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3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  685 Ratings  ·  136 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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Community Reviews

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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
"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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Beth Cato
Aug 16, 2015 Beth Cato rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Apr 21, 2012 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 04, 2012 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 11, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 14, 2015 Lesley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2011 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
RaeLynn Fry
May 23, 2012 RaeLynn Fry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
By: Tom Leveen
YA Contemporary
April 24, 2012
Rating: I have to give it an R because of the open-door sex scene that happens. Otherwise, it would have only been a strong PG for language
Coffee Beans: 4.5/5
Spoilers: Some, but in order to protect the innocent, character names have been omitted
Favorite Line: Ever notice how much thing guys can eat? So not fair. (ebook, pg 108) When you're painting, you can see noise. Taste sound. Ten trillion neurons fire in your mind and trigger the fine muscles i
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
Jul 23, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cialina (Muggle-Born)
Meet Zero. She’s an aspiring artist. Unfortunately, her lack of self-confidence (and lots of family drama) prevents her from going after her dream: to attend a prestigious art school in Chicago. It’s supposed to be Zero’s fun, laid-back summer before college. Instead, she’s stuck at home with one less friend, living in a house where her parents never stop arguing.

Alright, let me admit it: when I first found out that I was going to be an Ambuzzador for ZERO by Tom Leveen, I thought, “Uh-oh… This
the golden witch.
One of the most refreshing contemporary YA books of the year so far, hands down. I really enjoyed this one, guys, because it's definitely not your usual YA contemporary tale. "Zero" deals with a few issues, but the one most important that YA doesn't seem to talk about even though it's kind of a big deal - if your biggest college dream falls through, what do you do next? "Zero" talks about what options are left, and the quarter-life crisis that Zero herself deals with a few years early, and I'm h ...more
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)
Amanda AKA Zero's summer is off to an awesome start. Her scholarship to art school (and ticket out of Arizona) didn't come through, her best/only friend Jenn and her are going through a.....thing, and her home life sucks.

After meeting and falling for a drummer in a punk band, Zero decides to take more control over her life and her future in art. She suffers from extremely low self-esteem and it doesn't help that her dad has a drinking problem which has turned her house into a war-zone. As Mike's
Gabbi  Calabrese


This book shocked me in the best way possible. I don't know what is up with me in artsy contemporary books, but I just fall in love with each one I read. Zero by Tom Leveen is real. It covers the self-deprecating insecurities that come with being a teenage girl, the frightening excitement that comes with all the firsts of falling in love. Add to that a beautiful swirl of art and music, and you have one marvelous novel!

Zero is an artis
Karla Nellenbach

Amanda "Zero" Walsh expected the summer between high school graduation and college to be easy and relaxed. She'd do nothing but go to clubs with her BFF Jenn, paint, and just be a lazy teenager while counting down the days until she could make her big escape to Chicago and art school.

When needed scholarship monies are denied, her friendship with Jenn collapse because of an event that Zero can only describe as majorly awkward and her parents' relationship takes a turn for the nasty, Zero'
Magan (Rather Be Reading)
[review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]

Zero’s real name is Amanda Walsh. Her mom calls her Amy, but she loathes that nickname. She picked up the name Zero when she was teased in middle school by a bunch of jerks. It stuck. Now she’s graduated from high school but her summer plans changed when two things happened:

a) she didn’t get the scholarship she needed for art school in Chicago, and
b) her BFF got super weird and they’re not speaking anymore.

That leaves her feeling more alone than eve
Educating Drew
Nov 24, 2011 Educating Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, ya-love
IF this book was not inside my IPad I would kiss it and love it and hug it all over. Seriously. I have a fierce crush on this author because of this book alone. (You might remember, I read Party, Leveen's debut book in 2011).

I'm going to give Leveen one of the best compliments that I think I could give because I hardly EVER read a book and think, Man, this would rock if it became a movie. But he just has a KNACK for realistic romcom's. If John Hughes, rest his soul, could have met up with Mr. To
Zero, Amy, Amanda . . . all names belonging to one girl. Zero is an aspiring artist with friend problems, family problems, guy problems and what to do next problems. I think it is safe to say every girl will find some way to relate to this young woman.

The moment you graduate from high school you are immediately bombarded with what’s next. No moment to breathe and take every aspect into quiet contemplation. The few of us who know what does come next may have obstacles we have no control over. Ama
Wandering Librarians
Zero is an artist, or at least she thought she was until her dream college revoked her scholarship. Without the money to attend, and since she isn't speaking to her best and only friend, Zero is now stuck with an empty summer, full of her parent's fighting. To escape, Zero seeks out the punk rock clubs and becomes friends with a group of guys in the band Gothic Rainbow, in particular the drummer, Mike. Slowly Zero begins to find the courage and confidence to seek out her dream of art.

It was clea
Dec 22, 2011 LibriCritic rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
As you can gather from the description, Tom Leveen’s second foray into the adolescent teenage mind (his first book, Party, came out in 2010) is all about awkwardness of first love and the arduous journey of discovering one’s own worth. The main protagonist, who goes by Zero–an obvious indicator of her own selfworth–has angsty issues aplenty. She hates her body, her art, her family, and now her bestfriend. And, like all teenagers, she simultaneous craves and fears the spotlight. After plucking up ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Adriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 doe
I'm not much of an artist myself. I like art, and the yearly trips to the musems in elementary school didn't bother me much, but I haven't been much of an artiste. I left that to my sister.

So I found this ARC on NetGalley. I had read Tom Leeven's first book Party about a year ago. Both books dealt with the artisty, gritty scene of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. And what did I think?

I'm still unsure, and I finished this book three days ago. But I guess if I had to rate it, say how I felt
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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  
  • Torn
  • Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe
  • Red Heart Tattoo
  • Doggirl
  • Don't You Wish
  • The Opposite of Hallelujah
  • Rock On
  • The Stone Girl
  • The Whole Story of Half a Girl
  • What Happens Here
  • Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator
  • The Space Between Us
  • Handcuffs
  • Jersey Angel
  • Night Sky
  • Bad Boy
  • Supergirl Mixtapes
  • Drain You
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.
More about Tom Leveen...

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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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