Review: 'Paperweight' by Meg Haston

Monday, July 27, 2015


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?

The Big Picture: 
Overall, I didn't hate this book or love it. It was so-so for me.
Stevie annoyed me at first, but with time, I started to feel for her character. 
The plot was a bit dull. Not much happened. 
I liked that the story showed bulimia and anorexia in a different light. It showed the readers that these are real and  that they can change someone's life. 
The romance was lacking. It seemed to be a very tough relationship. 
The ending got me all teary-eyed and hopeful. 

Travel Companion:

If we traveled with the main character Stevie, she would be:

The Writer

She would create stories and poems from the tip of her pen. Worlds would appear. Fantasy and thrillers. Stevie would be a well-known writer who also gives her support to the eating disorder community. She would visit retreats and help girls get through their disorder.
We would meet Stevie at a bar or club. She would be flat-out drunk, and we would take her to our hotel room to recuperate. She would thank us, and we would recognize her as a famous writer. We would invite her to join us, and she would come with us because she would want to see the world.

I have to admit that I didn't like Stevie at first. She was rude and caustic. She was rude to everyone else. They didn't deserve that. Not at all. There was no reason to be angry at the other girls. Or even Anna the Shrink. They are just trying to help.
As the story continued, she gained depth. We got her backstory and who she was. I felt a little sad for her. Her life wasn't peachy. It had its bumps. Namely Josh's death and her mother's absence. They were bricks weighing her down. And she blamed herself.
I saw that she was great with words. She could make something terrible seem oddly haunting and beautiful. She used her knowledge and talent with words to make this book have a romantic touch. Her being a writer was a nice touch.

We are all a collection of lost causes, stashed here so no one has to see just how wounded we are.
Location 1847 'Paperweight'

Stevie pushed herself down. She lowered her self-esteem. She saw herself in a terrible light. Personally, I think everyone is amazing. Those who put themselves down. The ones who were hurt. They are strong and brave. And Stevie was too.
At first, her sour attitude put me off, but I started to feel compassionate about her situation. I may never want to be her or have her condition, but I can, and will, help her and people like her to the best of my abilities.

My body is both weapon and wound, predator and prey. I will self-destruct without any help.
Location 829 'Paperweight'

The Adventure Begins (And Ends):

The plot wasn't the most interesting thing in the world. I had only a few questions that needed to be solved. Why did Stevie blame herself? How did Josh die? Who was Eden? What's her importance?
And, most of all, will Stevie recover?
Throughout the book, these questions were answered. Eden and Josh's importance came by flashbacks.
I didn't like the drama. Josh was a good brother. He cared for Stevie. She didn't need to treat him like yesterday's news. Things happened. Life happened. The way we had this revealed to us was annoying. I wanted something more out of this book.
I was happy that we had her road to recovery because that's the most important part in my opinion.

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

This book didn't really have romance. The romance came from Eden mostly, and that can't be considered romance. It was more along the lines of domineering somebody. I didn't like that. I liked that it involved LGBT, but Eden was so...oppressing. She conquered people. She was the owner. I felt like she oppressed Stevie. She may have made Stevie feel something, but all I felt was annoyance. And a bit of rage. Eden was cruel to Stevie. Stevie deserved someone better.

Perks and Upgrades:

Eating disorders. I want to talk about this. Eating disorders are serious. They can cause health problems and even death. They aren't some passing matter.
I'm happy that this book showed bulimia in a different light. It showed the disorder as it really is. This book showed that eating disorders are real. It showed that eating disorders can control your life. I hated what happened to Stevie, but I appreciated the message this book carried.

I don’t need contact; don’t need food. I do not need.
Location 591 'Paperweight'

Eating disorders are serious. And if you have one, you can recover. (I know how lame that sounds, but it's true.)

You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

But at the end...I got teary. I felt the pangs of sadness and joy and hope. Stevie had hope. And that's important.
I wanted Stevie to get better. And it seemed like she would. She was stronger. Smarter. I admired her strength and determination.
Drama happened at the end of the book. Ashley. And Stevie's dad. And acceptance. And the Anniversary. I loved how Stevie finally accepted her life. She finally turned towards recovery. It's tough, but she could do it. And she did.

I hope people like Stevie read this book and know that they aren't alone.



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