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Zero Tolerance

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,034 ratings  ·  230 reviews
Seventh-grader Sierra Shepard has always been the perfect student, so when she sees that she accidentally brought her mother's lunch bag to school, including a paring knife, she immediately turns in the knife at the school office. Much to her surprise, her beloved principal places her in in-school suspension and sets a hearing for her expulsion, citing the school's ironcla ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,034 ratings  ·  230 reviews

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Jenny Sawyer
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like Zero Tolerance. I was ready to like it. I tried to like it. And then…I just couldn’t like it.

Normally, I’m a huge fan of Claudia Mills’ stories—especially her stories about underdogs. So maybe that’s the first thing that went wrong for me: Sierra Shepard, at least when we first meet her, is not an underdog. She’s actually kind of intolerable: persnickety, and an uber-good girl who looks down her nose at those she perceives to be the bad kids.

But the tables are soon to be
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Claudia Mills stops by Pass the Chiclets for an interview and a giveaway! :D

I received this ARC before the pub date, obviously, and I let it fall by the wayside--something I regret immensely now, because holy freaking goodness this book is good.

Claudia Mills absolutely nails the voice. Sierra is a perfect student, yes but she's also eminently relatable and simply wonderful to read about. Her third-person point-of-view never feels distanced; it almost feels like a first-person narration, which in
Richie Partington
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Richie's Picks: ZERO TOLERANCE by Claudia Mills, Farrar Straus Giroux, June 2013, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-374-3312-6

"Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes
Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes"
-- Adam Ant

"Sierra opened the Velcro flap on her lunch bag. Hungry or not, she'd better eat something, or her stomach might start rumbling in French class, right as she was sitting next to Colin.
"She opened her sandwich and was about to take the first bite when she looked at it more closely. It was ham a
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle schoolers

No, like seriously, the whole story was pretty dull and boring.

Sierra Shepard is the perfect student, but one day, when she accidentally brings her mother's lunch bag to school instead of her own, she finds a paring knife inside. Being the good girl she is, Sierra turns it in at the office, and intends to go back to class, but to her surprise, the principal sends her to in-school suspension and arranges a hearing for her expulsion.

I'm not really sure what I want to say about this book.
Emily Elizabeth
There are few middle grade stories that really capture my interest, as I'm an avid romance fan, but something about Zero Tolerance really just spoke to me. Maybe it's because I'd never read a book that brought this topic up and looked at it from a student's point-of-view, or maybe it's because even from the summary, I saw a lot of myself in Sierra's character.

Sierra Shephard is up for expulsion from her school for bringing a paring knife in her lunchbox. Sierra is completely torn up about this a
Crystal  Burns
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it

First Thoughts
I love the whole premise behind this book! Plus I’m a new lover of all thing Middle Grade so Zero Tolerance was at the top of my list of Must Reads!

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book! I loved that Zero Tolerance explored the blurred lines of what it right, what is wrong, and what is fair. I love that this shows that there is no black and white, there is a gray area.

Sierra Shepard is your average goody-goody seventh grader. She makes straight A’s, she has great friends and p
Ms. Yingling
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Sierra Shepherd is a rule follower and an excellent student. When she realizes that she has inadvertently taken her mother's lunch to school, and that there is a paring knife in the bag, she immediately turns it in to the harried lunch lady. Her friends have told her she should have stayed quiet, but that wouldn't have been the right thing to do. Once Sierra gets to the office, she has to deal with the secretary, Ms. Lin, and the principal, Mr. Besser. Mr. Besser is spouting off to a visiting pr ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile, tween
Honor student Sierra is the kind of girl who will go to the Principal's office to suggest a new club. So when she accidentally takes her mom's lunch and finds a paring knife in it, she immediately goes lets school staff know. And finds herself facing expulsion because of the school's zero tolerance rules.

Unlike so many books, Sierra's parents are prominently featured as involved parents. Sierra's lawyer dad is determined to force the school to use common sense. Sierra's artist mom, on the other
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
i read this because it is a virginia readers' choice book for this school year. i wasn't really excited about reading it. it didn't take long to get into it. (i read it in one day.) i really liked the main character, sierra, and it was easy to see how her mistake got blown way out of proportion due to the school's zero tolerance policy. sierra's dad reminded me of my husband, so that was fun! i liked getting to know the "bad boy" and seeing the relationship between him and sierra develop during ...more
Leila Amos
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this book was my favorite by this author because I like mystery genres. This book is about a girl who accidentally swapped lunch bags with her mom and there was a plastic knife in the lunch bag. She then, does the responsible thing, turns it in to the lunch lady at school. The lady then turns her in to the principle. She gets in-school-suspension and has an expulsion hearing. She then is found not guilty and can return to school.
This was a good read. I liked Sierra and I really liked Luke. I could have lived without the Colin sub-plot but overall I thought it was a nicely balanced book. I finished it thinking the same thing I think every time I read a book that takes place in a public school: thank goodness I was home-schooled.
Christina Hagmann
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Zero Tolerance is a great novel for middle school students as it takes a close look at what is right, wrong, fair, and unfair, and how, often, those lines can be blurred. I thoroughly enjoyed this straightforward little book that sticks to the storyline.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Perfect for MS students and an exceptional lesson embedded within the story.
Sarah Nelson
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I love all the ethical questions that Claudia Mills raises in this story - like, when is it a good thing to break rules? And are seemingly good rules sometimes bad if they aren't applied with reason and compassion? Moreover, I like that Mills challenges the black and white notion of good and bad altogether.

When 7th grade honor student, Sierra, accidentally takes her mother's lunch bag to school, she finds an apple and a paring knife inside. The middle school has a strict "no weapons" rule - no
Robin Tzucker
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book!
The author nailed the MG voice. Each character was completely developed and their actions totally came from who they were and were consistent for each character (no stupid coincidences or "where the heck did that come from?" issues).

Read this in one sitting and would totally recommend to all MG readers! Was the author a teacher? Because she really "gets" the school environment!
Jessica Brooks
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What happens when Sierra, a perfect student, get suddenly placed in detention due to a zero tolerance policy? “Zero Tolerance” by Claudia Mills is about when Sierra finds herself in a situation with troubled kids. What happens when Sierra gets to know them? I love how Sierra is somebody who I personally can relate to when faced with trouble. Although, I wish the story line was more complex. I recommend this book if you are in middle school and enjoy realistic fiction books. I also recommend this ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love how this book is super relatable and has lots of suspense to keep you reading! I would recommend this book to any one from 9 all the way to even 12 years old. This book has romance,suspense and even a little mystery!
Amy Fournier
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, own
My Thoughts

The synopsis of this story intrigued me. I understand the seriousness of the issue at hand, but it seemed a little excessive to me to think that this student who has never done anything wrong, and even turns in the knife when she realized the mistake, should face expulsion. Not to worry though, the way that this book is done it makes sense. With a zero tolerance policy in the school, it doesn't matter if it was an accident or even that she turned it in. The fact that she brought it to
Melissa Delatorre
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Don't you ever hate when you get in trouble for something that you didn't do? I do, so this time i will tell you about a girl who gets expeled for something that her mom did. The genre is realistic fiction. I thought this was a good book.

It takes place at Sierra's school. This is a book about a girl named Sierra shepard a 7th grader who is a perfect student who wanted to know why there was a knife in her lunch box but she didn't want to get in trouble for accidentally bringing it to school. So
Mary Ronan Drew
Nov 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Seventh-grader Sierra Shepard is an all-A student, chosen for the school's elite choir, a student leader, beloved on the principal, Mr Besser. So when she discovers she has brought her mother's lunch to school instead of her own and that there is a paring knife in the bag to cut the apple her mother has included, she immediately takes the knife to the head of the cafeteria and explains that she has accidentally broken a school rule. No knives.

The inflexible cafeteria head takes Sierra and the kn
Jenni Arndt
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
After reading a few mindless middle grade books that were purely for fun and to pass the time it was nice to pick up Zero Tolerance and delve into a story with strong characterizations and an important message for young readers. We are quickly thrown into Sierra Shepard’s life where being a leader at school and getting A’s are the most important things. We also get to meet a host of really great secondary characters and learn a little something along the way.

Right off the bat I was really happy
Ryan S.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Zero Tolerance," created by Claudia Mills, is an realistic fiction book in which the main character, Sierra Shepherd, encounters a school-wide problem in which turns out being a school-district problem. Sierra, a seventh grade honor student at Longwood Middle School, had always been the perfect student who always does the right thing, not until her fate would change because of December 23rd. She had accidentally brought her mother's lunch, which contained of a knife for cutting apples, but the ...more
Estefany Ibarra
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you brought to school by mistake? Well if you have then this I a good book for you to read. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. In my opinion I think this is a really good book to read.
The setting of this book is in Longwood Middle School. When Sierra and her friends go to lunch sierra finds out that she took her moms lunch box by mistake so when she opens it she sees a knife in the lunch box. She then goes up to the lunch lady and the lu
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I completely identified with Sierra - the conscientious student who always tries to do what is right. I think that's what made it almost stressful to follow the events in the story!

I liked how relevant it is to today - I can easily see this happening. Zero tolerance policies have been used to punish kids for really dumb things. I liked that she made a really bad choice along the way, and I like how she handled the fall out from her choices.

The only thing that I see as a downside in this book is
Kristy Gillespie
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've read four of the Virginia Readers' Choice books so far (there are ten total this year) and Zero Tolerance is my second favorite. I'm a middle school librarian and this was the funnest VA Readers' Choice book talk I gave. I told the students "Sierra pulls out an apple from the lunch bag, then she pulls out a sandwich, then she pulls out some chips...then she pulls out a knife!" The students' eyes grow wide after I say that. Of the ten books, this one is checked out of our library more than a ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing story! I found it funny that she got in so much trouble over a plastic knife. I enjoyed reading this because it was an easy read and not very long. I would suggest this to people who like realistic-fiction stories.
Jessica Jose
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Definitely enjoyed reading this book. Going through what Sierra was doing in the book and she finally understanding each kids story during her suspension time was amazing. I would highly recommend this book, it just became of my favorite books I have read.
Mrs. Lester
I really enjoyed this book! It gets you to thinking about all the rules that a school has in place and what if a student did accidentally bring something to school that was not allowed.
Aug 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting changes occur when the "perfect" student is treated like the "juvenile delinquents" because of an honest mistake.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
First, of all - this book is trash.
Complete and utter trash.
I literally dragged myself through the last pages for one of two reasons
1. I had to read this book for school.
2. I wanted Sierra to get expelled even though the point of the book was that she wasn't going to be.

Let's start off with the good things.
1. The initial premise - this book promised an interesting look at the difference between right and wrong, and how what is wrong may be right, and how the difference between the two isn't
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UAPL Youth and Te...: Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills 7 12 Jul 09, 2015 02:18PM  
Summer Library Club 2015 1 3 Jul 06, 2015 02:56PM  

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Claudia Mills is the author of Nixie Ness, Cooking Star, 7 x 9 = Trouble!, Zero Tolerance, Write This Down, and many other books for children. She was born in New York City in 1954. She received her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College, her master's degree from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. She also received an M.L.S. degree from the University of M ...more
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