The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

Cover Art Courtesy of St. Martin's Press
I have not read a book this captivating in a long time. The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib is a haunting tale of eating disorders that follows Anna, a 26-year-old woman with anorexia. 


About the Book:

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life.  

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.

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 Review:

This book was so engrossing that I just couldn't put it down. Told in present day mixed with flashbacks and patient medical reports, the story was hauntingly beautiful. It told the real story of anorexia, and really showed how eating disorders impact the families and loved ones of those that have them.

I absolutely LOVED that this read tackled eating disorders in grown women. So much fiction surrounding eating disorders focuses on teenagers/young adults, and while that population is definitely the most at-risk, adults do still experience eating disorders. It also did not at all glamorize eating disorders, as I've seen some fiction tend to do.

I flew through this story. I absolutely devoured every word of Anna's journey, and became so invested in not only her recovery, but the recoveries of all the girls at 17 Swann Street. It takes a lot for a book to make me emotional, but this one really did. I experienced a full range of emotions while reading, from compassion and understanding, to excitement and hope, to utter despair depending on what was happening. I do suspect this book could be very triggering for someone that is currently dealing with or has dealt with an eating disorder in the past. I will put a trigger warning on it for suicide as well.

Photo Courtesy of St. Martin's Press
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" (http://www.aristotleatafternoontea.com/).

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this beautifully haunting read and for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour. The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib is out TODAY, February 5th, so be sure to pick up a copy! You can purchase the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indie Bound, or Powell's

5 comments

  1. Glad to see your review, I have my own issues with food and was afraid to pick this one up

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  2. Great review. As a teen I as anorexic. I lived on one mars bar a day. My sisters used to call me a stick of licorice as I only ever wore black and was exceptionally skinny. After having three kids I'm not a UK size 16 (US 14) and whilst I have wanted to lose weight for a while I never try as I don't want to go back to those times, I remember them vividly. Even at my weight I rarely eat - I don't eat breakfast or lunch. My first meal is my evening meal. The book sounds really interesting.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. There aren’t enough books about adults with EDs.

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  4. I’ve always has issues with my weight, especially after I stopped being a professional athlete. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. Great review! Glad you enjoyed it!

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