Praise For Etched On Me



“Readers will cheer for Lesley’s progress in this against-all-odds, sometimes grueling, suspenseful, and character-rich tale of individuation. Bringing to mind Susanna Kaysen’s memoir Girl, Interrupted or Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides, Crowell’s novel darkly fascinates.”

Library Journal

“At turns heartbreaking and difficult to read, this is a raw, unflinching look at mental illness and one girl’s one-step-forward, two-steps-back attempts to claw herself out from under. It’s a sobering, yet empowering reminder: in order to create a meaningful life, sometimes it will take all the fight you have.”


“Deftly portrays … a realistic heroine and strong supporting cast.”

Publishers Weekly

“There is not one false note in this stark, frightening, and tender story. You will not forget Lesley, or her trials and triumph.”

— Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean

Etched on Me reinvents the ‘coming-of-age’ novel by making the body of a young woman the center of the drama… As she beats back the abuse from her past and the self-destruction driving her, she discovers there is something alive in her bigger than her rage and hurt. What she has to fight for next will break your heart–just as it should–because what we tell females about themselves is a story that can indeed make or break them. Jenn Crowell will open your eyes with this tale of how the body and heart of a girl can, on her own terms, become that of a woman.”

— Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Dora: A Headcase

“I read the entire novel at a sitting and loved it. In fact, I think it’s remarkable. Humane, insightful, intelligent, unflinching. There’s such warmth here too, the very best and the very worst of which human beings are capable. The narrator makes delightful and engaging company (I’m kind of a bit in love with her) and the story is utterly compelling. I just HAD to read on to find out what happened in the end; it really mattered to me because Crowell made it matter, and that’s what great writing can do.”

— Clare Allan, author of Poppy Shakespeare

“Jenn Crowell fuses compelling social drama, page-turning stay-up-past-midnight storytelling, and unforgettable characters in this honest, smart novel. Lesley’s transformation … will, without an ounce of sugarcoating, melt away your preconceptions and steal your heart.”

— Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of The Comfort of Lies and The Murderer’s Daughters

“Jenn Crowell writes with a razor’s edge.”

— Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising

“Filled with moments of biting humor and sharp insight … I couldn’t put it down.”

— Amy Hatvany, author of Best Kept Secret

“In Lesley Holloway, Crowell has created a protagonist whom I wish I could meet off the page. Confronted with abuse, stigma, and shame, Lesley takes real risks to do more than survive her circumstances: she changes them.  Along the way, Lesley draws strength from a small but hardy cast of supporting characters we’d also all benefit from knowing in everyday life. In the hands of an author lacking Crowell’s skill, the novel might risk falling into stereotype and caricature. But Crowell deftly maintains control—unflinching, authentic, and empathic—throughout.”

— Erika Dreifus, author of Quiet Americans: Stories

“Jenn Crowell has written a miracle of a novel, full of grit and grace; her Lesley Holloway is a character for the ages—wry and whip smart and achingly real. This book will forever be etched upon my heart.”

— Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Dead Birds and winner of the Bellwether Prize

“A harrowing and riveting story of a young woman struggling against inner and outer destructive forces to find peace, equanimity and connection. Crowell has written a moving psychological thriller that offers us deep insights into the legacies of trauma and the difficulties of moving forward.”

— Leonard Chang, author of Crossings

“Honest, frail, and strong all at once–Lesley is set to become your favorite steel-boot-sporting, Kate-Bush-loving, self-professed ‘queer’ single mother of all time.”

— Curve

“Etched On Me has rather etched itself on me; it’s a very special book, and Lesley will stay with me forever.  … One of most powerful novels I’ve ever read.”

— Girls Love To Read (formerly Chick Lit Reviews)

“With beautifully flawed yet approachable characters, the author used a fictional story as a launching pad for discussion and debate that could very well lead to positive changes. If you’re looking for an endearing, hauntingly real tale that gives as much as it takes, I would highly recommend this book.”

Confessions of a Word Addict

“As a social worker, I would recommend this book as a required read for a social work or psychology student or any human service field major.”

Book Room Reviews

“Crowell has written a novel with rich characters and an incredibly well-written plot.  It is not an easy book to put down or walk away from.”

Book-alicious Mama

“I sympathized and empathized and cried raw, real tears for Lesley Holloway. … This book with still be ingrained in my being for a long, long time to come.”

— Bound By Words

Etched On Me deserves a round of applause. … Crowell’s book has the power to change lives.”

Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

“I love what Jenn Crowell has done with Etched On Me … The characters are relatable and you really find yourself rooting for Lesley to overcome all the trauma and heartbreak.”

Luxury Reading

“Had me on the edge of my seat and I could not stop until I finished the story.”

Leah’s Thoughts

“A frightening look into the world of mental illness, from the patient’s perspective, and from society and the establishment’s point of view. Captivating.”

Book blogger “cayocosta72”

“A beautiful book. … Should be on everyone’s bookshelves.”

Atlas Wonders

“This was a truly unique novel. Lesley and the entire supporting cast of characters will stick with me for a long time.”

5 Minutes For Books

“Lesley has a voice worth hearing.  Read this book.”

Chaotic Compendiums

“Etched on Me is dark, gritty, and emotional. … Get ready to cry, laugh, and want to fight for Lesley.”

Bookish Things and More

“This story is gripping and emotional. … [Lesley] touches your heart and you can’t help being inspired. You will be this young woman’s cheerleader for life!”

A Tattered Copy

“Very well written with exceptional attention to detail along with heartwrenching situations and realistic characters. … A profound story of one woman’s journey through mental illness.”

A Dream Within A Dream

“A rich and ultimately uplifting story about how the worst of struggles can create the best of people, the best of friends, and the best of family.”

— Bookshelf Bombshells

“A real page turner. … Had me hooked from the very beginning.”

— Book Addict Mumma

“One of those works that will put the reader through the emotional ringer. And that is what makes it so good.”

West Metro Mommy

“A heartwrenching story. … I hope that others will read this book and a dialogue begins.”

Kritter’s Ramblings

“Make sure you have plenty of tissues. You’ll need them.”

Books By Migs

“An unapologetic story. … Nothing is sugar-coated or glossed over.”

The Armchair Librarian

“Pulls no punches. … A story that tells it like it is.”

A Southern Girl’s Bookshelf

“A beautifully written story. … Crowell’s writing style is superb. … I am an instant fan!”

Crazy Bookworm

“This book is unapologetic, emotional, dark and ends with hope. It will make you cower in fear along with Lesley, it will make you bask in the warmth of Mrs Kremsky’s love. It will make you cry with joy.  If you like flawed characters who had to go through hell and still rise like a phoenix from its ashes, then this book is for you. Personally I feel every woman should read this book.”

— Absolutely Not Sure!


Ramblings of a Semi-Housewife

“The tale is heart wrenching, intense and makes you root for Lesley to have the strength to come out on top.  There are some heavy subjects in this book but the author is brilliant in writing this story.”

Mrs. Mommy Booknerd

“An honest portrayal of a young girl who started out as a victim but championed her own cause … You rally for her each step of her journey, because she is truly walking through hell one footstep at a time — seeking her own truth and leading with her heart.”

Jorie Loves A Story

“I really loved Crowell’s writing. Lesley felt very real to me.”

To Tell Your Story

“A completely original and utterly compelling story . . . that I will not soon forget.”

Novel Escapes

“Amazing. Jenn Crowell gets you right there and you feel like you are literally watching this play out in front of you versus words on a page.”

Sara’s Organized Chaos

“Off the charts intense in the most wonderful, yet painful ways. … Ms. Crowell did an amazing job of pulling me into the story so deeply that I felt Lesley’s pain, and celebrated in her triumphs as if they were my own.” 

Great New Books

“[T]he beauty of this book is that there’s hope. … A brilliant read.”

Corinne Noel Cunningham

“A complete and utter emotional rollercoaster.”

Basic Book Blog

“It’s amazing. It’s tragic. It’s beautiful. It’s full of surprises and suspense. It’s flawless. … I don’t just recommend this book, I beg you to read it.”

Nerdy Book Girl