Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Paperweight by Meg Haston. Before I get into my thoughts on this book, please be aware of trigger warnings for self-harm, eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia), and suicide both in the book and possibly in this review as well.

So, this was a really difficult read. Regardless of your personal life, this book deals with an extremely difficult issue in a very intense way. If any of the above triggers affect you, please, for your sake, proceed in this book with caution.

The story follows 17-year-old Stevie who has just been admitted to an eating disorder treatment clinic and is still reeling from her brother's death almost one year ago. I won't get into specifics with the plot because it is mostly about Stevie's recovery and treatment, as well as her moving on from her brother's death which she blames herself for.

I can't remember the last time I read such a hard hitting book. Haston really got to the nitty-gritty of this disease and you could tell it was very well researched. This is one of those books that doesn't romanticize the illness, it shows it for what it truly is. And this book shows Stevie's struggle with recovery in what I would imagine is a realistic way. She doesn't just wake up one morning magically cured. She works hard, fails sometimes, but she does her best and over time is able to get better.

I will admit that I almost put this book down a couple of times. I'm not sure if it was the pacing or the subject matter. I found the story a little slow at times, specifically in some of the flashback/memory moments. I felt like some of that information was unnecessary to the story as a whole but I'm not sure it took anything away, other than making the story drag a bit. The other possible reason I can think of for almost DNFing this one was the subject matter. I knew it would be a difficult read going in, but I didn't think it would be that heavy. Haston's descriptions are extremely realistic and there were times when I wasn't sure I would be able to get through it.

I'm not sure I connected with Stevie as well as I could have but I don't think that's a major issue because this book isn't about having a likable character, it is about having a character who overcomes her disease. There was nothing about Stevie that turned me off her, I think I just didn't connect with her because I didn't need to in order to feel her pain. Haston's writing transcends the need for a connection with the character - I still got the message.

I also really appreciated that this book was about Stevie and not some romance she finds at the treatment facility. So many other books throw a romance in there for no other reason than to lighten things up. Not that this book didn't need some lightening, but I'm glad Haston didn't fall into that trap where we need a romance to take over the story.

Overall, this was a hard book to read but it was extremely eye-opening for me.