Paperweight by Meg Haston [Spoiler-Free Review]



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 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.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

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Despite the name of this novel, Paperweight is not a light-hearted read. This book deals with a multitude of heavy subjects, including eating disorders, anxiety and death. It was quite difficult to read at times, but I’m glad I pushed through.

Death is not an exact science, which is irritating for those of us who appreciate precision.

I’ll admit throughout the first half of the novel that Stevie is hard to love. She is cold and mean. But as most situations, bitterness typically stems from a source of guilt. Being that Stevie wanted to take her own life, I knew there was more behind her story and why she was behaving in such a way.

As always, I was right, because when am I wrong? (JK. I am almost always wrong.)

Stevie, among the other side characters, were very rich and layered. They each had their own pasts and their pain. Their own personalities that reflected their weaknesses and issues. Again, it was challenging at times to be reading about these characters living through such a difficult time. I did begin to feel the pain and anxiousness as if it was my own.

Promise was like a precious stone, she told me: hypnotizing, but after a while the weight of it could sink you.

I don’t suffer from any eating disorders, but as far as my knowledge goes, I think Haston approached the subject beautifully and accurately. (And I’m now realizing in the acknowledgments that Haston actually suffered from an eating disorder herself and says she’s tried her best to represent it). This, of course, is always very refreshing to have a disorder or mental illness represented fairly, because for those who suffer, they will realize they aren’t alone in their struggles. And that is SO important.

We’re meant to be part of a we. Something bigger, something outside of ourselves.

Paperweight is certainly not the easiest read. It is heavy and painful, but I think it’s so incredibly important to read and learn about. By familiarizing ourselves with topics we do not know of, we understand others in ways we would not have been able to before. And in a society where we are able to understand one another, we find peace.

(Did I just make this review political? Maybe. Because I just McCain’t help it.)

Rating: ★★★


Let’s Chat

Have anyone here read Paperweight? If so, what are your thoughts? What books have you read that discuss mental illnesses? Any recommendations? As always, leave your recs, thoughts, comments or questions down below!



Review: Queen of Hearts


The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts.

Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.

Evil is brewing in Wonderland and maybe, most frighteningly, in Dinah herself.

Colleen Oakes’s vivid reimagining of Wonderland proves heroes can become villains and fairy tales can become nightmares. Readers will delight in this fresh take on an infamous villain. 

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Queen of Hearts was such a quick and enthralling read that is sure to grip onto your mind and drag you down into its dark depths. Once again, Colleen Oakes weaves a creepy and intricate retelling that keeps you in wonder.

I really loved the array of characters and their traits, particularly Charles–an adaption of the Mad Hatter. He was a strange and crazy boy, but you couldn’t help but care for him. And his hats! They sounded so gorgeous and intricate, ranging from all colors with feathers and branches and hearts and basically anything you could imagine. I would definitely like to have a few hats myself.

These characters were extremely interesting, so I would’ve loved to even see more of them. I do understand this is the first in a trilogy, but I would’ve enjoyed an expansion on each character. I think this novel actually could’ve been longer all the way around to allow more room for details with the settings and character development, along with more scenes.

With that said, I appreciate that this wasn’t a romance based story. That is SO refreshing, especially in a young-adult novel. I loved the theme of this story, for the rule of power and control. I liked that Dinah, the main character, wasn’t all that lovable, that she  It’s normal for humans to have flaws, especially in scenarios such as these. Dinah wanted to finally have control in her life, to have a say in the way she was treated and the kingdom was ruled.

I will (not) patiently await the next installment of the series, Blood in Wonderland, and to see this story come to life on the big screen.

Rating: ★★★★☆


Have you read Queen of Hearts? If so, what did you think? What’s your favorite fairytale and its retelling? Leave any recommendations, along with your thoughts and comments, down below!