18143763Reviewed by Jessa Larsen

Lesley Holloway is just a normal girl attending a top-notch all-girls prep school a little north of London. What her classmates don’t know is that she has recently run away from home. A home where she was experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of her father. She now works at a fish n’ chips shop and lives in a low-end hostel, trying to make ends meet. What her classmates and teachers also don’t know is that she cuts herself as a way to cope with the trauma and stress. That is, until the day she goes too far and lands herself in the hospital.

Lesley spends the next couple of years in and out of various psychiatric facilities attempting to overcome her traumatic past. She molds her own support system out of a surrogate family and an excellent therapist. She overcomes the odds and begins a new life of positivity and success. That is, until the day she realizes that she is pregnant. Now she must overcome a new hurdle and wonders if this will be what finally destroys her. She must fight for her own survival as well as for the well-being of her unborn daughter.

I love what Jenn Crowell has done with Etched on Me and I assume, by her acknowledgements section, that a lot of this is based on a true story. I’m not entirely sure what the truth to fiction ratio actually is, but the book reads as if it’s based on mostly factual events. Based off that assumption, I understand how difficult it can be to write an experience down and have it come off as engaging to the audience. I think Crowell did a rather decent job although I, personally, could see the effort it took to make the transition from relating an experience to telling an engaging story.

I did love this book in general. The characters are relatable and you really find yourself rooting for Lesley to overcome all the trauma and heartbreak. I would like to see how Crowell grows as an author and see a sequel in which we find out what comes next for Lesley.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Washington Square Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.