I received this book for free from St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Weightless by Sarah Bannan
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 30th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: St. Martin's Griffin
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When 15-year-old Carolyn moves from New 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 becomes 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 try to restore their popularity. Gossip and bullying hound 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.
There are plenty of books out there about suicide, bullying, and mental illness. I am drawn to them and love reading them. I think they are important. I think that it’s great to have books on topics like these for people who may be going through similar situations, know someone who is, or just because you like to be able to spread awareness about it. What makes this one different from a lot of the others that I have read is that it isn’t told from the victims POV. It’s not told through the bully’s POV. It isn’t even told by someone outside of the situations POV. It is told by someone who isn’t quite one of the direct bullies, but also isn’t just a random person. In fact, she had even been friends with Carolyn. And even more interesting, we never actually know the name of the person telling the story.
Carolyn has moved to a small town where everyone knows each other, and pretty much no one new ever comes around. There are cliques and groups of friends who have always hung out, and it’s surprising when she comes in right into the popular crowd. Everyone loves her and wants to know things about her. She is nice to everyone, and outwardly she is perfect. Then, when she chooses to date Shane, things start to get bad for her. Not horrible at first. In fact, a lot of her friends still stick with her. Then, when they break up and she starts dating someone elses boyfriend, that’s when things get really bad. People are awful. They say mean things, they post things on FB, and YouTube, and other websites. Gossip goes around and rumors spread. She still holds her own though. But how much can one person take? One person can only be pushed so far before they break.
What I really loved about this book was that it shows it’s not just the main bullies who are wrong. Yes, Gemma, Brooke, Shane, and the others are the worst. But what about the normal crowd. The ones who aren’t total social outcasts, but aren’t really popular either. They text around rumors, they might gossip and spread things here and there. Just because they aren’t doing anything directly, doesn’t mean they aren’t part of it. And they sure don’t do anything to help stop it. After the fact, they may think it wouldn’t have mattered anyways, but what if it did? That one encouraging thing. Letting the person being bullied know that they aren’t alone. Telling someone things that you have seen happen that aren’t right. Everyone who knows what is happening is part of the problem if they aren’t doing something to stop it. I know I sound really preachy about this, but it’s such an important topic to me. Words hurt just as much as actions, sometimes more. Social media makes it easier for people to hurt others that way and for more people to be part of it. Before I get all super emotional while writing this, I am going to wrap things up.
This story is powerful, and it shows how deep bullying goes. Not just from the people directly doing it, but others who don’t stand out. The ones who blend into the crowd. This was told in such a wonderful way with the narrator being one of the kids who doesn’t really fit into the popular group or the outcasts. One of the ones who wants to be popular and hangs out the same places as the popular kids, but never really is part of them. It is raw and honest. The thoughts come out unfiltered from the narrator. This book brought out a lot of emotions in me. It was similar to a lot of these types of books, but totally different in how it was told. I think this book should be in the hands of all teenagers and young adults. It does have some content in it that I would not recommend for younger teens, but it really was an amazing book.
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