long way and still struggles but never gives up and keeps on keeping on. Lesley now a young woman facing yet another unbelievable challenge, and once again she fights and struggles all the while never playing the victim.

This story is gripping and emotional. I had to keep reminding m
Shawna Briseno
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by NetGalley:
Sixteen year old Lesley has had a tough upbringing, to put it mildly. After suffering years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, she finally found the courage to escape after pleading with her mom for help, to no avail. She's able to scrap by on her own for a bit, but with the help of a carefully constructed network of concerned adults she is able to eventually make something of herself. The path to her success is not an even one, however. Dabbling in drugs and a
Aug 09, 2014 rated it liked it
My only complaint is this: it took a little bit too long to get what I really wanted to read. What did I want to read? The battle for Lesley's daughter. Maybe it's the Jodi Picoult fan in me (to be honest though, my status as a Jodi Picoult fan is questionable), but I think I would have preferred reading about her past with the "battle" sprinkled throughout. Although, I do think Crowell structured it in the right way, I just didn't like it (kind of like, I know you're right but I still don't lik ...more
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
At first, this book annoyed me badly. Badly enough I almost quit reading it. I didn't realize I had a pet peeve against slang being used in books until this one bombarded me with slang (STOP with the "chillaxed"....seriously). I kept at it and ended up actually happy to have read it.

It's a brutal story, to be sure, but Lesley Holloway is introduced to us at 16 years old, having ran away from home and away from her rapist father and pathetic mother. She calls Social Services and, in England at le
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

A novel about the years of Lesley's life from escaping the sexual abuse of her father, to a court case some years later where Lesley is fighting for the right to raise her baby. Lesley is a victim who fights hard to become a survivor. One of her strategies that helps her get through the three terrible years where her father would force her into a cupboard and rape her, is to 'leave' her body - to float to the ceiling. I think that this is what held the book back from being as powerful
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I wasn't expecting much from this book, but I was so wrong. I have no reason to explain why I didn't expect much.

This book grabbed me from the first's not often you have a birthing scene right at the beginning. The story is about a young girl who at age sixteen escapes from her parents' house in the middle of the night because of the sexual demands of her father. She herself reports the incest to the social services agency in London and is put on the road to what everyone hopes will b
Katrina Marie
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it

Etched on Me is dark, gritty, and emotional. It had me completely crushed, and rooting, for the Lesley throughout the entire book.

Lesley has to overcome so many things in her past. The events that she went through are terrible. I think this character is incredibly strong because she is still mostly present. Lesley goes through ups and downs as she figures out what she needs to do to make sure she will be able to keep her daughter.

Etched on Me starts off little slow, but you get caught up in t
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