cover image The Weight of Zero

The Weight of Zero

Karen Fortunati. Delacorte, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-101-93889-8

Debut novelist Fortunati tackles social stigma and mental health realistically and honestly through the candid voice of Catherine Pulaski, a 17-year-old with bipolar disorder. Cath knows that Zero (“mania’s flip side”) will come for her—it always does—but she has a plan. She has been stockpiling and hiding pills so that when the debilitating depression of Zero finally returns, this suicide attempt will be successful, unlike her last one. Before that eventuality, Cath has a bucket list, one that includes losing her virginity and maybe finding a real friend. Cath is required to take part in group therapy after school, and although she initially resists it, she finds a few kindred spirits there; a blossoming romance with a classmate, Michael, also helps provide a sense of normalcy. Fearful of the stigma associated with bipolarity, Cath lies about her diagnosis to her new friends, which leads to complications. Fortunati doesn’t shy away from detailing Cath’s despair but is very clear that with treatment, there is hope. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (Oct.) [/em]