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3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  675 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
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 des ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published April 1st 2012)
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2012 YA Contemporary Challenge!
117th out of 214 books — 1,327 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,454)
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Sep 16, 2011 Jo rated it liked it
I couldn’t actually find a quote that I loved that wouldn’t spoil things so I’m going to quote a quote.

“Love, I said, strangely resembled certain gastric sensations… producing an uneasiness and shudders so delicate that one is not sure whether one is in love or feels like vomiting.”- Salvador Dali.

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Phew. I’m glad it ended like that. I thought I was going to get stabby…

High Points.
Zero..ish. Mike. Awkward first love. Dali. Coffee shops. Band t-shirts. Golden records.
What can I say? It's a book that bears repeat readings.

Also found here:

Where do I begin?

Maybe by pointing out my (quite limited) experience with truly great YA books? Or by lamenting the horrible, horrible trends in popular literature? Or maybe wishing for a time where more YA contemporary was written?

How about I begin with this story and how completely awesome it is? Or maybe with two characters who are just so loveable, so awesome, so absolutely fantast
Jul 11, 2012 Noelle rated it liked it
Amanda has always gone by the nickname Zero--an apt description of her self-esteem. When she gets accepted into a prestigious art school, her "nothing" status at last seems a thing of the past. Amanda is planning to spend her last summer at home hanging with her best friend, making art and going to see her favorite local bands. What could go wrong? How about not qualifying for a necessary scholarship.

Just like that the best summer ever has become Zero's worst nightmare. She's stuck in remedial a
Jun 19, 2012 J rated it it was amazing
"But we're only going around once, you know? I mean, we're not going to be able to do this when we're twenty-five, thirty. Forty. If we're gonna screw up, let's do it now while we still can."---Mike

I have never been so JEALOUS, completely drenched in jealousy, for a book character's life or lives as I am of Zero and Mike. Youth hands people a blank slate, or for the sake of Zero and Salvador Dali's love of art, a blank canvas to paint their lives any which way the wind blows them. Young people a
Aug 26, 2011 Isamlq rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-galley
Based on its cover, I was expecting a darker heavier YA. Surprisingly, Zero is sweet… not that it was all sweet all the time since her a dysfunctional family and uncomfortable friendships are a big part of it… but it’s mostly about a girl figuring out what’s best for her. Amanda is Zero. Her nickname alone should be enough to clue you in as to what she thinks of herself. And it’s this fact, above all, that bothered me… and apparently her as well. Reading her work out what she was worth and what ...more
Beth Cato
Aug 16, 2015 Beth Cato rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing the ARC.

ok.. 4.5 star, maybe just 4 for the lack of an exciting plot.

**spoilers ahead, ye be warned..oh, and also heavy sarcasm. I'm not a sexist, I swear**

I'm warning you right now. I'm going to use profanity in this review. Those who know me know I'm not much of a potty mouth. Except when I'm driving, but that's a whole different story.

I'm going to call bullshit to this so-called 'Tom Leveen'. Bullshit, Tom. Bullshit.

There is NO WAY you are a man. You hav
Apr 21, 2012 Lucy rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, music, new-adult
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 protag ...more
Beth Dawkins
Apr 30, 2012 Beth Dawkins rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Amanda or Zero, as her friends call her, has graduated high school and got into the art school she wanted, but she didn’t get a scholarship. On top of that her parents have been having issues, and she had a falling out with her best friend, who she planned to spend the summer with. Things seem depressing until she meets Mike, a drummer in a band. The two instantly hit it off.

I was not a fan of the book when it started out. Zero is whiny, and I didn’t feel like she had much of a reason to be unti
Jul 21, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Zero is a novel that took me completely by surprise. I expected it to be a typical teenage coming-of-age story - and in some ways it was - but it turned out to be so much more than that. When we meet Amanda, or Zero as she prefers, she’s a timid girl trying to figure out what to do next. She’s lost her college chances, her best friend and has family problems aplenty. This all seems fairly standard fare, but Tom Leveen manages to give a refreshing take on the situation that helps Zero stand out ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it
I recommend Zero.


Would you read Zero based on the cover alone? I won't. Not enticing enough. But I did pick it up (my NetGalley TBR list has to be trimmed, anyway) and I am so glad I did! The cover didn't do justice to the entertaining story inside it. And no, Mike has no mohawk.

Amanda a.k.a. Zero has *wait for it* zero confidence in her paintings. All it took is a rejection for scholarship on her ultimate dream school (for Arts). That college says she has little "technical excellence" to q
Dec 04, 2012 Annette rated it really liked it
Zero is a typical coming-of-age story of a teen during a really difficult period. But, typical is not a bad word in this case. The characters are edgy, and Leveen has written a realistic story that tugged at my heart.

Zero (a nickname she gave herself, which gives you an idea about her self-esteem) has had her world fall apart. After graduation, she and her best and only friend have a falling out. We aren't sure what happened until much later in the book, but we are given hints that this was very
Uh oh! Looks like Tom Leveen may very well be becoming one of my favorite teen authors. I loved his first book, PARTY, and found this one to be just as memorable and enjoyable. Seventeen-year-old Amanda "Zero" Walsh, a recent high school graduate in Phoenix, Arizon, is a talented artist who is disappointed that her plan to attend and art school in Chicago fell through. While dealing with this, she struggles with the state of her troubled family and the fall-out she's had with her best friend Jen ...more
Mia Searles (The Muses Circle)
More of my reviews can be read on my blog: The Muses Circle

My Review: It's been awhile since I've given a book a 5 star rating, but after careful consideration, I honestly couldn't find anything wrong with the story nor anything I would change ZERO was the kind of book that once started, I literally couldn't put it down which shocked me. I guess I forgot what that felt like!

Amanda, aka Amy, aka Zero is a recent high school graduate whose plan for a fun summer before going away to the art school
Rebecca McNutt
Zero was supposed to be this punk artist original girl, but she just came across as a spoiled and immature kid. There's nothing wrong with following your dreams but just expecting money to be handed to you and then freaking out when it isn't there is a whole other story. Zero wasn't a horrible book, but to me it didn't seem all that great, either.
Jun 14, 2015 Lesley rated it it was ok
Shelves: library, college, summer
HERE'S THE THING (see what I did there?): this book was so obviously written by a dude. My chief umbrage is his complete lack of understanding of contraception or women's bodies: hello, PLAN B. To have a character have unprotected sex and worry about it afterwards and follow it up with "well, I guess I'll have to wait a few days and see what happens" is, frankly, irresponsible for a YA author to depict. I'm not someone who especially cares about YA novels illustrating some kind of example of mor ...more
Jul 23, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
My first impression of Zero, the character, as well as "Zero" the book: Snarky, sarcastic, and thoroughly teen drama.
Second impression (one chapter later): OMG, this is ME! Without the art angle (mine was theatre) or the punk angle (mine was goth), but it's ME!

Here's the thing:

I didn't know Tom Leveen existed until Phoenix Comicon 2014 (that would be this last June). Never heard of him, never heard of his books, didn't know he did seminars and classes, nada. But... I'm a writer, I want to be a b
Aug 23, 2014 Ally rated it really liked it
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. Pr
Miz Lizzie
Okay, here's the thing. This isn't my usual kind of book. I've never (even as an actual teen) had much interest in comtemporary gritty teen novels. But this one really kicked-ass. Amanda a.k.a. Zero is a wannabe artist. She secured an acceptance to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago but not a merit scholarship, which leaves her stuck in Phoenix for the summer after graduation with no future plans, a best friend she's not speaking to, and parents who are imploding. Having already hit bott ...more
Ashton Widdison
When I read what this book was about, I had in my mind a mental picture of what it would be about. I was totally interested in the idea. When I started to read it, I realized it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I found myself not entirely enjoying the main character, Zero. However, that wasn't because she was poorly written. On the contrary, she was flawed like a realistic human being, and those flaws grated on my nerves a little, but not to the point where I wanted to put the book down and ...more
HNGC Library
Mar 15, 2016 HNGC Library rated it liked it
Amanda (Zero) is an artist who's just graduated high school. Her dream of going to an art school post graduation has been shot down due to financing and she's a bit adrift the summer after high school. That is until she meets Mike and he challenges her to move forward. Part of the moving forward plan involves enrolling in an art class at the local community college. At first Zero thinks the instructor is a poseur. But over time she learns to accept the teaching and her work improves. At the same ...more
David Jin
Feb 09, 2015 David Jin rated it liked it
I liked Zero a lot more than I did Sick. Leveen puts together a very sound story here, and I really enjoyed listening to his protagonist's voice. I enjoyed the punk music aspect to it as well,and I'm sure all music enthusiasts will.

However, perhaps due to her depressed outlook of many aspects, along with her goth personality, I found it hard to relate to her. Sometimes she rubbed me a bit poorly because it seemed that she was whining and self-pitying.

The prose is good though, and the characters
Meranda MacAulay
May 16, 2014 Meranda MacAulay rated it liked it
It was better then i thought it would be but not as good as i hoped it would be. Teens and young adults can really connect to zero because a lot of what happens in her life happens in others. Zero is a fun and sarcastic character i really liked! Compared to other female characters iv read about. But the story, i find, ended abruptly and i had many questions and wanted more. I wanted more romance, i mean more spice to the romance. It just didn't feel like it reached its full potential romance wis ...more
E V Scarlett
Jul 05, 2016 E V Scarlett rated it really liked it
Zero has picked the perfect nickname for herself, because that's what she is: nothing. Especially after graduation, everything Zero had going for her was lost. Her scholarship for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SIAC) flopped due to a lack of "technical proficiency," she's just lost her best-slash-only friend, and the arguments between her parents are getting worse every day. She wants to go to SIAC more than anything, but any artist knows how hard it is to create with so much self-d ...more
Judy (Geeky Reading)
Sep 13, 2014 Judy (Geeky Reading) rated it really liked it
Shelves: own

[Read more at my blog, Geeky Reading!]

(Contains some spoilers.)

This book surprised me. It was not what I expected, but it was still very good.

I really liked Amanda. She’s having a hard time, not really sure who she is or what she wants. I understood her really well. And I really liked seeing her grow up, figure out what she wants as opposed to what other people want and are pushing on her.

Then she meets Mike, who’s sweet and good to her, but just not right, right now. Their relationship is r
Rebecca A. Rogers
What a great way to introduce punk. I found myself reminiscing about the days I had friends in bands, how we’d load up their musical instruments in several different vehicles and unload them through the VIP section of the club/bar. Although they weren’t punk rockers, it definitely reminded me of their great shows and the excitement of being backstage. And no, I wasn’t a groupie. I saw enough of those. lol

Amanda, a.k.a. Zero, is an aspiring artist who lives in Arizona, which is another part of th
"Zero" (aka Amanda), has just graduated from high school and is looking forward to a brokenhearted summer after finding out that the art school she applied to (and was accepted to) won't grant her the scholarship she needs to attend. Add to that the fact that she isn't speaking with her best (and only) friend, and that her parents fight so much that it makes her nauseous, and it is easy to understand why Zero has nil confidence and doesn't know what to do with herself. But, at least she can go t ...more
Waiting For Wentworth
May 09, 2012 Waiting For Wentworth rated it really liked it
I have been wanting to read Zero for a really long time. I just knew it was going to be a book that I would love. Tom Leveen ends up writing a pretty convincing story about a 17 year old girl. How did you do it Tom? Discuss.

The protagonist, Zero, is a 17 year old aspiring artist who dreams of someday becoming a real ARTIST. She has self-esteem issues and has a low opinion of herself - hence the name 'Zero'. It doesn't help that she was accepted, and then rejected, by the art school of her dream
Oh my goodness did this book completely annoy the crap out of me. Normally when I finish a book I like to sit with it, and think about it for a little bit before compiling my thoughts into a review... However this book bugged me so incredibly bad I could not sit around thinking about it any longer after finishing the last page. Now, let me start off by saying that the writing in this book wasn't bad, it was actually pretty okay if you're looking at it from a structured and gramatical stand point ...more
Catherine marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
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Arizona Author Ac...: Zero 1 3 Aug 19, 2013 01:16PM  
Creative Reviews: Book Review: ZERO by: Tom Leveen 1 5 May 16, 2012 02:17PM  
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Howdy, friendly reader. Real quick: If you write a review on Goodreads (for ANY book), please paste it to an Amazon review, too. It seriously helps your favorite authors. Thanks!

Tom's novels include PARTY, MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRL, SICK, RANDOM, and SHACKLED. He is also in the collection VIOLENT ENDS. His novel ZERO was a YALSA Best Book of 2013. His eighth book. HELLWORLD, will be available Fall 2017.
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“Friends are how God apologizes for your family."---Mike” 10 likes
“Whoa, hello, assertiveness! How lovely to make your acquaintance.” 3 likes
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