Happy Wednesday, everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Girls at 17 Swann Street, and thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the invitation! Today I have a review of this beautiful book available now!

About the Book:

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.

My Thoughts:

17 Swann Street…It’s the peachy pink house where patients with eating disorders are sent for treatment, not always by their own decision; the condition is so insidious, it can be difficult to decide that for yourself. 

Anna Roux arrives at Swann Street as a former professional dancer. She gets sicker and sicker and finds herself weighing less than ninety pounds. At the house, she meets Emm, Valerie, and Julia. They seek comfort together and walk the rigorous path of treatment. 

Yara Zgheib brings these women’s stories to life with lyrical writing. It is a dark, haunting, authentic journey, with bumps, bruises, baby steps forward, and leaps backward. 

The girls learn that through each other, the path to healing is easier. The balance of that dynamic is tenuous, formidable, emotional. 

I was enrolled in dance at a young age. I was tall for my age and that would dismay my dance teachers who wanted a perfect “formation” line. I couldn’t control my height, and early on, I equated “tall” with “big.” When dance becomes a big part of your identity, how others define you becomes ingrained in your soul. So, in that respect, I could relate to the topics in this book, to some of the feelings of the women. 

Overall, I found The Girls at 17 Swann Street to be a thoughtful, important, realistic portrayal of this disease. There’s brutal honesty and steadfast hope and everything in between present in Anna’s story. 

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. 

About the Author:

Yara Zgheib is a Fulbright scholar with a Masters degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a PhD in International Affairs in Diplomacy from Centre D’études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques in Paris. She is fluent in English, Arabic, French, and Spanish. Yara is a writer for several US and European magazines, including The Huffington Post, The Four Seasons Magazine, A Woman’s Paris, The Idea List, and Holiday Magazine. She writes on culture, art, travel, and philosophy on her blog, “Aristotle at Afternoon Tea.”

Have you read The Girls at 17 Swann Street, or do you plan to? Happy reading! ~ Jenni THR