Synopsis: 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.
200words (or less) review: Sarah Bannan’s debut is about a subject most of are all too familiar with: bullying. Whether as victims, bystanders or perpetrators.
Carolyn is the new girl, she’s pretty and different but still belongs somehow. She goes out with one of the most popular guys in school, something his ex-girlfriend does not like. Then when they break up the campaign really kicks off.
Admittedly it took me a while to get used to the narration style of this book (first-person plural), it’s an effective way to tell Carolyn’s story. Our narrator never has a name and everything is ‘we’. They are part of the story but remove themselves and their responsibility in this way. Consequently I felt outside of the story myself, not as emotionally involved as I would have liked to be.
Did the school enough? What about the parent’s? asks the outside. What about Carolyn herself? narrator responds. The story takes place over a whole year, chartering the rise and fall of Carolyn at the hands her tormentors and those that once were her friends.
Weightless narration makes this book stand out and I thought that the second half in particular was good. Certainty leaves you thinking…