Book Reviews, Young Adult

Review: Paperweight by Meg Haston

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. 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.
–Back cover of Paperweight by Meg Haston

If you’re into beautifully emotional books then this book is for you. This book will tear your heart out, but it won’t stop there. After your heart is torn out, the book will continue to tear it into tiny little pieces. So, if that’s your thing, go for it.

This book is really well written. It is obvious that the author knew what she was talking about when she wrote this book, and it is so important to show mental illness for what it really is. This book does not hold back. It does not romanticize it. This is, in my opinion, one of the best books that talk about eating disorders. So often I see books that talk about mental illness solely so that someone can fall in love with the mentally ill person and show that they’re still lovable even if they’re “messed up.” This book states it for what it is. It isn’t a personality quirk. It is an illness.

Haston told Stevie’s story of recovery in a realistic and entertaining way.

I liked most of the side characters, but I did not like Stevie very much. She is a very bitter and, at times, whiny character. I just found her annoying and a bit frustrating throughout the book, but I think that is how she was supposed to come across. I don’t really think she was supposed to be likable because her illness had changed some aspects of her personality. She very strongly judged people by their weight. However, the side characters made up for this for the most part. I really liked them.

The thing that bothered me about the book was the author’s use of flashbacks. Personally, I think that flashbacks are an example of poor writing. I think that there were other ways that she could have portrayed this aspect of the story. The present was interesting and the past was interesting, but I did not like how she transferred between the two.

I give this book four out of five stars.