Salutations, my good people.
I am here with yet another book review. This review is for Weightless by Sarah Bannan. This was another BookOutlet purchase; I felt drawn to the story even though the summary was a little vague/generic. I really enjoyed reading it; it was something different that surpassed those early expectations.
Weightless is the story of a girl named Carolyn Lessing, who moves to Adamsville (read: small town), Alabama from New Jersey right before her junior year of high school. She is instantly envied and loved, and just a little bit hated (see again: envied). She is nice, talented and smart, and everyone wants to be her friend. She is immediately popular, and then she starts dating. She begins dating a senior, the ex-boyfriend of one of her classmates, and… things go from there.
The synopsis for this book is vague, as is my description, but because there is SO much in this book that you have to read for yourself. Ultimately, this is a book about bullying, but it’s also a book about small town life (especially in the South), and a book about mental health, and a book about hindsight being 20/20. It is written from the perspective of “we,” and the reader never finds out who “we” refers to, but probably because it can be any of us. There is a quote on the back of the book: “Weightless is an unflinching study of the slow cruelty of the crowd.” (Anne Enright, Man Booker Prize-Winning author of The Gathering) It stuck out to me before I read the book, and is even more startling afterward.
The characters are realistic, if not brutally so, which Sarah Bannan managed even writing from the “we” perspective. I had some pretty strong feelings about them, and they ranged from disgust to affection to disappointment and beyond.
I will admit that it took me a little while to get into this book. It actually pulled me in quickly, but the writing style, a kind of plural stream-of-consciousness, threw me off a bit, and I got stuck in that style for a little while. However, as I kept reading, the pages kept flying and I was in the middle of the book before I knew it. It is a book that definitely gathers steam before you’ve even realized it, and by the end I was in love with how the story was told. There are also little tidbits in the book presented via different forms of media, which lend some insight to what is going on.
I think the best part about the book is that it tells a complete story while still trusting the reader to put together their own version of the events that make it up, and that seems particularly masterful. This was Sarah Bannan’s debut novel, and I can’t wait for what she comes up with next! I gave this book 4 stars, and I will definitely read it again sometime. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA “issue” books that are more than just that, and who appreciates a slow burn, yet high intensity read.
Well, that’s all that I have about this for now! Please discuss in the comments if you’ve read this book (or want to), and I will catch up with you all in my next post.