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    Cyndy just escaped the clutches of Straight Inc., an organization claiming to help teenage addicts recover while secretly brainwashing and abusing them. But now she has to return home to her judgmental mother, her edgy friends, and her complete confusion after the horror within Straight Inc. In the second true to life story from Cyndy Etler, We Can’t Be Friends, she explores her life outside the walls of the institution that caused her so much pain and defined much of her young life.

    We Can’t Be Friends furthers the story told in The Dead Inside, giving readers a deeper and more thorough understanding of Etler’s childhood, delving into the darkest moments of her young life. Now released from the hell that ensued within the evil institution, Etler begins to grapple with her own personal demons, the confusion of returning to the real world, and ultimately her dependence on the organization that left her emotionally crippled. Now, Etler has to fit into the role of an average teenager while still recovering from abuse and manipulation. Will Cyndy be able to overcome her past, or will her experiences at Straight Inc. cause her to remain isolated from the life she once knew?

    Each and every page of We Can’t Be Friends is as equally shocking as it is horrifying. Etler gives a heartbreaking narrative with intense details that kept me fully engaged and flipping the pages for hours upon hours. There were a number of scenes that were so intense and shocking that I audibly gasped; her writing is that compelling and engaging. She continues to defy the norms for stories based on real life, providing true accounts that are sure to be well-perceived by teens struggling with the same abuse, neglect, and chaos that Etler did as a teen. Those who can surpass some of the disturbing yet necessary elements regarding drug use, sexual abuse, and parental neglect are sure to find Cyndy’s story to be motivational and moving.

    Cyndy was a victim not only to her family’s abuse and neglect but also to the corruption and wicked methods of manipulation from Straight Inc. Through her accounts, stories, and detailed descriptions of her troubled childhood, Cyndy invites readers to glimpse into her struggles and to ultimately discover hope in the darkest and most troubling of times. With a deep and powerful message, Cyndy Etler returns with another glimpse into her teenage life and her continued story of survival.

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      The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler details the true story of a girl who’s striving to escape the confines of her abusive home and Straight, Inc., a company that secretly manipulates children and teens into submission. In this heartbreaking and raw story about the dismal aspects of adolescence and the difficulty of surpassing the past, Etler describes her growing up for readers in a way that is incredibly impactful and eye-opening. Her sad and heartfelt words are impossible to forget and are filled with the pain and hope of moving on.

      The story begins with Cyndy trying to grow up while constantly having to face her violent stepfather and her blind mother, a combination that proves to be scarring. But the real tragedy begins when Cyndy runs away from home and she is given two choices: return to her parents or be placed into a foster home. Cyndy instantly wants to leave her old life, even if it means being placed with another family. What she doesn’t know, though, is that her new home will be within the walls of Straight, Inc., an organization that appears to help and guide struggling teens but actually uses brutal and abusive methods to brainwash its patients. With the will to survive and the resolve to remain true to herself, Cyndy must fight to remember the past and strive to take back control of her own life.

      The Dead Inside was completely horrifying in the best way possible. Etler tells her painful story without restraint and gives teens a tool to explore abuse, sexual assault, and drug use. While extremely intense and brutal at some points, the narrative was always very interesting, and readers are sure to be glued to the pages, watching as Cyndy fails, strives for survival, and discovers the truth in her own life.

      While it is important for this book to be accessible for teens, there is lots of mature material presented, including drug use, graphic sexual material, child abuse, and extremely profane language that may make this story too graphic for some teens. Despite the mature content, The Dead Inside will introduce teens to a memoir that remains engaging and realistic while avoiding the typical lackluster tone of many true-to-life stories.

      She just wanted to escape the clutches of her stepfather, but she ended up somewhere much, much worse. Etler’s story is both inspiring and completely shocking; this is a memoir unlike anything else on the shelves today. With a similar tone to The Glass Castle, The Dead Inside uses the tragedies of the author to help teens deal with issues of their own and to illustrate that books can be brutal and honest, not only depicting the glamorous and romantic aspects of teen life. For those willing to enter into the dark and tragic childhood of Cyndy Etler, this memoir is sure to inspire teens to surpass the odds in their own life and to gain hope that there is always a chance for escape, even in the most impossible of situations.