Review: Zero by Tom Leveen
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
Cover Love: I really like the cover because it gives the illusion of punk elements inside the book. How awesome is that Mohawk. I find it a little deceiving since it made me expect a darker type of story and Zero is not a dark story.
It took me awhile to get into the book so I had to read it in three sessions. The first session (one-third of the book) just blasts us with the problems Zero (otherwise known as Amanda Walsh) has. Leveen drop us in the middle on a bad situation and expect us to feel bad for her. She literally has no one to turned to in times of trouble because she no longer has a best friend and what teenager truly talks to their parents (not many of them) yet I couldn’t bring myself to care about her. Maybe it was the whole “woe-is-me” attitude but more importantly, it was where her family alliance was. Zero was hard on her mother for being protective of her and inquiring about her whereabouts meanwhile, she was soft on her father who is an alcoholic and constantly instigating verbal fights with his wife. It was hard to relate to her (she is an art major, I prefer music) so I quit reading but before I did that, I did like Mike the drummer and the music elements in the story. A band named Gothic Rainbow is awesome.
Second half of the book was more interesting. We finally learn why Zero is not talking to her best friend, Jenn. I’m not going to spoil it but I will say that I would not have stopped talking to my best friend if that happen. I would have laughed it off as a joke and sure, it would have been awkward for a little while but nothing that I couldn’t live with. Jenn was an interesting character, she was the rich girl who was emotionally abandoned by her parents yet she finally has realized she is worth more than what she is, so we see her grow up (from her perspective). We also meet Sybil the Art teacher at the community college, she is an eccentric character that I like and boy, was I wrong about her. I thought she was going to be a light beacon for Zero but she turns out to be that type of person that puts a kitty on top of a tree and then forgets about it so she is a bit thoughtless about the effects of her actions. She still rocks though.
The final part of this book really save the book for me. Everything just falls into place and it is so fast paced. Zero finally stops calling herself Zero and starts to realize she can control the reins of her life instead of just going with the flow. Amanda/Zero stands up to her father about the problems he is bringing to the family. Her relationship with Mike really helped her grow from an indecisive 17 year old to a more secure version of herself.
What I really like about this book are the quotes by Salvador Dali at the start of every chapter. My favorite one was at the start of Chapter 3.
I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject. Rather the person grow to look like his portrait.
It sums up the overall story of Zero. It is a coming of age story. It is a good book but just not memorable enough for me.
22nd in the 150+ Reading Challenge