Before We Were Blue

North Star. Sept. 2021. 336p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781635830699.
Gr 8 Up–Set in a facility for girls with eating disorders, the story unfolds from two perspectives. Shoshana is a Jewish girl who has a passion for cheerleading. Her team is going for a world championship in cheer and not only that, the team is the subject of a reality show that follows the girls from the gym to the competitions. Her parents are very supportive of her choices, but when she stopped eating, they sought professional help. Rowan has been in and out of treatment centers over several years and tries to play the system in her efforts not to eat. She has a dysfunctional relationship with her single mother and claims that it was her mother who taught her unhealthy eating habits. The two teens become fast friends, but Rowan does not know about the reality show and the hundreds of thousands of followers that Shoshana has on social media. The two try to escape the facility, and when that fails, the friendship becomes extremely rocky. The nurses and therapists are portrayed in a mostly positive light, and treatment is shown to be a process not a quick fix.
VERDICT This will be popular with readers who like to read about teens having to combat great personal challenges.

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