Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Title: Weightless
Author: Sarah Bannan
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Bloomsbury

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.
Review by Nara

Weightless is yet another YA book about bullying taken to an extreme, destructive level. But unlike many of the other books out there, it does offer something new: a first person plural perspective. You're never actually told who the narrator is, and this is overall actually a pretty good decision by the author: it makes it chillingly realistic- anyone, absolutely anyone, could be watching these events unfold and doing nothing about it. It's never "I", it's always "we"- a group of people who stand by and don't interfere while a girl is horrifically bullied.

An aspect where the book fell a bit short were the characters- they were strongly stereotyped, with almost all of the characters, especially the main bullies/villains, having basically no personality or defining traits other than being pretty and hating on the new girl. Even the main group of characters seem to have no particular standout characteristics other than being gossips that try and blend in with the crowd. Carolyn is perhaps the only student who has a bit of a personality, but even then, it's not the best developed. Then again, you do get the sense that all the characters aren't fully developed on purpose- to accentuate that feeling that these characters could be anyone, that this could be happening anywhere.

I have a feeling that this is definitely a book that many teens could identify with. Although maybe they (like me) may not have encountered bullying to such a severe degree, there are definitely still aspects of the book that are chillingly familiar.

Liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 2/5