Friday, August 9, 2013

Zero by Tom Leveen


Amanda, AKA Zero,'s summer is off to an awesome start.  Her scholarship to art school (and ticket out of Arizona) didn't come through, her best/only friend Jenn and her are going through a.....thing, and her home life sucks.

After meeting and falling for a drummer in a punk band, Zero decides to take more control over her life and her future in art.  She suffers from extremely low self-esteem and it doesn't help that her dad has a drinking problem which has turned her house into a war-zone.  

As Mike's band begins to take off, Zero has some tough decisions to make about her relationship, stuff going on at home, her friendship with Jenn, and her art.

This is the second book I've read by Tom Leveen (the first being Party, which I LOVED), and I am officially digging this author.  He knows how to write characters.

I really liked how he was able to capture the voice of Amanda, a self-esteem deprived art girl, and pull it off!  I mean, men don't usually get how girls think, especially teenage girls.  I'm not sure I even get what goes on in their heads, and I was one once.  Mr. Leveen did a super-job writing this girl in a way that was so believable.

This is not an action-packed book.  It's more about that awkward time in your life when you get your first boyfriend and don't exactly know what you're doing.  Except Amanda was older, so she wasn't immature about it-- she was just figuring things out.

I really liked how she embraced the whole "Zero" nickname.  It was her ironic way of joining in on what people were saying about her in high school... but then you just knew she was destined to shed it at some point.  No one should be a "Zero" for the rest of their life.  Especially not someone with so much talent.

I must say I was a little jealous of these teenage kids.  Mike and Amanda were both very talented and both knew what they were good at and what they wanted to do with their lives.  Or at least what they wanted to try doing.

I'm in my 30's, and sad to say I still don't know what I'm really all that good at.  I don't want to be ordinary (does anybody?).  But these two were anything but ordinary.  Amanda had so much talent, she just needed to find a way to believe in herself more and show true emotion in her work.  That was cool to read about.

The whole thing that goes on with Amanda and Jenn was a little weird/off-the-wall for me.  I wasn't expecting the issue that they were having to be what it was... and I'm still not convinced things could ever be the same with them.  But I was glad that they were trying.

So now the relationship:  LOVED IT!!!  No insta-love!!  This was a boy and a girl meeting each other and a real build to being together.  And the ending!!!  LOVED IT!!  So not a fantasy fairy-tale, just real freaking life!!!

OVERALL:  I'm hooked on Tom Leveen's writing!  Party was amazing, and this one wasn't far behind it.  It's not as goth or punk as the cover makes it seem.  It's just great characters who love art and music.  If you want to read a book about a girl finding herself amid rough circumstances, this one's for you!

How I got this book:  Purchased at B&N
Date Published: 4/24/2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Add it to your To-Read List!!!

This Book Contains:
  • Art
  • Music
  • Stuff about the music industry
  • A beautiful Arizona setting
  • First love
  • Witty conversations and inner dialogue
  • A Salvador Dali obsession
  • Adults that let you down
  • A cool coffee shop

My Rating: 4.5/5

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