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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

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Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci

Zero

Zero - Tom Leveen What can I say? It's a book that bears repeat readings.Also found here: http://theninjareader.tumblr.com/post/15344106041/look-out-for-zero-by-tom-leveenWhere 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 fantastic, I just want to sit down with them in a cafe and talk until dawn?Amanda "Zero", is our protagonist - a seventeen year old girl who has been accepted to the college of her dreams, but has to give up when her scholarship application is shot down. She can't talk to her best friend anymore, and her house is a constant war zone. Enter Mike, the drummer of the band Gothic Rainbow, whom Zero meets at a gig. And if you think that this is just another rom-com about bands achieving greatness and misunderstood artists getting recognition and problems and home... you would be right, and yet completely wrong at the same time. Allow me to explain - those elements do exist in this book. But unlike "She's All That", [b:Zero|10869590|Zero|Tom Leveen|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1333577993s/10869590.jpg|15784841] actually puts them to far better use. Let me put it this way - in your standard rom-com, Zero would go through some uber-traumatic experience, then get on her feet with Mike's help, and then meet some gallery owner who totally digs her art and skyrockets her to fame and fortune. This doesn't happen - not only are there is no immediate artistic recognition in this novel, Zero is refreshingly proactive when it comes to... well, everything. That is not to say that she's without her flaws - on the contrary, she makes plenty of mistakes, but she recovers from them, and, more importantly, she refuses to take anything lying down.And can I just say I love it when I see a realistic portrayal of sex and a sexual relationship in a book? Just sayin'.Mike... what can I say? Have my babies? Or let me have yours, unless Amanda beats me to it. I mean, seriously, if Amanda is refreshing, Mike is, I don't know, revolutionary, at least as far as romantic interests in YA come. I mean, the dude actually refuses to let his girlfriend have a low self-esteem, and goes about it in a convincing, non-creepy way! Either this is an awesome feat, or I've been reading too muck YA Paranormal.So, great characters, great story, great voice. I have nothing else to say but "Pre-order away!"NOTE: A copy of this book was provided by the publishers via NetGalley.