Zero by Tom Leveen
Published 24 April 2012
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
For aspiring artist Amanda Walsh, who only half-jokingly goes by the nickname Zero, the summer before college was supposed to be fun—plain and simple. Hanging out with her best friend Jenn, going to clubs, painting, and counting down the days until her escape. But when must-have scholarship money doesn't materialize, and she has a falling out with Jenn that can only be described as majorly awkward, and Zero's parents relationship goes from tense to relentless fighting, her prospects start looking as bleak and surreal as a painting by her idol Salvador Dali. Will life truly imitate art? Will her new, unexpected relationship with a punk skater boy who seems too good to be real and support from the unlikeliest of sources show Zero that she's so much more than a name.
My Review: 4 Gothic Rainbow Stars!
At the beginning of Zero we are introduced to Amanda, or Zero. It seems everything she hoped for herself has taken a down turn and she feel her life and dreams are pulling further away from her. Zero wants to be an artist and hoped to attend a college on scholarship but she is turned down and cannot afford to attend without it. For her it is all or nothing. No scholarship, not art classes or school...EVER. Friend makes a pass at you? Instead of talking it through, just IGNORE her. Mom is desperate to connect with you and discuss dear old dad and his drinking? Be mean to her and leave the house until late at night...oh and take dad's side. To say Zero is a bit irrational and immature is an understatement. But then....enter Mike. Drummer for the band Gothic Rainbows. The voice of reason. A guy who has been abandoned by his mother and caring for a washed-up musician father. A guy who should be just as bitter and upset with life as Zero, but instead is....zen? Yes! It is because of Mike's persistence and faith in Zero and her talent that she starts to take small steps toward her dreams.
It is not often that while reading a book I actually don't much care for the main protagonist. I actually liked Mike and felt that without him I would not have been as interested in this book. That said, I loved this book! Why? Because it is not a happy-g0-lucky, happily-ever-after seeking generic read! We are not supposed to like Zero much. That is how we know she finally gets her epiphany moment and starts to grow -up, take a few risks and put herself out there in the world. To take control of her life instead of just meandering through the garbage thrown at her. I also loved that this book has a satisfying ending for Zero, but not the true-love drop everything and be with the guy ending! Can we give a hellyeah to Tom Leveen for that?! Why, yes, yes we can. I liked this book because it was quirky, interesting, different, outside the box, sad, awkward, happy, sarcastic and funny...what could be better?