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 meal time, 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.
Paperweight follows Stevie's journey as she struggles not only with this life-threatening eating disorder, but with the question of whether she can ever find absolution for the mistakes of her past…and whether she truly deserves to.
This book had a very beautiful arc and plot line with a lot of depth and some very well formed characters; however, I couldn't manage to connect to Stevie.
Seeing Stevie's perception of anorexia and her thoughts on the labels various eating disorders created was also very powerful and though I have no personal experience with the matter myself, I found it felt very real and poignant. There were no veils thrown over major issues and I admire this story for tackling these things in a way that feels very normal.
Stevie's plan didn't seem very feasible or quite real, and this I think was very telling.
Many characters in this story seemed to play small roles but served as really strong foils and managed to make an impact in the small space they had. Anna/Shrink was very humane and had an interesting backstory that led up to her job at the center. I loved Stevie's relationship with her roommate and how much of a contrast this relationship she provided, especially after how dismissive Stevie had been.
Stevie's parents were both well developed and had their own interesting characteristics that really added a lot to the story. Since ultimately a lot of Stevie's struggles had stemmed from this and had only been escalated by her connection to Josh, this was very telling and poignant.
But I really didn't connect to Stevie very much, and I found her backstory with Josh and Eden to be confusing. There was a lot more content that could have been fleshed out and I felt like Haston had a lot of backstory in her head that didn't make it onto the paper. If I had really felt for her, this book would have been much stronger.
Overall, this book deserves a lot of credit for creating such a real and poignant story with such a variety of characters and I look forward to reading more by Haston.