Reviewed on 27th May 2019

Within and Without by Deborah Maroulis

Genre: Fiction / Young Adult
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Within and Without by Deborah Maroulis Synopsis

After her parent’s divorce, sixteen-year-old Wren Newmann is forced to move from a small California town to her grandmother’s vineyard, where she’s convinced she’ll die a shriveled, wine-country virgin. Her dad’s gone AWOL, her mom’s hooking up with anything in pants, and her best friend has found the love of her life. Apart from the annoying but cute Greek farmhand Panayis, who doesn’t appear to notice her awkwardness or thunder thighs, Wren’s life has hit an all-time low.

That is until her own dating life improves unexpectedly when Jay, Wren’s long-time country crush, notices her. Yet it’s as if people don’t want her to be happy, with their warnings and advice that perhaps Jay isn’t the right guy for her. But they don’t know, and Wren’s done being Beached Whale Girl. She’s determined to become social, skinny, and sexy, because Jay wants her–every part of her.

Though her anxiety and secret purging sessions sing another warning that she finds hard to ignore. And when a series of personal tragedies strikes, Wren’s life is flipped upside down and she’s left to pick up the pieces of her broken relationships. Now, she must find the inner strength to decide if the illusion of being loved is worth sacrificing her health, and maybe even her life.

Within and Without by Deborah Maroulis Review

Every Body Is Beautiful

Wow just wow. At first, I seriously didn’t think I would like this book, the blurb didn’t hook me as much as some do and I went into it expecting a mediocre read. Well, don’t I feel like an idiot now. This book is life changing.

It deals with such sensitive topics, and yet it is not depressing. It’s raw and eye-opening. There are moments when I laughed and moments when I screamed at the protagonist Wren. Some of what she said and did made me want to shake her. But that’s the beauty of Maroulis’ writing, it’s all intentional.

I’m meant to see parts of myself in Wren and I am meant to be frustrated by it. The reason why I got so angry and emotional with her character is because she’s me. Well not completely, but the feelings are there. The need to fit in, to become someone you’re not, that horrible destructiveness it’s all too familiar.

Unearthing this frustration was cathartic for me. Wren was a way of facing some of my darkest thoughts and seeing how they might play out. Her story highlighted the importance of loving oneself and having people love you for who you are. I honestly don’t feel the same now that I’ve completed it.

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In a way, I feel sick. I am ashamed that I lost sight of myself and how beautiful I am. I find it tough sometimes when all I see is skinny beautiful people. I’ll never be as thin as them and I don’t want to be. I’m me and that’s the damned best. I just need a little reminder sometimes.

That’s what this book was for me. A reminder that everybody is beautiful in their own way. Wren lost herself and her journey back was not easy. She suffered and my heart clenched for her. I was with her every step of the way and while she was annoying at times, I never gave up on her. We made it through together and I’m proud.

I am awed by this book and by Maroulis for writing it. I honestly believe it will do some good. There is so much addressed, and I want to blurt out every detail just to show just how clever it is. How it deals with these multiple, sensitive topics. But I can’t do it – I can’t spoil it.

It’s a short review I know, but it’s not because the book is lacking. It’s me. I have no idea how to do it justice. The only way I can is by urging you to read it. Give it a chance, like I did, I guarantee you’ll take something from it.

Published by: Lakewater Press
ISBN: 978-064834-725-5

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