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 on 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.
Page Count: 336
Trim Size: 5.25 x 8
Rights Territory: Worldwide
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Eating Disorders & Body Image
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / LGBT
E.J. Schwartz is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Barrelhouse, and Necessary Fiction, among others. She was born and raised in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Before We Were Blue is her first novel.
“Will be popular with readers who like to read about teens having to combat great personal challenges.” — School Library Journal
“The book balances tensions of class, antisemitism, and sexuality in complex and compassionate ways. A gut-wrenching and cathartic page-turner about identity, desire, and the strength it takes to heal.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The story stands to be a balm for those wrangling their own traumas, pains, and loneliness . . . which teaches its heroines that their pain, though real and worthy of respect, doesn’t have to last forever.” — Foreword Reviews
A 2021 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist
2022 IPPY Awards Gold Medalist, Young Adult Fiction – General
2022 Moonbeam Awards Silver Medalist (Young Adult Fiction – Mature Issues)
A 2023 ALA Rainbow Book List Selection