The Weight of Zero Review

Today’s book is something different for me.


Today’s book dives into mental illness, a subject that can often be overlooked. Let’s take a look at The Weight of Zero.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt.

Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a
matter of time.

And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list.

The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it.

This is a story of loss and grief and hope, and how some of the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—affect a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and the stigma of treatment.


Tawney’s Review: This book has a powerful subject on the mental disorder of Bipolar. Our main character Catherine has dealt with the disorder all her life. It has been really tough on her so much so that she made an suicide attempt. Everything normal in her life went away the day her grandmother died.


We follow Catherine though her ups and down of the disorder. Here friend’s abandoned her after she told them about her disorder. Now they harass her. But Catherine get’s the help she needs with a new psychiatrist and an Intensive Outpatient Program. There she meets friends and gets the medicine she needs to try and have somewhat normal life.


Karen does a wonderful job at drawing the reader into a world of a stigmatized disorder. Catherine doesn’t pull away from help. She remains positive and allows those around her to help. With compelling characters and a harsh disorder that drives the book into a dramatic read I couldn’t put The Weight of Zero down.

Should you read it? Yes! A beautiful book that takes the reader inside a disorder most are unaware of that is beautifully written and emotionally heartfelt.


About the author:


I’m a writer of cre3669ontemporary, realistic YA. The subject of my  first book, The Weight of Zero, is mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, and it explores the shame, stigma and anxiety that often complicate the management of this chronic condition. The issue is personal to me having witnessed the impact of depression and bipolar disorder in  relatives and friends.  My goal was to write a story of hope for teens who struggle with mental illness.

My path to writing and publication was a long and indirect one. I graduated from the University of Scranton with an accounting degree  and then got a law degree from Georgetown. After working as a lawyer for many years, I found myself growing interested and then fascinated with history, specifically the American Revolution. This fascination sparked the idea for a middle grade story so between family, dogs and a return to school (Trinity College for a master’s degree in American Studies), I threw myself into writing.

Success for that middle grade story never arrived. (To see my interview about that, click here.) But that was okay. Because another idea was brewing, one that moved me in a way my first story never had. About a girl who had to deal not only with the standard pressures and stress of high school but also a much heavier weight – a mental illness. The story would be about her struggle to come to terms with it. It became The Weight of Zero.

Follow on Twitter and her blog!





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