A Double Serving Of ARC Reviews #8 - The One With Mental Health and Fashion


Hi Guys! I've been trying SO HARD to stay on top of my NetGalley TBR, and my other review copies, but I've been unsuccessful. (Sigh. #TBRProblems) I have with me two of my NetGalley ARC's, Karen Fortunati's The Weight Of Zero,  and Stephanie Scott's Alterations which released JUST yesterday!  



The Weight of ZeroTitle: The Weight Of Zero
Author: Karen Fortunati
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: The Publisher Via NetGalley (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon US || Wordery || Barnes and Noble || Google Play Books || The Book Depository || Amazon UK

Blurb Description: Seventeen-year-old Cath knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disease, has almost triumphed once, propelling Catherine to her first suicide attempt. With Zero only temporarily restrained by the latest med du jour, time is running out. In an old ballet shoebox, Catherine stockpiles meds, preparing to take her own life when Zero next arrives.
But Zero’s return is delayed. Unexpected relationships along with the care of a new psychiatrist start to alter Catherine's perception of her diagnosis. But will this be enough? This is a story of loss and grief and hope and how the many shapes of love – maternal, romantic and platonic – impact a young woman’s struggle with mental illness.
The manuscript was awarded the 2014 SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant in the Contemporary YA category, named a finalist in the 2015 Tassey-Walden Awards and won the Serendipity Literary Agency 2013 YA First Page/Novel Discovery Contest.

***Before you start this review, I would like to state that I don’t know AS MUCH about Bipolar Disease and I would like to, and I am NOT CLAIMING TO BE AN EXPERT, but I am talking from the viewpoint of someone who wants to understand the disorder better, and a reader who was looking for that explanation, all while enjoying a story***

It’s been a couple of months since I read a good book on mental health, the last being Nick Lake’s Whisper to Me and so, reading The Weight Of Zero came as a welcome break from all the fantasy I’ve been reading. 

In A Nutshell, this book was a good interpretation on what it is like to DEAL emotionally with bipolar disease, but it wasn’t all it could’ve been. 

Catherine Pulaski suffers from Bipolar Disorder and the depressed and manic states of mind that come along with it. After she witnessed her grandmother suffer a heart attack and disintegrate into someone else before her eyes, she gets diagnosed and her “best friends” drop her like a hot potato and take up bullying her instead. 

Jaded with life and any sort of human kindness, Catherine is waiting for the next inevitable time that her depression, ‘Zero’ will come, and has a plan to end her life as it does. 

Filled with romance, friendship and how mental illness factors into the life of a teenager, The Weight of Zero is a great book to read!
Image result for the weight of zero karen fortunati
I did, however, have a few issues with it that I thought the book could have dealt better or should have spoken more of:

1. The book focused on the MC’s “relapse” into her manic or depressed state of mind and her suicide plan while sort of skimming past the explanation of bipolar disease itself. 

2. There was more talk of the suicide that she planned to commit when she went under “Zero’s” (her name for her depressed state of mind) than anything else, and it got a little monotonous.

3. In Catherine’s Intensive Outpatient Programme, she kept talking about the connection she shared with everyone there, and how she slowly felt like it was a safe space, but never shared ANYTHING about her disease and it felt sort of redundant. 

4. The ending was so rushed, very sunshine-y and rainbow-y in a real, harsh book and it made it all feel silly. There was also no real explanation to the bullying Catherine had endured, and it felt slightly rushed. 

I’m not AT ALL faulting the book for focusing on one area (how to deal emotionally) of this mental disorder, I’m just saying I wish there was MORE (everything else) about the disease. I also wish the ending wasn’t so rushed, and that the talks with her therapist and her mother were more detailed that a short third person summary. 

The Weight of Zero should definitely be on your essential reading list, but I still wish it had MORE. 

Alterations
***
Title: Alterations
Author: Stephanie Scott
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: The Publisher Via NetGalley
Buy Links: Amazon US || Nook || Kobo || iBooks || Google Play Books

Blurb Description: If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family. 
When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app. 
As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she'd have to make. 
There are some books you read just because you’re:

a)      Looking for a light read
b)      Everybody needs baseless drama at some point
c)       YOU JUST WANT TO

And Alterations was definitely one of those books for me. I knew it wasn’t going to be winning any awards from be under the “makes you want to search your soul” or other such DEEP categories, but HECK, sometimes I NEED a book like that.

Amelia is a fashion expert. She lives with her mother and grandmother in their tiny apartment on the estate of some of the richest folks in town, the Laurentis as the domestic help. Of course, the Laurentis have GORGEOUS twin sons, both Amelia’s age, one of who she’s been in love with for forever.

And then she gets this AWESOME internship in New York, only to come back and find her whole dynamic with the boys altered.

While this book was fun, LIGHT, drama-filled and everything I expected from it, it was also slightly awkward and a little overdone. Some of my problems include:

1.       Was Amelia’s internship an INTERSHIP or like Summer School? Because CLASSES and PROFESSORS = SCHOOL. The Devil Wears Prada Mean Bosses = INTERNSHIP.

2.       I didn’t feel anything with EITHER boy. Like Liam was cuter, and an awkward potato (which I can totally relate to) but NO FEELS. SIGH.

3.       Amelia’s sense of EVERYTHING was warped. In her head, BOYS > WORK ON A REALITY TV SHOW.

4.       Amelia’s thought process was awkward.
All in all, it was an okay-ish read, and what I expected it to be, a fun, light read! 3 stars! 

Does Anyone have an AWESOME book on Mental Illness that I NEED to read? OOH, And books set in New York?

Have you read either of there books? What did you think of them?