5 starsYoung Adult

Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Weightless Book Cover Weightless
Sarah Bannan
Fiction, Young Adult
June 30th 2015

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.

ARIANNA’s Review

5 Stars!!

“She was thin before, and she was thinnier now—we tried to get the guys to say it was gross, to say that they liked to have something to hold on to. But they didn’t say much and deep down, or maybe not even that deep, we wanted her body to be ours. To know what it would be like to be that light, to be that invisible, to be weightless—that was something we wanted to know.“

‘Weightless’ was a gut wrenching, though-provoking story that moved me so much I can’t even describe. It was one of the best YA novel and for sure it’s the best book with this subject matter I’ve read so far. The subject matter? Bullying. Reading this book I felt like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest. It rarely happens for a reason or another to put a book aside, but with this book I had to. I took several breaks from reading it, simply because I felt too much. I didn’t like want I was feeling. I loved this book, but I didn’t enjoy it. Needless to say this book didn’t make me happy. Not at all! It made me so angry…I don’t have words to tell you how angry and full of rage I was at times.

We all know what bullying is and how can affect someone emotionally. We all are different from each other. And we all feel differently. For so many reasons Carolyn’s case, the heroine in this novel is the worst and reading her story you will figure out why.

This book is about Carolyn Lessing, a 15 years old girl who moves with her mother from New Jersey to Adamsville, Alabama. Carolyn is smart, funny, friendly and…thin. She loves sports and art, she’s good at everything. She’s a role model. She seems perfect. Carolyn is simply different from anyone. She never expected to be so welcomed by this small community, by all the kids (apparently), by all her teachers. And she certainly didn’t expect to become so popular in a very short time. But she did. Every girl wants to be like her or to be her friend and (maybe) every boy wants to be her boyfriend.

But what Carolyn doesn’t know is that this high school in the small city of Adamsville has its own dynamic and its own rules. Rules that not even a new, popular girl like her can change. Everything changes for her (and not only) when she starts dating one of the star football players.

‘Weightless’ was wonderfully written in a strange, but very unique way and like I mentioned earlier moved me beyond words. It was compelling, haunting, raw and so real. The realness of the story was heartbreaking and the writing was evocative and so honest. It was so powerful than even if the story it’s not told from first POV, you feel and see everything. It’s also a gripping story. At first you are curious to know what will happen with Carolyn, who is ‘we’ and after, when you know for sure that ‘something’ will happen you continue reading because you are curious how everything will progress. It goes without saying this book it’s relatable and also eye-opening.

The narrator of this book it’s not the bullied, Carolyn, like I expected. It’s not the bully either. It’s ‘we’. Who is this ‘we’? Well, I guess it’s debatable. ‘We’ could mean those who witnessed the bullying or all of us who choose not to do anything when we witness this cruel and ugly behavior. This was my first time reading a book written in the first book plural. I admit at first it was a little weird. After reading a couple of chapters I got used to it and after reading some more I found it fascinating. IMO it was perfect because of the sensitive subject matter. The story was more gripping in some way because of it.

Everyone in this small town is very religious. Every Sunday all of them go to church…but not to pray or anything. Just…for other reasons. Religion and Christianity play a certain role here, but there are not ‘real’. These people are not good Christians. They are false. Every one of them. As for the bullying, every character is guilty for what happens with Carolyn – the teachers, the other kids and even Carolyn’s mother. Every one of them see or suspect something, but they choose not to do anything, because it’s not their problem, because they were not for what’s going on (bullshit), because it’s not their responsibility. It’s easier to look the other way, right? These people made me sick. They disgusted me. I can’t even…

And her mother…God…how clueless can you be as a mother. You live with your daughter and you don’t have any idea what’s going on in ‘her’ life or that she has a mental collapse?!

I was fortunate not to be bullied and I didn’t ‘have the pleasure’ to witness bullying so I can’t say I related with Carolyn or that I really comprehended her, but even if the story is not written from her perspective, I didn’t feel like I was needing more (her POV), because the story is told in such a way you practically are the bully as much as you are the bullied. And also like I mentioned earlier you are ‘we’. As a reader you know when she mentally collapses. You ‘see’ the change and you wonder what will happen next. The bullying aspect is done well. The bullies hurt her, humiliates her and harms her physically and emotionally. They destroy her with each and every day and eventually they completely kill her spirit. I’m not gonna lie, it was difficult to read at times what happened with Carolyn. Her story brought tears to my eyes more than once. Her story was terrifying. I felt what she felt and it was heartbreaking.

Another aspect that is done really well is the cyberbullying. These days, preteens and teens spend a lot of time socializing online. We get to see here the role of social media in bullying. Maybe this cyberbullying is not as worse as ‘the real bullying’, but is still bullying and can affect everyone one of us differently. Carolyn was affected by all of it and it was heartbreaking to see it, to witness it. She was so lonely and lost…God, I wanted so badly to give her a hug.

As for ‘we’ represents those who witness bullying and choose not to be involved in any way. But they are worse than that. They spy and gossip, they don’t respect Carolyn’s privacy and this way they contribute to the bullying. Maybe they are as worse as the bullies. Who knows?!

I would recommend this book to any teenager and parent out there and to any reader who wants to read something powerful, real, honest, emotional and educative.

“Years later, when things did start to feel more normal, the guilt would kick in. You did something horrible. And you’re too horrible to even realize it.”