Review Tour... Weightless by Sarah Bannan, A Must Read!

Weightless
Written by Sarah Bannan
Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published April 1st 2015
352 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
Adamsville wasn't a place that people came to. It was a place you were from, where you were born, where you were raised, where you stayed...

Before Carolyn Lessing arrived, nothing much had ever happened in Adamsville, Alabama. Each week, at dinner tables and in the high school assembly, everyone would pray for the football team to win. Each year, the Adams High Hotlist would be updated, and girls would rise and fall within its ranks. Each day, everyone lived by the unwritten rules that cheerleaders did not hang out with the swim team, seniors did not date freshmen and the blistering heat was something that should never be remarked upon. But then the new girl came.

All Carolyn's social media could reveal was that she had moved from New Jersey, she had 1075 friends, and she didn't have a relationship status. In beach photos with boys who looked like Abercrombie models she seemed beautiful, but in real life she was so much more. She was perfect.

This was all before the camera crews arrived, before it became impossible to see where rumour ended and truth began, and before the Annual Adamsville Balloon Festival, when someone swore they saw the captain of the football team with his arm around Carolyn, and cracks began to appear in the dry earth.
Welcome to small town Adamville's Alabama, where clean and wholesome living take precedence and nothing ever changes. That is until fifteen year old Carolyn arrives. The daughter of a single mother and having just moved from New Jersey, glamorous compared to the small country town she now calls home. In the eyes of the townspeople, Carolyn is the image of perfection. Petite, silky hair and a novelty. It isn't long before she catches the eye of Shane, star football player and Adamville royalty, still very much attached to town sweetheart and minister's daughter Brooke. And that's where the trouble with Carolyn began. Or so they say.

In a town fueled by gossip and prayer, Carolyn is now the center of attention and the focal point for rumour and innuendo. In the age of social media, she is targeted online with every aspect of her life documented by images taken without her consent. Suddenly, Carolyn's hair isn't so silky, her designer wardrobe reduced to old rags and she's no longer the new girl welcomed with open arms. She's the local slut, the girl who overdoses and engages in underage drinking, everything the town and parish stands against. Carolyn is shrinking before their eyes, but of course she's nothing more than an attention seeker. Or so they say.

In the hypocritical and judgmental town of Adamsville, they'll still talk about Carolyn. A small town legacy where even praying can't help them now.


Weightless was dark, confronting and enthralling read, where the reader is told Carolyn's story via a group of unnamed girls. They gossip, speculate and form their story and opinions on hearsay, making for a dangerous and disturbing read. Carolyn in the new girl in a small town where no one ever moves to. All they have is their appearances and prayer, rallying behind their local football team where the boys never do no wrong. They all attend church, where sermons are delivered warning against drinking, drug abuse and having loose morals are seen as a way to expel yourself from heaven. Where the minister's daughter smiles, the good girl who is dating the football champion and a vision of pure young adults that all teens should strive to emulate.

But behind the smiles and country festivals lies a destructive community, where gossip reigns free and hypocrites never practice what they preach. Then Carolyn arrives. Carolyn is beautiful, intelligent and exotic. Wearing the latest designer threads, silky hair and dewy skin, girls flock to be her friend, increasing their own popularity by just being in her orbit. So naturally the former queen of Adams High sets her sights on the new girl, after all, she's just taken her boyfriend, her status and her life. Brooke is a vengeful and dangerous girl, determined to destroy Carolyn and her reputation in order to become the golden girl of Adamsville once more. 

Weightless was a realistic and remarkable story of extreme bullying, and by a town who aided in one innocent girls demise. Incredibly unique, the reader is given a recount of what happened from the moment Carolyn arrived in town, by a group of teen girls who aided in the gossip and innuendo surround Carolyn's life, leaving the reader powerless to alter the outcome. I was completely immersed within the storyline, intrigued, disgusted, appalled and angry. The very real and raw portrayal about the power we have to change just one life through our actions, or inaction in Carolyn's case. Seeing the once bright and friendly girl fade away was absolutely heartbreaking, and often left me feeling physically ill.

Carolyn was let down by everyone who turned a blind eye, especially the young group of girls who narrate Carolyn's story. So naive but hardly innocent, these collective group of girls would listen in on conversations and then dissect it at length, often relaying information in the hope to make themselves more popular. A small snapshot of Carolyn's life, then posted for the world to see. They added fuel to the fire at every opportunity, so enamored with the girl that they ultimately played a major role in her demise.
We were busy with our own stuff and, plus, there were things she just should have known.
And the chatter got louder and louder and the texts came more and more often. She should have really quit while she was ahead. Carolyn, that is.
Later, we talked about how we could have said something, could have told a teacher or our parents, or flushed the toilet or coughed or cleared our throats. But we didn't do anything. And we didn't say anything. It wasn't our business. Not really.
I was seething. This group of girls made it their business. They listened to gossip, they passed judgement. They fanned the lies in order for the fire to spread, then washed their hands at their involvement.

Sarah Bannan is a phenomenal author. A storyline that needs to be told and a book that demands to be read. If you've ever been a perpetrator, an enabler or someone that has turned a blind eye to bullying, take note. Carolyn's story may be fictional, but in our schools, workplaces and online, this happens all too often. It only takes one person to take a stand and make a difference. Bullying destroys lives, and by not taking action you're as simply guilty as the perpetrators. 


You can now read an excerpt of Weightless by clicking here.


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With thanks to Bloomsbury Australia and Sarah Bannan, I'm giving away three copies of Weightless.
Entries open to Australian residents only.

30 comments

  1. When it comes to bullying, I feel like it is WORSE when people sit there, feeling sorry for the girl, but ultimately do nothing and later on, after the bullying leads someone to alter their life in a horrendous way they feel bad but still blame the victim. I could never understand someone who could sit there and watch it and do nothing. I was always the kind of person who stepped in and said hey stop being an asshole or told a teacher or adult until someone DID something. I don't think I could read this book, it would break my heart though it does sound awesome! Thanks for sharing and wonderful review! :)

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    1. Me too Sarah and Weightless really highlights that mentality too. The collective group of girls narrating the storyline were a big part of the rumour mill that ultimately begun Carolyn's downfall. You really should take a chance on this one Sarah, it's challenging but such an important read.

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  2. This sounds like such an intriguing read - a bit like Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides in that it is narrated by a bunch of town girls and a bit like Chocolat in that it's about a town's "war" almost against the new girl. It sounds dark, but also as though it has a very important message behind it. I would love to read it!

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    1. I haven't heard of that one Mawa, but will definitely be checking it out now. I was thinking it reminded me a little of the vendetta the very religious town had against the new kid in Footloose, pretty close actually. Hiding behind their prayers, while their own children are guilty of everything they've accused Carolyn of. An absolutely incredible read, I can't wait until you grab a copy!

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  3. This looks promising! I've seen this cover all the time I didn't expect it to be so... deep and kind of dark? But I'm really interested! I admit that I stay away from books that deals with bullying because it triggers something in me but maybe its time to get out of the comfott zone! :) Thanks Kelly for the wonderful review <3

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    1. YES! Paula, you need this book in your life. It's so confronting and as a reader, you feel so powerless as to what's happening to Carolyn. I can't wait to see what you think of it Paula.

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  4. I've been meaning to read this one! I absolutely love the sound of it and from the synopsis, I got that Weightless was going to be a pretty sad and emotional story but you make it seem like there's so much hidden depth that's just going to impact me so much. Great review Kelly! I really can't wait to read this one!

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    1. There really is Lily, it's one of those books that really has the potential to change your life. The narrative is something I haven't seen before, and it takes a little getting used to at the beginning, but it will honestly blow you away. It's so real and raw and I can't wait to see what you think of it.

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think of it Sarah, it's absolutely phenomenal.

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  6. The cover looks catchy & I do like the sound of the premise, I've seen this review around so I'm hoping it's as amazing as your review sounds, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
    <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. Thanks Benish and I can almost guarantee you will, it's absolutely brilliant and the style of writing is so incredibly unique.

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  7. This book sounds WONDERFUL. The synopsis intrigued me, but what with the "perfection" of the main character, I was worried it might get a little annoying/shallow, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. The story sounds powerful and uniquely-told enough to stand out against other books about similar topics. And I LOVE stories set in the kind of town where most people are born, grow up, and never leave (mostly because I'm so glad I don't live in one - I can't imagine staying in the same place for my whole life!), and I love close-minded settings too. I'm glad it looks like this book is being published in the USA too because I need it in my life. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

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    1. You're welcome Emily and it truly is. It was such a powerful read that will stay with me for a long time to come. I'm so glad I don't live in one either, I can't imagine being under that kind of scrutiny every day. I can't wait to see what you think of it, so incredibly emotional and poignant, life changing.

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  8. This is interesting. I like that Carolyn's story is told in a collective 3rd person narrative. I typically avoid any stories with bullying just for the reason that I can't handle it. It makes me mad to see someone - anyone get victimized especially if that person is faultless to begin with.

    Great review, Kelly!

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    1. It was really different Joy, but I really enjoyed it's uniqueness. Such an important story that needs to be told, how not only our actions but inactions can alter someones life. It was such a power and poignant read that really takes you out of your comfort zone. I'd love to see a copy of this in school's all around the world. I can't imagine any teen reading this who wouldn't be affected by it's powerful message.

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  9. Oh oh this sounds really freaky. And kinda AMAZING. Basically I want to read it, but I say that for like all the books of ever so I dare say no one is taking me seriously anymore. *pouts* BUT I'M GONNA READ ALL THE BOOKS OF EVER. The only thing that's worrying me about this one is, is it always narrated in the "we" style? I read a book like that and it kinda didn't work for me. But I'm slightly fussy.

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    1. It is, but it's the same girl from the collective group. It sounds odd, but it allows the reader to me part of the whispers and rumours and watch what's happening and defenseless to help. It's incredible, but so powerful as well. Usually third person narratives aren't my thing, but this absolutely blew me away.

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  10. Oh, wow. This really does sound so confronting and something that would really engage the reader in a range of intense emotions. I've read books like this before that tackle victim-blaming, bullying, slut-shaming and they never, ever fail to make me seethe as well. This is the kind of book I take my while reading because otherwise, the rage would consume me and I would see red. I easily emphathize with the characters, you see >_<

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. It's absolutely brilliant Faye, so emotional and it's told in such a unique format from the point of view of a collective group of girls. You need a copy Faye, it's one of the best books I've read so far this year.

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  11. You sold me with the POV narration! Hearing "the story" from group of unnamed girls? It sounds wicked, and so wrong, but oh so right to say the least. Also, it's good, from time to time, to read fictional stories that are based on realities that we often wish to avoid (sad, but true). Great review Kelly! :)

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    1. Thanks Claudia. I love reading something that takes me out of my comfort zone, and this one is so incredibly powerful and a must read. The unique style of narration is not one that I've come across before, but it really adds to the story, placing the reader as a bystander while Carolyn's life begins to fall apart. I can't praise this book enough, it was incredible.

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    2. I can't wait to experience this for my own! I've already added the book to my Goodreads TBR & entered the Giveaway! :D

      By the way, I too am beginning to discover that we have a lot in common; I just love the blogging community and how we can connect with other like minded people <3

      Have a wonderful week Kelly!

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  12. Reading the synopsis just bums me out. That anything like this would ever happen in real life is just heartbreaking :/

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    1. Sadly, it seems to happen all too often Alyssa that I think as a society, that we've almost become immune to it. I would love to see this book in all school libraries, it shows how we have the ability to destroy lives with our words and would be a real eyeopener for teens all over the world.

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  13. Wow, I love the sound of this book and how it's narrated by other characters who kind of justify to themselves the amount of bullying they dish out. It sounds kind of disturbing really, but I'm really digging the unique perspective. Thanks for the giveaway as well Kelly! Great review!

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  14. LOVED your review and the book! I've been stalking all the other members of the book tour, hehehe ;p
    It was so crazy, I was so close to believing the whole thing had happened (although sadly, similar things have).. For me this was def one of those, 'I'm re-evaluating my life' books!

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  15. I don't think I'll be able to read such a book. It's too upsetting for me to venture into such a story plot. But I'm intrigued at the different take since this isn't told in the main character's perspective. Anyway, wonderful review as always! :)

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

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  16. Oh god this book sounds like it tackles this issue in such a gritty and raw manner, something that I've yet to read. Although horrendous, I'm so curious about the technique of hypocrisy used in this book and it sounds like such a page turner! Will definitely pick up my copy asap! FABULOUS REVIEW KELLY! <3

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  17. This book sounds so dark, and i think that would make it a difficult read. It seems so compelling though, and the fact that you rated it high makes me very curious. I love your review!

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