Before We Were Blue by EJ Schwartz
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Content Warning: EATING DISORDERS
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
The book is told from the POV of Shoshana and Rowan who have much different personalities. Rowan to me was not a very likable character where Shoshana felt more of someone I relate and sympathize with. Her character brought out more feelings. Rowans chapters are also written addressed to Shoshana which brought a different spin to the book. This book really makes you think. It’s written well and sensitive to subject matter. Some of the moments in the book are heartbreaking and you really get a feel for what these characters are going through. The author must have done a lot of research because I felt this book was a pretty accurate portrayal. I had done a clinical rotation during nursing school on an ED unit of a hospital and this reminded me so much of what I saw. I had actually thought about working there at one point because their struggles really pulled at my heart. I love the subject of nutrition and eating disorders are so common today!
This book was written well in subject matter but got a little too much into detail and away from characterization. The pacing felt off to me at times as well. Also I’m not sure why there was so much emphasis on Shoshana being Jewish. I felt that didn’t add anything to the story.
Thank you to @tbrbeyondtours and the author @ej.schwartz for the ebook and having me on the tour! Check out
http://www.tbrbeyondtours.com/ for a full tour schedule of this book.
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.