The Weight Of Zero by Karen Fortunati (5 out of 5)

I usually have a hell of a time getting into teen books dealing with suicide and any aspects of it. I lost my mom to it 20 years ago and it’s still hard. I have read quite a few books dealing with this as either the focal point of the lead character or a plot device, and often I run screaming into a wall. This book? Happily, NOT the case! This is out from the folks at Penguin Random House on October 11, 2016. I would not be surprised if it is one of the best young adult novels out this fall. I hope the author has an author event or a dinner in Chicago this fall. I would love to meet her and ask a ton of questions. Not too many, though, because this book actually has a beginning, middle, and end, unlike some of the piddling buckets of SOP I have read in the YA genre in the last month. It has not been the best of times with those I picked up to read in July. This broke the mold, in so many ways! 

Catherine is a 17-year old dealing with bipolar disorder. The crushing depression that holds hands with her bipolar disorder (named “Zero”) is something she deals with everyday. And it seems to be winning the battle when Catherine begins stockpiling her meds for an eventual end to the madness that consumes her. This wouldn’t be the first time Zero has won; Catherine has already tried to commit suicide once before. She doesn’t plan on any intervention by fate, but unexpected new faces and a new psychiatrist bring her to a new level of understanding her mental illness. The very real precipice Catherine is on suddenly has some stability, but is it enough to keep Zero away, perhaps for good? Catherine’s story is one hard fought battle after battle, and the reader feels it keenly. The reader is also on Catherine’s side from the start of the novel. I was never so happy to see the end of the book, because it’s a realistic ending to one hell of a wonderful character. I hope anyone who grapples with mental illness of any kind reads this and finds the hidden rays of light among the pages. And Catherine? Definitely one of my favorite YA characters in a long time. I strongly encourage you to put this on your to-be-read lists for the fall. 

~ by generationgbooks on July 31, 2016.

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