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Local Author Skillfully Tackles Eating Disorders and Sexual Assault in a Powerful New Novel for Teens
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Local Author Skillfully Tackles Eating Disorders and Sexual Assault in a Powerful New Novel for Teens

According to NEDA, the National Eating Disorders Association, 30 million people in the US alone will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives; and at any given point in time, 1% of young women will meet diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa. With the constant pressure on teenagers to fit in and the unhealthy diet culture thrust upon them, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

This topic, mixed with other issues teenagers endure daily, is taken on by debut author Deborah Maroulis in WITHIN AND WITHOUT, a stunning and powerful young adult novel, praised by Kirkus Reviews who called it “a high school tale that handles familiar issues in YA literature with sensitivity and humor.” 

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. Apart from the annoying but cute Greek farmhand Panayis, Wren’s life has hit an all-time low until her 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 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. 

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. 

Maroulis says of the background to her novel: “Our world is full of media telling us what to look like, act like, and be like. If you look closely enough, it even tells us who to like.

“I wrote WITHIN AND WITHOUT so that teens like Wren could see themselves in her insecurities and self-diagnosed awkwardness.

“My hope is that the reader finds solace in that they aren’t alone in their feelings and maybe even see that there’s a way out if they trust themselves and the people closest to them.”

Maroulis, a wife and mother living in North California, teaches English and mythology at her local community college and studies myth and depth psychology in her Ph.D program.

She says: “When I was a teen, I faced a lot of the issues Wren does, although—thankfully—social media wasn’t around to exacerbate the issue. A lot of teens want so badly to fit in or find love, they sacrifice a part of themselves in some sort of Faustian deal so they can imagine they’re whole, even if it’s only for a little while. 

Although the conversations around sexual assault and eating disorders have improved, a lot of work still needs to be done. If I could wish for one thing to come out of someone reading WITHIN AND WITHOUT, it would be that they know consent completely belongs to them and are the only ones who have the power to give it.”

WITHIN AND WITHOUT will be published on May 28, 2019 by Queensland-based Lakewater Press and is already garnering top-notch reviews from bestselling authors around the world such as “unflinching and authentic” by author Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and “a moving portrait of first love, friendship, and the pressures we put upon ourselves daily” by author Samantha Joyce.

The novel will be available to buy as both an e-book and paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, among many other retailers worldwide, and is available for pre-order now.

For a review copy or for more information about WITHIN AND WITHOUT or to interview Deborah Maroulis, contact her publisher, Kate Foster, by email at [email protected].

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