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Karen Fortuanti

  • Bethany Beach Books 99 Garfield Pkwy Bethany Beach, DE, 19930 United States (map)

Meet Karen Fortuanti, Young Adult author of The Weight of Zero, on June 3rd from 6:30pm-8:30pm.

The Weight of Zero

“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)

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski 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 medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its own living death on her again.

But Zero’s return is delayed due to unexpected and meaningful relationships that lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. These relationships along with the care of a gifted psychiatrist alter Catherine’s perception of her diagnosis as a death sentence. 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.

Early Praise:

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

“Debut novelist Fortunati tackles social stigma and mental health realistically and honestly.” - Publishers Weekly

“…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)

About Karen
From Karen's website

"I’m a writer of contemporary, realistic YA. My first book, The Weight of Zero, is about a girl who has to deal not only with the standard pressures and stress of high school but also a much heavier weight – bipolar disorder. The story explores Catherine’s dark struggle to accept a diagnosis yet it is ultimately one of hope and resilience and finding support in the most unexpected places.

My path to publication was indirect. I graduated from the University of Scranton with an accounting degree, received a law degree from Georgetown and practiced for ten years. The next ten years were spent on family, jobs, rescue dogs and a return to school for a master’s degree in American Studies from Trinity College. It was right after this period that I felt a growing need to write. I spent years working on my writing and in 2016, The Weight of Zero, was published.

While seeing and holding my book was thrilling, the most fulfilling part has been connecting with readers. I love speaking at libraries and schools and talking with teens, adults and parents face to face about mental health, treatment and the
need to bust the stigma. The greatest joy for me about The Weight of Zero was how it opened the door to very honest dialogue about mental illness.

Meeting readers and hearing their stories has inspired me beyond writing towards a greater involvement in my community and mental health advocacy. In 2017, I was elected to my city’s Board of Aldermen and now serve on the Board
of Directors for Bridges Healthcare, an organization that provides mental health treatment and addiction recovery services. Like Catherine, I never envisioned this particular direction but I’ve learned, with support, anything is possible."



Earlier Event: June 2
J.R. Miller
Later Event: June 4
Camron Wright