Weightless

Weightless Book Cover Weightless
Sarah Bannan
Fiction
St. Martin's Press
2015-06-30
336

When 15-year-old Carolyn moves from&nbspNew Jersey to Alabama with her mother, she rattles the status quo of the junior class at Adams High School. A good student and natural athlete, she's immediately welcomed by the school's cliques. She's even nominated to the homecoming court and begins dating a senior, Shane, whose on again/off again girlfriend Brooke&nbspbecomes Carolyn's bitter romantic rival. When a video of Carolyn and Shane making out is sent to everyone, Carolyn goes from golden girl to slut, as Brooke and her best friend Gemma&nbsptry to restore their popularity. Gossip and bullying&nbsphound Carolyn, who becomes increasingly private and isolated. When Shane and Brooke-now back together-confront Carolyn in the student parking lot, injuring her, it's the last attack she can take.Sarah Bannan's deft use of the first person plural gives Weightless an emotional intensity and remarkable power that will send you flying through the pages and leave you reeling.

 

Review:

Everyone needs to read “Weightless”.  You are most likely not going to enjoy it.  It will make you uncomfortable.  If you are an adult, it will probably make you uncomfortable from two perspectives.  Read it anyway.

“Weightless” is written in first person singular, with the narrator never being identified aside from their inclusion through the use of “we.”  This is very difficult to pull off, but works perfectly in this situation.  At the beginning of the book, you already get the sense that you do not like this “we”, but are not sure why.  As it goes on, you begin to dislike them more and more.  Then it happens:  you are part of the we, unless you are an adult, in which case you were.  Maybe you weren’t a bully, but at some point in our lives, we all have looked the other way when we could have done something.  The adults are shown to do the same, especially when ignoring troubling social media, which has completely changed the landscape and ease of bullying.

Bullying, anorexia, mental illness, and peer pressure are all addressed in “Weightless”.  There is also a good dose of the hypocrisy that can be found through churches, schools, and civic groups.  Some of the things that occur are big events, but most of them are small and accumulate like a snowball.  It’s well-done and leaves you surprised even though you know, at least in a sense, how it will end.  The characters are fleshed out, but only in terms of how a peer would view them, which means an extremely unreliable narrator who is in denial throughout most of the book.

I recommend “Weightless” to those seventh grade and up, including adults. Being confronted with how easy it is to become unknowingly apathetic is a real eye-opener, and my hope is that it will help all of us pay attention and not miss a small opportunity to do something that will make a big difference.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

Sexual Situations, Language, Violence, Eating Disorders, Suicide, Bullying, Underage Alcohol Use

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