The Weight of Zero (Hardcover)

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This is the kind of book that can save a life—literally. High school junior Catherine’s life was derailed with the onset of bipolar disorder, and she’s been switching meds and suffering social isolation ever since, dreading the imminence of “Zero,” her personification of the depressive swing that counters the manic side of bipolar. Unwilling to face Zero again, she plans to kill herself—and to succeed this time. Catherine tries to keep her plans under wraps in the face of a new doctor, meds, therapy group, and a tentative new friendship (with relationship potential)—all the while knowing that Zero is coming, and so is her personal D-Day. This is a wonderful, realistic book about resiliency, hope, and human connection in the face of the heavy struggles of mental illness. Depression isn’t romanticized, and medical treatment isn’t stigmatized. Aside from the power of the content, this book is beautifully written and paced, a tense story that is easy to lose yourself in.  

— From Ann's Picks


For fans of 13 Reasons Why and Girl in Pieces, this is a novel that shows the path to hope and life for a girl with mental illness.

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.

And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict his living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list. This bucket list, combined with the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment, begins to ease 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.

About the Author

Karen Fortunati is a former attorney whose experiences on the job with children and teens and personal experiences witnessing the impact of depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide inspired her to write this story of hope for those who struggle with mental illness. She wanted them to know that they are not alone in navigating the shame, stigma, and anxiety that often complicate the management of this chronic condition. Karen attends graduate school at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and works part-time as a museum educator. She lives in Connecticut with her family and rescue dogs. Follow her online at or on Twitter at @KarenFortunati
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101938898
ISBN-10: 1101938897
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 11th, 2016
Pages: 400
Language: English