Sarah Bannan

UK: Bloomsbury (2015), US: St. Martin's Press (2015)

Adamsville wasn't a place that people came to. It was a place you were from, where you were born, where you were raised, where you stayed.

Before Carolyn Lessing arrived, nothing much had ever happened in Adamsville, Alabama. Each week, at dinner tables and in the high school assembly, everyone would pray for the football team to win. Each year, the Adams High hotlist would be updated, and girls would rise and fall within its ranks. Each day, everyone lived by the unwritten rules that cheerleaders did not hang out with the swim team, seniors did not date freshmen and the blistering heat was something that should never be remarked upon. But then the new girl came.

All Carolyn's social media could reveal was that she had moved from New Jersey, she had 1075 friends - and she didn't have a relationship status. In beach photos with boys who looked like Abercrombie models she seemed beautiful, but in real life she was so much more. She was perfect.

This was all before the camera crews arrived, before it became impossible to see where rumour ended and truth began, and before the Annual Adamsville Balloon Festival, when someone swore they saw the captain of the football team with his arm around Carolyn, and cracks began to appear in the dry earth.


Selected Praise:

If you need a fiction fix, Sarah Bannan's Weightless is an engrossing and sophisticated literary thriller, inspired by modern daemons from cyber-bullying to our recklessness in giving away our privacy online (GQ Magazine)

This book was an uncomfortable read because although the plot is set in the South of America, it could happen anywhere - and sadly, it does (Sun)

A chillingly forensic account of school-girl bullying. It reminds me very much in style of The Virgin Suicides, and like that book is written in the first person plural which is no mean feat (Independent)

Bannan is smart on the way digital culture makes us voyeuristic consumers of other people's experiences. But she also brilliantly skewers the false piety of America's socially conservative communities, where chastity vows go cheek by jowl with teen promiscuity and where, from classroom to cheerleading squad, girls are the victims of a culture that relentlessly objectifies them (Daily Mail)

Imagine cult '80s high-school movie Heathers rewritten for the digital age. Set in a small Alabama town, Bannan's brilliant debut novel charts the arrival of beautiful, academic new girl Carolyn at a tightly knit school . The sense of impending doom is almost unbearably tense - you won't breathe out until you've finished the final page (Glamour)

An accomplished debut that skewers youth culture with panache; it is a thought-provoking examination of the hypocrisy of smalltown life and a chilling vision of 21st-century bullying (Sebastian Shakespeare Tatler)