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Zero by Tom Leveen
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Zero

by Tom Leveen

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6510271,381 (4.12)2

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Amanda Walsh's a.k.a. Zero's life has made a turn for the worse. Her parents are still arguing, her dad is still drinking way too much, she wasn't able to get scholarship money to go to her dream school, and her and her best friend are just not talking.

She loves the artist Salvador Dali (think clocks) after she was introduced to him by her all time favorite art teacher well Teacher period Mr. Hilmer who always told her she was doing a good job on her artwork. She doesn't like her body but it doesn't stop her from awkwardly trying to talk to the drummer with the killer eyes named Mike from Gothic Rainbow. He actually wants to hang out with her. (A lot of italicizing so far).

From then on out everything seems to be going right. Well she still isn't able to go to the school of her dreams but she's working on her art, her parents are still yelling but she's got the perfect Mike to distract her, and she's still on the outs with her friend but then again... she's got Mike to distract her. But not everything is what it should be. Throughout her summer Zero learns to discover who she truly can be.

LOVED Zero! Her personality was just so awesome and entertaining. She's just this teen that sometimes can be awkward and can be unsure of herself. It really doesn't make any sense to me how she had like no friends in school. There are always artists around. I guess since my school has art programs and music programs I'm used to people that would be otherwise known as outcasts which I really find super weird. I just wanted to kick her sometimes because seriously stop saying those things about yourself! But I'm one to talk since I've felt unsure and crappy about myself sometimes. The same thing with art. She can actually create it. I on the other hand can only copy an image that's already there. This book has made me want to draw again because even if I'll never be able to draw like others do...its fun! I love when books make me want to do things. I give thanks to books that make me want to do things!

Mike was cool. I didn't expect him. I mean I did because I obviously read the summary but I assumed he be more... into himself? I don't know why I think that of musicians sometimes, He is a punk skater boy so I just assumed... well he ended up being such a great guy with his own issues as well. He encouraged and I was like I love you dude! Such a great guy.

I didn't know who Dali was until she mentioned clocks and I assumed... correctly this time! I live in Florida so maybe I'll check out his museum in St. Petersburg this summer. The quotes in the beginning were very interesting. This guy was cool.

Definitely awkward with her friend. Didn't expect that but it was a nice twist. Later on too... I'd recommend that this book be read by older teenagers. Still if you are old enough to read it I'd recommend reading it. I absolutely loved it. Can't wait to read Party. Later Skater!

http://shesgotbooksonhermind.blogspot.com/ ( )
  AdrianaGarcia | Jul 10, 2018 |
I felt like the ending was super abrupt, but I really liked the characters and their story. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
This YA novel is a fast, intense read. Leveen does a masterful job of creating a realistic and heavily flawed cast of characters, all viewed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old snarky artist Amanda, aka Zero. She's full of angst and melodrama, traits that normally would turn me off of a character pretty fast. Her behavior did irritate me in a few spots but overall I found her sympathetic. Her home life is wretched. Her father is a drunk. Her mother tries to glue the family together through nagging. Amanda's one escape is through her art--but her dream of getting into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago just cracked into a million pieces when she was accepted into the school but failed to get a scholarship. She's angry at the world, but mostly herself.

Mike, her love interest, is the drummer of an rising local Phoenix band called Gothic Rainbow. Mike is a good guy. I liked that Leveen went that route. He's really more level-headed and realistic than Amanda. The novel doesn't skirt around adult themes. The book does include sex. It's... honestly portrayed. This is not a romance book. The sex that happens is not ideal. It carries some regret, and there's also honest talk about disease and risk of pregnancy. It's well-handled, if discomforting to read--I wish I could reach into the book and slap Amanda, tell her to stop and THINK.

There's also a theme through the book of adults letting Amanda down. It's devastating at times, especially a subplot involving her art teacher. It creates an interesting dynamic. So many books have an orphaned main character, struggling to make it on their own. Here, it's the teenagers who are all orphaned in their own ways just as they struggle to find themselves. Leveen handles it very well.

In all, it's a good book. Definitely one for older teens, or those who are ready for heavier content. Books like this end up banned at school libraries, but really, there's nothing in here that teens don't already know about. The book just highlights it--but also has the benefit of showing the consequences and that there's hope in the future. ( )
  ladycato | May 7, 2014 |
I thought I had this book pegged by the cover, which is so punk rock and artsy. I made some snap judgments about the book, thinking it would be a little dark and gritty for my taste. And while there is a fair amount of art and punk in the book, it is at its core a sweet story about a relationship and finding self worth. As I may have mentioned before though, I am a sucker for YA books about music so I jumped at the chance to check out Zero. Throw in an artistic, self-deprecating new adult protagonist and I was so on board with this one.

Amanda “Zero” Walsh has just received some bad news that rocked her world. She didn’t qualify for a coveted art school scholarship and won’t be able to swing the money on her own. On top of that, things are beyond awkward with her best friend, and her dad’s drinking is spiraling out of control. Life takes an unexpected turn when she meets skate punk drummer Mike, and he helps give her a much-necessary boost of confidence.

Tom Leveen writes a realistic teenage girl character, one who is self-absorbed and a bit whiny, and dealing with lots of family drama. Amanda’s nickname Zero started out as a put-down junior high kids called her because she was the loner art chick. However, it stuck and she decided to own it, and even her own dad calls her Z rather than Amanda, or the dreaded Amy. Amanda has body image issues and low self-esteem and uses humor and sarcasm as a coping mechanism. She is a gifted artist and idolizes Salvador Dali, but she lacks the confidence to take her art to the next level. She has one close friend, Jenn, but they have a mysterious falling out. In a big moment of bravery she approaches the gorgeous-eyed drummer of up and coming band Gothic Rainbow, and they begin a relationship.

Mike the drummer is very crush-worthy, sweet and mature, and his scenes with Amanda spark with electricity. He is not a stereotypical rock-musician type at all, and in case you’re wondering he doesn’t have a Mohawk, as the cover would suggest. Leveen captures the feeling of first love really well, with an awkwardness and obsessiveness that rings true. And even though the two care for each other a lot, they both have a driving passion for their art that demands their attention. Their relationship goes a long way towards helping Amanda’s confidence issues, and takes some interesting and unconventional turns. It is also a more mature relationship, both mentally and physically, than found in most other YA books.

Leveen’s writing has a lot of personality and includes some humorous asides to the reader. He captures the feeling of being at a rock show, with authentic band and song names. Also, Amanda’s passion for her art comes through clearly and she gets lost in her art and makes many artistic references. I liked the feminist leanings of the book too and that the relationship wasn’t the only thing in Amanda and Mike’s lives.

Zero would be a great book for people that enjoy books about new adults, people who don’t fit in, and fans of art, music and romance. ( )
  readingdate | Jan 7, 2014 |
Zero is a nickname that Amanda has had most of her life. As she finishes high school, she's looking forward to perhaps escaping to Chicago to go to art school, but when a scholarship doesn't come through, she is full of self-doubt. A fight on graduation night with her best, and only friend, leaves Zero's summer looking bleak. She decides to start some classes at the local community college and meets a quirky art teacher who gives her some tips and confidence. She also meets a boy, which leads to more art projects for his up and coming band. The summer continues and of course things don't always go smoothly, but Zero finally starts to realize she is more than a zero and can make it on her own. ( )
  TheMadHatters | Apr 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375869212, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:20 -0400)

After graduating from a Phoenix, Arizona, high school, aspiring artist Amanda "Zero" Walsh unexpectedly begins a relationship with a drummer in a punk rock band, which helps her come to terms with her feelings about herself, her falling out with her best friend, and her parents' personal problems.… (more)

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