Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street


The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib ~ 384 pages ~ to be published 2/5/19 by St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

What I Thought:

*I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

As someone who has never struggled with an eating disorder, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this novel. I tend to veer toward the other end of the spectrum (where I eat way too much), so I was quite surprised when I found that I related to some of the main characters obsessions with food. I didn’t expect that so much of a book about people struggling with anorexia would focus on food. But, after reading the story it makes a lot of sense.

The main character, Anna, struggles with so much more than just food. She also struggles with maintaining her emotional state. I had no idea that anorexia can mess with how you handle stress, and that your mood can swing wildly from happy to angry to depressed. I also didn’t know that it could cause so many systems of your body to shut down, including your hormones and your heart. She was also exhausted and cold most of the time, which I did not know was a side-effect of anorexia. Anna just could not see the problems she was facing. Throughout, she continually claimed that she only had a little problem with her weight and that she was just trying to be healthy. Her view of herself was completely skewed.

Being placed in that mindset was heartbreaking and terrifying. There were also thoughts that were uncomfortably familiar to me, as a woman trying to conform to the ideals of society in regard to physical appearance. The fact that so many women feel so much pressure to look a certain way and so turn to these methods to reach that ideal is frustrating and, again, heartbreaking.

Walking through this struggle with Anna was exhausting, but quite enlightening. It was a really hard book to read, but also an important one. I think it is good to be able to look at this disease from the perspective of someone actively working to overcome it. It helps you to feel empathy for them, and might give you the tools to potentially help someone in your own life, even yourself.

My Rating:

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I gave The Girls at 17 Swann Street 4 STARS!

Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below! 

Yara Zgheib’s Website/Blog 

The Girls at 17 Swann Street on Goodreads

Pre-order The Girls at 17 Swann Street on Amazon

Have you read any other works of fiction about eating disorders? If so, which ones would you recommend? Let’s talk down in the comments! 

Love and happy reading,

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Wintersong


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones ~ 436 pages ~ published 2/7/17 by Thomas Dunne Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride….

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesel can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

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Book Review: The Night Circus


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ~ 512 pages ~ published 9/13/11 by Anchor Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: After the Rain


After the Rain by Jane Lorenzini ~ 252 pages ~ published 10/2/18 by Nest Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

Can Belle Carson reinvent her life by moving in next door to Thomas Edison’s winter estate?

It’s January 1888. The small town of Fort Myers is buzzing about a possible visit from famous winter residents Mina and Thomas Edison. When the local newspaper reports that the couple needs a gardener for their riverside estate, nearly everyone lines up to apply.
For twenty-five-year-old Belle Carson, a painful childhood secret has kept her world — and her hopes for the future — small. But with lush gardens already sprouting in her imagination, Belle decides to fight for the job and the opportunity to move from a cramped storage room to a charming cottage next door to the Edison homes and laboratory. Yet, when her dark past threatens to destroy everything she has so carefully cultivated, she must battle harder than ever for her best life — and the chance to live it.

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Book Review: Unmarriageable


Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal ~ 320 pages ~ will be published 1/15/19 by Ballantine Books (Random House)

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, the five Binat sisters and their marriage-obsessed mother navigate a world where money trumps morality and double standards rule the day.

A scandal and vicious rumor in the Binat family has destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to school girls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation without dropping out to marry and start having children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire them to dream of more.

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Book Review: Happier Thinking


Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva ~ 50 pages ~ published 12/31/17 by Lana Grace Riva

Goodreads Synopsis:

Changing how you think is possible. I wasn’t always so sure that was true until I experienced it myself, but I know now we don’t have to just accept unhappiness. Not always anyway. This book is my collection of tips and suggestions that have helped me achieve happier thinking. It’s sort of a gym for my mind. I’d love to tell you it was easier than the real gym but well… it’s not really. It takes time, effort, and practice but it’s absolutely well worth the rewards.

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