Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zero by Tom Leveen Review

"For aspiring artist Amanda Walsh, who only half-jokingly goes by the nickname Zero, the summer before college was supposed to be fun: 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, she has to completely rethink her college plans. Plus, she has a majorly awkward falling out with Jenn and they're not speaking. On top of it all, Zero's parents relationship goes from tense to relentless fighting. Suddenly her prospects are looking as bleak and surreal as a painting by her idol Salvador Dali.

But her new relationship with Mike, a skater boy who's also in a local punk band, gives her a glimmer of confidence (even if he does seem too good to be true). And when she gets support from the unlikeliest of sources,  Zero starts to wonder if she might be more than just a name."

I'm going to say this upfront and straight. How Tom Leveen describes art makes it sounds timeless, beautiful, and passionate. And when Zero's mentor started talking about art and how it is a reflection upon the artist, I was so awestruck by those words. It just made me cry. So inspiring, and all those beautiful words make art sound like a wonderful dream.

Amanda "Zero" Walsh is an inspiring artist. She was accepted to an art school, but she couldn't qualify for scholarship, so she couldn't go. Probably on her way to Community College (the author didn't tell us, shame on him), Zero is stuck between roads and trying to find a way out. She is not speaking with Jenn (who is a modern girl of rainbow colors), trying to avoid her parents' loud fighting, and well... I already told you about the third problem. Her life reminds me of my own. However, I consider her to be luckier than me. At least, her parents didn't bother to use me and my brother as their personal asset. Anyway, Zero sounds like a lot of college kids with no future and no clue to how they are going to live their life. Well, I can give them a pep talk, but I'm afraid I'm going to talk too long.

Mike is a skater boy (that detail was skimmed lightly over the book, so why is it in the synopsis) and in a band (which is a much bigger detail). He is a bit... Well, he has his troubles like Amanda. It isn't as bad as hers... I think. I pretty much know close to nothing about him.

Zero, the book, is great. I enjoyed it, but there are some areas that need improvement. Like the synopsis, but that isn't the main point. Zero's character can be worked out a bit better, but the ending does ties things up very well (although most fates of the main character remains yet to be seen). Mike's character should be expanded a little more. But Zero does tell a good life lesson (that nothing truly ends in a fairy tale unless you are in a Twilight/fairy tale universe).

Overall, I think this book deserves a five just for such a beautiful description of art, but unfortunately, I have other things to consider. But I have to point that out. Again. And again.

And I also love the mentions of girls coming of age. And thank goodness for making this book as weird, yet interesting, as possible. Some rainbows here!

(I mean LGBT, yes).

Rating: Four out of Five

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