Author: Tom Leveen
Release date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Random House
How I got it: For review via Netgalley
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.Zero didn't expect any kind of romance to happen during her Summer of Suck, but she also didn't expect Mike. Their relationship and what came of it was a ride I enjoyed taking with them, even if I was left emotionally underwhelmed at the end of the novel.
Zero's funny and self-deprecating voice carries the book in the best of ways, and her and Mike play off each other really well. Both of the characters have their own problems yet they're both compassionate towards each other and everyone else around them; which is exactly what ensures you'll root for them and their love 'til the very end. Of course, I would've liked to know more about Zero's best and only friend, Jenm because it seemed like she had as much going on in her life as Zero did.
Zero's home life was also a huge aspect of this story, and one that could be dark but also realistic and hopeful. The strained yet present connection between Zero and her mom was one of my favorite parts of the story, especially as it grew and grew.
Another main aspect of this story was Zero gaining self-confidence in every area of her life. A lot of teens need that kind of story in their lives, and Zero is a great way to introduce it with getting all preachy or condescending. Zero isn't a novel that gripped me and captured my love, but it was an enjoyable albeit predictable novel that I'd recommend to contemporary fans that hear "punk rock romance" and wonder why no one's thought of this before.
Plot: A welcome twist on the classic girl-meets-hot-drummer story with a decent pace.
Characters: Zero and Mike are the only characters we get to know, but I enjoyed them.
Ending: I wish there had been more closure.
Kid friendly? There's sex and swearing.
I'd occasionally put it down, but I did less and less the further I got into it.
Zero was a heart-warming story that had enough edginess to keep me from gagging, but for me that's kinda all it was.