Published by HarperTeen on July 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, PSYCHOLOGY, Young Adult
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via Edelweiss
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.
Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.
Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.
In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?
This was such a touching story. Paperweight follows a girl through her stay at a treatment center for her anorexia/bulimia. She is so lost, her story was very hard to put down.
Stevie is planning to kill herself. Her anorexia/bulemia has a purpose. She wants to die on the anniversary of her brother’s death. The brother she killed. Stevie’s plan is thwarted when her father sends her to a treatment center just twenty seven days before the date. Stevie doesn’t realize there is no escape when she is watched twenty four hours a day. She thinks she is very different from the other girls at treatment. She thinks she is alone. As Stevie’s story is revealed we get a real look into the reasons why self hate can cause people to starve themselves to death.
I really enjoyed this story. I think the author did a stellar job of setting up the treatment for Stevie. I know this is actually what it looks like, because I worked at ED treatment center before. From the forced meals to the rules for eating, this book is really honest. Stevie has honest reactions to help she doesn’t want. Her reasoning is so real. People feel that way sometimes. I enjoyed getting to hear Stevie’s story, in bits and pieces that were too raw to reveal all at once. We don’t get any numbers in this story, making the reader imagine all sorts of things for Stevie. How thin was she really? Her past includes episodes of binge drinking and that is something she deals with as well as her war with food.
Stevie is so reluctant to attach herself to anyone and refuses to accept the help she is given. Stevie’s character grows by leap and bounds in this story. It takes a long time and she doesn’t come to grips with everything all at once. It is the way a real person would recover, if recovery was possible. I found myself so swept up in her story that I read into the wee hours of the night. This story was really thought provoking and honest. I highly recommend it.
About the Author
Meg Haston is the author of How to Rock Braces and Glasses and How to Rock Best Friends and Frenemies. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida, where she writes and works as a counselor in an independent school. Paperweight is her first young adult novel.