Before We Were Blue
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: September 14, 2021
About the Book:
Content Warnings: Eating disorder recovery
Get healthy on their own—or stay sick together?
At Recovery and Relief, a treatment center for girls with eating disorders, the first thing Shoshana Winnick does is attach herself to vibrant but troubled Rowan Parish. Shoshana—a cheerleader on a hit reality TV show—was admitted for starving herself to ensure her growth spurt didn’t ruin her infamous tumbling skills. Rowan, on the other hand, has known anorexia her entire life, thanks to her mother’s “chew and spit” guidance. Through the drudgery and drama of treatment life, Shoshana and Rowan develop a fierce intimacy—and for Rowan, a budding infatuation, that neither girl expects.
As “Gray Girls,” patients in the center’s Gray plan, Shoshana and Rowan are constantly under the nurses’ watchful eyes. They dream of being Blue, when they will enjoy more freedom and the knowledge that their days at the center are numbered. But going home means separating and returning to all the challenges they left behind. The closer Shoshana and Rowan become, the more they cling to each other—and their destructive patterns. Ultimately, the girls will have to choose: their recovery or their relationship.
About the Author
E.J. Schwartz is a writer who loves cozy sweaters, skincare, and a24 films. In high school, she was a competitive gymnast and briefly on an all-star cheer team that was eighth in the world. Now that she no longer flips on a daily basis, she writes a lot about people who do.
After graduating from Susquehanna University with a B.A. in creative writing and a minor in publishing, E.J. went on to get her MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. There, she spent her time teaching, volunteering, roller skating, and learning how to grow plants. Her published work can be found in The New York Times, Barrelhouse, Threadcount, JMWW, Ghost Parachute, and Necessary Fiction, among others.
Sometimes, a first-time author comes along and gives us a book that’s difficult to put down. Before We Were Blue is such a book.
Meet Shoshana and Rowan, two girls at Recovery and Relief for eating disorders. As gray girls, they have a lot of restrictions. But they’ve been battling eating disorders for a long time. So getting to move up to blue isn’t an easy task. But they have each other for friendship and support, and they don’t need the nurses or the other girls. So they’ve created a bubble for themselves and are completely happy in their own little world.
Yes, Rowan is tough to cheer for, but she’s been through a lot, which shows in everything she does. You don’t have to love her to like the book, and I think her struggles and perseverance, in addition to the walls she’s erected, make me like her even more. Schwartz has written rich, 3-dimensional characters who have dealt with some genuine issues. Before We Were Blue is a thoughtful, emotional, and powerful read; nicely done. Thank you, TBR Tours and North Star Editions, for sending this along!
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