Title: We Can't Be Friends: A True Story
Author: Cyndy Drew Etler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publish Date: October 1, 2017
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "For the readers of GO
ASK ALICE, TWEAK, and DEAR NOBODY, Etler details her turbulent
readjustment to life at home and high school after spending sixteen
months in Straight, Inc. Advertised as a rehab program for troubled
teens, in reality, Straight subjected Cyndy and her fellow Straightlings
to cultlike brainwashing and bizarre “treatment” methods. There was no
privacy, no freedom, and no room for error. But when Cyndy is finally
released, she discovers she’s living by an entirely different set of
rules than her peers. What new extremes will she go to in order to fit
My Two Cents:
"We Can't Be Friends" is the story of Cyndy, who ends up in Straight Inc. as a young teenager. Straight Inc. is billed as being a way to rehab kids so that they never do drugs or drink again but the program has a dark side. The program relies on some pretty harsh tactics and the reader is left questioning what cost Cyndy's sobriety (if you can really call what she was doing before an issue) came at.
I felt so much for Cyndy throughout this book. Because of some of the sort of brainwashing she goes through in Straight, she seems to have a lot of issues functioning in the real world once she's there again. She is constantly worried about the people around her and whether or not they are going to lead her back into addiction. This prevents her from making a lot of the connections that are so important to getting through the teenage years.
I had never heard about Straight before this book and it was terrifying. I think we can all agree that rehab is necessary and a good thing to have access to but Straight often seemed to hurt more than help. It was really eye opening to see what Cyndy went through.
I did wish that the book would have talked more about some of the specific tactics that Straight used to better understand some of what happens later on in the book. The Straight part goes by very quickly and the book mostly has to do with happened after. Overall, this was an interesting picture into a world that was unfamiliar to me!