The Weight of Zero (Paperback)

The Weight of Zero Cover Image
Special Order


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

Praise For…

An ABA Indies Introduce Title Pick
A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens

"An honest, informative, and ultimately optimistic novel about living with mental illness." -Kirkus Reviews

“Fortunati tackles social stigma and mental health realistically and honestly.”—Publishers Weekly

“Recommend to readers who enjoy realistic fiction, want to learn more about bipolar disorder, or have a similar disorder.”—SLJ

“Everyone takes a unique path to their dark places, but Karen Fortunati’s portrayal of the road back is inspiring.” —Trouble Is a Friend of Mine

"This book absolutely floored me. It tore me apart and rebuilt me, in the best possible way. It is by far the best depiction of depression that I’ve read in a very long time. I spent the last half of the book in grateful tears, filled with a deep recognition that gave me hope for life and love for Catherine. I cannot express enough what this book meant to me. Read it. It’ll change you.” -Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA) 

"You might think that a story about having bipolar disorder would be depressing. But this story will lift you up, open your eyes, and make even your darkest ‘Zero’ moments seem manageable. Everyone should read this book. It will help you face those bad times, and it will help you appreciate the good times." -Clarissa Murphy, Brookline Booksmith (Brookline, MA) 

"A real story that needs to be told about bipolar disorder and how it affects someone who is afflicted by thisThe Weight of Zero also concentrates on the value of good doctoring, strong support from family and friends, and the will to continue living.” -Kathy Taber, Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore (Indianapolis, IN)

Product Details
ISBN: 9781101938928
ISBN-10: 1101938927
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: February 20th, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English