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
"[An] unnerving and heartrending memoir... readers may be stunned that a place like Straight could exist, let alone that a parent would willingly send a child there." - Publishers Weekly
"Etler's story is both inspiring and completely shocking; this is a memoir unlike anything else on the shelves today." - GERM magazine
"Etler channels her younger self's voice with pitch-perfect verisimilitude as Cyndy goes from wide-eyed disbelief to acquiescence, having finally found a place where she feels like she belongs. An epilogue offers a redemptive conclusion, and an author's note provides chilling context for Straight's history and Cyndy's story. Raw and absorbing, Etler's voice captivates." - Kirkus
"Etler weaves her story with conviction, self-deprecating humor, and hard facts... Readers will come to respect the fighter that Etler is and the advocate she became for other teens in similar situations." - Booklist