Book Blitz: Within and Without by Deborah Maroulis

Within and Without by Deborah Maroulis
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Lakewater Press

Some people go to great lengths to fit in. But how far is too far?
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.
Described as “unflinching and authentic,” WITHIN AND WITHOUT is a stunning debut that touches on a teenage girl’s emotionally haunting journey to self acceptance “that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.”

“Unflinching, authentic, and the perfect mixture of bold and sweet, WITHIN AND WITHOUT is a story readers will lose themselves in more than once. A debut both heartwarming and heartbreaking from an exciting new voice in YA literature.”
—Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts and Last Girl Lied To

“A moving portrait of first love, friendship, and the pressures we put upon ourselves daily.
Maroulis tackles the delicate subject of eating disorders with a realistic pen, all while maintaining a humorous and hopeful tone. WITHIN AND WITHOUT will stay with you long after you turn the last page.”
—Samantha Joyce, author of Flirting with Fame

“A heartfelt and moving story of friendship, first love, and finding yourself. Maroulis isn’t afraid to tackle tough topics to show that finding love requires learning to love yourself.”
—Kelly deVos, author of Fat Girl on a Plane

Extract from the book!

That time when Wren tries to move into her room at the vineyard

Hair twisted into a bun and ear buds in, I push play on Death Cab for Cutie. I shove my phone into my pocket, ready to take on the closet door one more time. Gripping the handle, I tug. With my entire body weight, I pull. But instead of the door sliding open, it breaks free from the track, sending me reeling and my phone tumbling. Boxes of Home Shopping Network’s finest spills after, and my collection of band t-shirts and headphones tangles in between Fed-Ex and first-class mail. My borrowed suitcase takes up the rest of what little floor room exists.

I wiggle myself from under the door, attempting to ignore the pinch of my jeans in all the wrong places. With my foot, I slide the phone toward my outstretched hand and hope the glass hasn’t shattered. It’s the one connection I have to the outside world until school starts.

As I flip the phone over to check its DOA status, I mutter the first prayer I can think of. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. When my playlist stares back at me unharmed, I exhale all the air I’d been holding in my lungs. The only mantra I remember is now the patron prayer of cell phones.

I push myself from the floor only to crash into one of the million shelves lining my new room, each one holding Granny’s precious dolls. All of them look way too much like my mom for comfort. My arm shoots up to defend against another whacking, which sends one of Granny’s prized dolls careening toward the floor. 

I gasp, eyes wide. One hand props me up and the other holds my phone. And I can’t keep holding it and save the Mini-Mom plummeting to instant death. 

Tossing my phone toward the pile of boxes and shirts, I pray it lands on its back. My hand closes around stiff fabric just in time to save Ms. Porcelain from her ultimate demise. 

Granny’s forced smile and disappointed eyes flash before me like a near-death experience. She’d nod and tell me it was an accident, all the while picking up shards of its ceramic face like discarded tissues at a funeral. I’ve been here all of five minutes, and I’m already breaking her prized possessions. Creepy or not, these dolls mean the world to her. 

I place the Mini-Mom back on the shelf, smoothing her hair and lace frock as best as I can, hoping she looks all right. I try tucking the tag that brags the dolls origins under the stand, making it slump sideways. Exhaling a snort, I shake my head.

Seriously, who buys dolls designed by a weight-loss spokesperson?

I back away, parkouring the closet fallout to avoid another disaster and look for my phone. This time, when I reach for it, tiny fissures threaten my fingertips as I slide my hand over the screen. I hang my head. Once Mom sees the cracks, I’m going to be laid to sleep. No prayer needed.

I stack the boxes back in the closet Tetris-style. Somehow there are three left-overs, not to mention all my stuff I’m supposed to be unpacking to make myself comfortable, as Granny insists.

I try forcing just my favorite concert tee in between the hangers stuffed with doll clothes and hanging quilts. I can’t even get my hand in there, let alone make room for the rest of my life. 

I shove the shirts and a random bra back into the suitcase, ensuring they’d forever smell like eau d’old lady. I kick it under the bed causing a thunk and crunching of glass. I squeeze my eyes shut and cringe, waiting for the obligatory Are you all right call from Mom or Granny downstairs. 

When nothing comes, I rattle the box next to the suitcase. Broken glass whispers back. So much for that Deal of the Day. Now we’re both broken, tucked away into some back bedroom used to store things no one has room for anymore.

About the author

Born and raised in a small town in Northern California, Deborah Maroulis is lucky enough to surround herself with the things and people she loves. She teaches English and mythology at her local community college, studies myth and depth psychology in her Ph.D. program, and writes contemporary Young Adult novels. She lives in a slightly bigger town than the one she grew up in with her husband, newly-adult children, and her daughter’s very spoiled, semi-retired service dog.You can find her on Twitter as @yaddathree or through her website, 

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