By: Sarah Bannan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: July 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: July 27, 2015
Sarah Bannan writes a disturbingly real account of the damage and wreckage that is left in the wake of bullying in her debut novel, Weightless.
It’s a hot and steamy August afternoon on the athletic field of Adams High School in small town, Adamsville, Alabama. Summer is nearly over and it’s the perfect time for a pep rally to prepare students for the imminent return to the school year ahead. It doesn’t matter that the temperature is oppressively sticky and hot. Of course, you’d never know it by watching star cheerleader Taylor Lyon as she shakes her stuff and does her thang to the envy of all the lower class wannabees. Taylor is perfect with her nearly red, but mostly auburn, hair. Ever since kindergarten, she was picked first for everything. Enter Gemma Davies; another example of flawlessness and envy with her beautiful blonde hair and ‘best personality’ title. It didn’t matter that she was only going to be a junior; her boyfriend Andrew Wright was a rising senior which definitely was a status boost. She is the daughter of the town’s preacher man and Gemma can do no wrong. The trifecta and without question, the one calling all the shots, however, is Brooke Moore. She is the epitome of perfection and the constant envy of her peers with her trendy bob haircut and flawless skin. Rumor had it she never had a zit. Her eyes were a perfect shade of brown and no girl would deny spending hours in front of the mirror fitfully attempting to master their eyeliner application to that of Brooke’s Neutrogena look. Her greatness, however, is solidified by her boyfriend, Shane. He is the captain of the football team. Sadly, all this ‘it girl’ utopia is about to be compromised when newcomer Carolyn Lessing arrives on the scene.
Summer’s last hurrah is upon the quiet little community of Adamsville. Hot air balloons took to the sky early Saturday morning for the Sky Sprint. It was the beginning of the Annual 3M Adamsville Balloon Festival at Harper’s Memorial Field. The festival organizers were prepared to deal with intermittent rowdiness and shenanigans and overall, this year’s event would deliver a successful outcome once again...mostly. Nobody was prepared for the final curtain of the day’s events when star footballer Shane (and boyfriend of Brooke Moore) sits down next to best friend Andrew and places his arm around new girl Carolyn Lessing...
Sarah Bannan delivers a compelling and extremely real account of the egregious irrefutable damage bullying imposes on the innocence of adolescence. This is a situation that lurks among many young groups and perhaps it is part of a child’s ‘rite of passage,’ but oh-so wrong. Her character development is spot on. Bannan has precision focus on the development of mean girl Brooke’s persona. She is diabolical and formidable and will stop at nothing and constantly keeps her eye on the prize of revenge, no matter the cost. The victim, Carolyn Lessing, dared to be different. Her ‘new girl’ tag is brazenly obvious and superbly applied by Bannan. As a parent of two girls—one still in the vortex of navigating through her journey of high school acceptance, the book had me applauding Bannan often for painting an incredibly accurate (and disturbing) picture of reality with her words. Weightless is a solid reminder that while this may be a work of ‘fiction,’ the sublime elements of reality rise to the surface often throughout this read. Great job Ms. Bannan! I look forward to your next book.
Quill says: Weightless is a must read for any parent who has faced the three-headed dragon with a child who has been bullied or is the bully!