Paperweight by Meg Haston
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?
Publishes in US: July 7th 2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: ya contemp eating disorders
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Book Depository
Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~facebook
I wanted to read Paperweight because I am drawn to books about heavy issues such as mental illness and eating disorders. As most of you know, I deal with mental illness and I have always had a lot of body image issues and have struggled with not eating, binge eating and purging. Luckily the anorexic and bulimic behaviors are no longer something I personally struggle with, they are such vital topics to talk about. I find it therapeutic when reading books like these, when it is handled realistically, with sensitivity and doesn't hold back on the emotional involvement.
Stevie, the main character in Paperweight has just entered into treatment. She is not at the place where she wants help, or believes that she needs it. She actually wants her disorder to kill her, or at the very least, guilt over her brother's death, which she considers her fault, makes her want to die. That aspect, her feeling like her brother's death was her fault is another reason I was curious about this one. I know that survivor's guilt and grief has a way of distorting reality, so I wanted to know what really happened and how that ties into the person she is today, with the struggles she has.
I liked the relationships that she formed there, even though she was really reluctant at first. She had a very good therapist who was open with her, and was good at asking the right questions. She realized when she pushed too hard and she was awesome enough to apologize. Her roomie and her got off to a rough start, but I liked the bonds that they ended up forming. They shared parts of their past, and she realized what a non-judgmental and supportive friendship could be like.
The flashbacks showing her relationship with her brother were really nice. They of course are colored by her guilt and things she wished she had done differently. This is a great use of sibling dynamics, and I love how he was a big brother and tried to be there for her and also protect her. He was the only one who noticed and addressed her adversarial relationship with food and the weight that she lost. In her memories we also get to meet her friend Eden. They had a complicated relationship, but she is the one who introduced and facilitated Stevie's drinking. Stevie had to realize a lot about that friendship and that it was unhealthy for her.
The character growth in this one was pronounced but realistic. It took a lot for her to realize that she was sick and to have the desire to want to change, and beat her illness. Nothing was a miracle or over night cure, which is true to life, but it was a big catalyst that helped her want to change, and realize that she can honor her brother by living, instead of the warped idea that her death on the anniversary would somehow be big enough event for the year anniversary since he died.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you have a nickname?