This fast-paced memoir that New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins called "Compelling. Scary. Totally real" gives readers a glimpse into the unbelievable reality of a young girl's 16 months in the notorious "tough love" program the ACLU called "a concentration camp for throwaway kids."
I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, or a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi's jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the staff at Straight.
I was thirteen when I ran away from my abusive home. After a month in a shelter for kids--the best month of my childhood--my mother heard about Princess Di and First Lady Nancy Reagan's visit to this place that was working miracles with troubled teens. Straight Inc., it was called.
Straight described itself as a drug rehab, a "direction for youth." Strictly false advertising. An accurate description came from the ACLU, which called it "A concentration camp for throwaway teens." Inside the windowless warehouse, Straight used bizarre and intimidating methods to "treat" us; to turn us into the type of kids our parents wanted. The Dead Inside takes readers behind Straight's closed doors, illustrating why the program was eventually investigated, sued, and closed down for abusing children.
"Raw and absorbing, Etler's voice captivates"--Kirkus Reviews
"[An] unnerving and heartrending memoir..."--Publishers Weekly
"Etler weaves her story with conviction, self-deprecating humor, and hard facts"--Booklist
"This is a memoir unlike anything else on the shelves today"--Germ Magazine
- ISBN-13: 9781492635734
- ISBN-10: 1492635731
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
- Publish Date: April 2017
- Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
- Page Count: 304
- Reading Level: Ages 14-17
Notes from the underground
Here’s the most terrifying fact about a cult: Nobody has any clue what’s happened, or is still happening, inside until someone finally escapes. With The Dead Inside, Cyndy Etler reveals that dark unknown from the inside out.
As a teenager, Etler was sexually abused by her stepfather. Rather than stop it, her mother simply turned a blind eye. However, what she did always seem to notice was 14-year-old Etler’s “dangerous” and “rebellious” behavior that resulted from this abuse. So when Etler finally found solace with a few friends who were into heavy metal and occasionally experimented with weed and beer, her mother tossed her into the den of another abuser: Straight, Inc.
Drawing from her own firsthand experience of surviving 16 months inside Straight—a supposed drug rehab facility for teens—Etler spares no details. She shows readers just how the program is designed to break down troubled teens, removing any sort of spirit, personality or individuality.
Etler’s tales of her months inside Straight are nearly impossible to believe. But in The Dead Inside, she tells them so matter-of-factly that her horrors will haunt you for years to come. And hopefully, they’ll also make you more compassionate toward a “troubled” teen.