{Audiobooks} Zero Author Tom Leveen – Sharkmotorcyclehelmets.co.uk

What can I say It s a book that bears repeat readings.Also found here 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 whereYA 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 any, 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 , Zero 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,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. 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 she wanted was annoying then funny then frustrating and finally entertaining in turns because she is a typical teenager with issues that run the gamut of superficial to complicated She s an artist and not sure about her talent She s a daughter and very angry one at that She s a loner But she s complicated too because every so often she d be hard ass tough then turn around and be insecure and unaware.The interaction between the characters could get a bit clumsy at times but OVERALL I felt there was an authenticity to how they acted and behaved around each other For example, the bands familiarity with each other their passion simply rang true But out of all of them it s Zero and Mike that stick to mind how she and Mike were new to each other at first, perplexed by each other then holding each other up and even later disappointing each other a little I think it s that they weren t each other s everything is what I found most believable Both had their own thing He had his music and parental issues she had her art and familial obligations too 3 5THANKS NETGALLEY 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 art classes at the local community college, avoiding her best friend after an awkward drunken moment and ducking for cover as her parents marriage implodes When Zero meets Mike, a drummer in an up and coming local band, he creates a bright spot that shines some hope on her summer, but is it enough to enlighten the path to her future Amanda s self doubt and low self esteem seem pretty overwhelming at first Her Zero nickname is the result of her massive and I do mean massive amount of insecurities insecurities that weighed down the story with their quantity at first and then didn t have enough heft in their eventual solutions I think I would have liked Zero much better if one of her insecurities had turned out to be actually valid For a majority of the book, the reader is led to believe that Amanda is a little overweight Turns out she s just wearing clothing five sizes too big and actually secretly skinny Amanda worries she ll be forever alone, but attracts the attention of not one but two of the most appealing characters in the book Don t worry, you re in a no love triangle zone Amanda had always based her value as an artist on the compliments of her 7th grade art teacher and I admit I cackled at the importance Amanda placed on evaluations of her talent assessed at twelve years old, but never fear by the end of the summer, despite focusing a questionable amount of her art around rainbows, she has affirmed her artistic genius Luckily, Zero delivers in other ways The young love was swoony despite Mike having the girl s haircut on the cover , the drama was sincere in its angst and after a shaky quippy beginning with too many sex and genitalia jokes for a female protagonist the voice evened out charmingly The story goes in some unexpected directions that were handled differently than the typical contemporary YA.I m also a sucker for artist neurosis and not only does Amanda love art, her obsession with Salvador Dali gave her passion a detailed depth Despite having a pretty extensive interest in art history thanks to my Mom s bookshelves of art books , Dali was never my guy Sure, he seemed pretty interesting but I ended up associating melting clocks with dorm rooms rather than the persistence of memory.Fast forward to a sopho year visit to the Salvador Dali museum in St Petersburg, Florida Whatever you think of his artwork, there is something about seeing it in it s 15 foot tall glory right in front of you Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus The Hallucinogenic ToreadorIt s breath taking I highly recommend visiting the Dali Museum in St Pete if you have the chance My other favorites from the exhibit are Vel zquez Painting the Infanta Margarita with the Lights and Shadows of His Own Glory and Galaciadalacidesoxiribunucleicacid Homage to Crick and Watson The amount of detail, the double imagery and layers upon layers of symbolism and meaning in his works are truly fascinating.While Zero falls short of matching the depth and complexity of the artist it honors, it does feature a lot of my grade on a curve topics music and art appreciation, fictional boys in bands, song lyric appropriation to fictional situations etc and I enjoyed it accordingly This review originally appeared on Young Adult Anonymous.Giveaway I was fortunate enough to receive a finished hardcover copy of Zero from the publisher and since I already had an e book copy on my Kindle I would like to share the wealth Enter to receive the brand new hardcover of Zero by Tom Leveen on the blog. 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 MikeI 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 are handed blank canvas after blank canvas for smudges, spills, mistakes due to coloring living outside the lines, redos, do overs, personality makeovers, experimentation, and infinite opportunities to love freely and innocently, without any inhibitions that the world places on love AAHHH but the trunk load of blank canvases dwindle as age and time steal them away and one day, the youth wakes up and finally realizes that he or she is handed one last canvas to hang on the wall their legacy in living color a life painting that cannot be changed So while you still have what seems like an endless supply of blank white canvases and an infinity of time spend every moment on yourself Just up and go and to hell with everyone else Be young, have fun, and seize the day Zer0LOVED, LOVED this book it is a keeper in my own personal library Tom Leveen is now one of my favs This YA novel is a fast, intense read Leveen does a masterful job of creating a realistic and heavily flawed cast of characters, all viewed through the eyes of seventeen year old snarky artist Amanda, aka Zero She s full of angst and melodrama, traits that normally would turn me off of a character pretty fast Her behavior did irritate me in a few spots but overall I found her sympathetic Her home life is wretched Her father is a drunk Her mother tries to glue the family together through nagging Amanda s one escape is through her art but her dream of getting into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago just cracked into a million pieces when she was accepted into the school but failed to get a scholarship She s angry at the world, but mostly herself Mike, her love interest, is the drummer of an rising local Phoenix band called Gothic Rainbow Mike is a good guy I liked that Leveen went that route He s reallylevel headed and realistic than Amanda The novel doesn t skirt around adult themes The book does include sex It s honestly portrayed This is not a romance book The sex that happens is not ideal It carries some regret, and there s also honest talk about disease and risk of pregnancy It s well handled, if discomforting to read I wish I could reach into the book and slap Amanda, tell her to stop and THINK There s also a theme through the book of adults letting Amanda down It s devastating at times, especially a subplot involving her art teacher It creates an interesting dynamic So many books have an orphaned main character, struggling to make it on their own Here, it s the teenagers who are all orphaned in their own ways just as they struggle to find themselves Leveen handles it very well.In all, it s a good book Definitely one for older teens, or those who are ready for heavier content Books like this end up banned at school libraries, but really, there s nothing in here that teens don t already know about The book just highlights it but also has the benefit of showing the consequences and that there s hope in the future. 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 have a man name, and a man picture, a man bio There s even a video where it s you allegedly giving a book talk Give it up, man Admit it you were once a 17 yr old girl Sarcasm over I was shocked, shocked I tell you, about 1 3 of the way through when I finally figured out that this 17 yr old voice was coming out of the pen and mind of a man Ok, you re a man I hate the word kudos , because it s the name of a delicious granola bar But the the Greek word means glory So in this instance, I will say kudos to you I say it because that was one heck of a true to life voice from our pal Zero Kudos to Tom the Man I admit that this really sounds sexist of me, but it s not that From my own experience being a 17 yr old girl, I can tell you that Zero and I shared the exact same inner rage, doubt, girly giddiness, nervousness, disappointment and frustration Sometimes when a guy writes the POV of a teen girl, it can just sound so cliched, like, this is what he remembers the bitchiest girl in high school talked like, therefore this is a teen voice Enough gushing about Tom the Man This story takes a peek into the summer between graduation and freshman yr in college for Zero, a passionate art student who got into her art school of choice, but doesn t have the money for the elite school There are Salvadore Dali quotes throughout, being her favorite artist They took the place of the requisite Favorite Classic Book that every YA novel includes nowadays But it was just a sprinkling, and seemed totally within character This is definitely a character doorway book, as there is a plot line, but not a lot of action Everything takes place at a few places around Phoenix The real worth in this book is the interpersonal relationships, and the growth of Zero the zero, into Amanda the artist. More of my reviews can be read on my blog The Muses CircleMy 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 of her dreams is shattered Although she was accepted into the Art Institute of Chicago, she doesn t get the scholarship she so desperately needs due to her portfolio lacking technical excellence To add to this devastating news, she has a falling out with her best friend, Jenn Her parents, while supportive, argue nearly every waking moment, causing Zero to feel creatively stifled On one particularly bad night, Zero decides to head out to one of her favorite dives called The Graveyard And that s when she meets Mike, drummer for one of the opening bands called Gothic Rainbow Gathering the courage to go up and talk to him is just the beginning of her journey to discovering her self worth as a young woman and an artist.I don t know how Tom Leveen did it, but ZERO the book and the character feels 100% authentic I m still in a bit of shock that he created such a convincing, identifiable female character The similarities between Zero and I are almost scary I used to be seriously into art and at one point considered going to art school I also know what it s like to hang with the guys but never feel pretty enough to actually be with one of them And as freaky as this may sound, I too, once had a crush on a guy I met at a concert, who just so happened to be a drummer for his own bandand his name was MIKE Talk about coincidental, right I also like how Tom Leveen always starts each section with Zero saying, Here s the thing We all have our quirky phrases that we say Like for me, I ve been told that when I get serious I frequently say, You know what Leveen applying this detail really adds to Zero s voice as a character.If Leveen can write such a great female character then I am not surprised how much I also liked Mike I think I even fell a little in love with him Even though Mike had his own set of family and relationship issues which are somewhat, but not fully revealed , I like that Leveen didn t turn him into the cliche male character that walks around with a chip on his shoulder You know the kind I m talking about, the one who is a bit arrogant at first, is sort of mean and aloof and acts like he doesn t have feelings for the main female character, but later shows he has a sensitive side Nope, that s not Mike Mike may proceed with caution, but he never puts on a front with Zero He s sensitive as most artists are in his case musically yet remains very realistic as to how the music world works.I think what I love the most about Mike is how he loves Zero for who she is, faults, insecurities, and all A perfect example is one of my favorite parts of the book I need to share this with everyone Let me set the scene Mike and Zero are at the beginning stages of dating She goes over his house and is in his room, waiting for him to finish getting ready so they can head outYou look good, Mike says casually as he pulls a black T shirt over his head.I glance down at myself Agent Orange T shirt, cutoffs with my green Dali belt, and my monkey boots Liar, I say.Mike winces Really I m sorry, I just meant Okay, this stops now, he says, and comes over to me He kicks his door closed, and for the first time I see the cheap full length mirror nailed to the back What size is that shirt he asks, pulling me to stand in front of him so we re both looking in the mirror Large Obviously Large I wear a large, and I m not a big guy You should be wearing a small Medium, tops You don t like how I dress I love how you dress I m saying it should fit you Well, I don t feel like advertising my fat ass Your Okay, take your belt off I do, and wonder why Does he have tantalizing plans for it Mike grabs the waistband of my shorts in one hand and a handful of my T shirt in the back in the other and pulls them both taut Now look, he says, nodding at the mirror That s you You re swimming in this stuff You have a kick ass body He releases my clothes, and my shorts nearly slip off I grab them in one hand I mean, dress however you want I still think you re hot no matter what But it s something to think about Sall I m sayin Staring at myself, I pull my shorts tight again and study the image You mean it I ask him I really do I let go of my waistband, and my shorts fall to the floor Mike takes a step back, his eyes widening Sweet Something to think about I say to his reflection in the mirror.I watch him run a hand over his hair He can t keep his eyes off me And I like it I had no idea I could ever feel thisoh, the hell with it sexy.Enough said, right Leveen also creates memorable secondary characters I absolutely loved the guys Hob, Eddie, Brook that make up Mike s band They really are a fun bunch and embrace Zero They love her artwork and commission her to do flyers, t shirts, etc for Gothic Rainbow Again, this totally reminds me of my younger years when I used to hang out with my Mike and his band.It s no secret that Leveen packs a lot of issues that young people experience in this book Zero s parents are constantly arguing and a part of that is due to her father being an alcoholic Zero herself suffers from low self esteem, which also affects her painting and relationships with others Let s see, other topics themes you will come across abandonment and sexuality issues, using sex as a way to fill the void , the consequences of unsafe sex, etc Oh, and did I forget to mention that there is quite a bit of cursing and sexual situations in this book I m completely fine with it hell, I think it s quite refreshing since, let s face it, young adults, especially in the 17 years and older age group are sexually active While I enjoy books that go the PG route and try to promote abstinence, I think ZERO is arealistic portrayal of young adults.There are quite a few people out there that felt that the book leaves too many issues open ended Or that Leveen didn t wrap everything up and put a, and they lived happily ever after at the end To be quite frank, for about a day or 2 after reading ZERO,I bounced back and forth between a 4 star rating and a 5 star rating I did have a few questions that were left unanswered, one being what was Mike trying to say to Zero about his mom after he got back from his trip But after thinking about it, I actually was okay with the way the book ended After all, finding self worth and self esteem doesn t just happen overnight Marital issues don t just get better overnight People aren t just cured of alcoholism overnight Abandonment issues don t just go away overnight Beginning to trust your best friend again after feeling betrayed doesn t just happen overnight You get the point And this may sound crazybut I can definitely see a sequel happening Whether the author consciously or subconsciously ended things the way he did, I can totally see Leveen revisiting these characters, maybe when they are in their early 20 s One can dream, right Reviewed by Mia at The Muses Circle 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 You could even argue that the plot line wasn t even all that bad, nor were some of the supporting characters The biggest problem with this book is it s incredibly immature, selfish, and overly self deprecating main character Zero Amanda is her actual name I wanted to shout at her to please stop being so horribly self absorbed I can t take it any Zero is your typical teenage artist type with problems Yes, her family is difficult but it s hard to be so overly sympathetic with her, because while her parents clearly have issues with each other, they seem to truly love her The author s other mistake is making her friend Jenn, and her boyfriend Mike s home situations seem a little worse Though Zero really takes no interest in them in that way because Gasp She might have to think about someone other than herself All she does is complain about what she has missed out on LIke for instance the scholarship that she wasn t awarded, though she did get into her first and only choice dream school Instead of at least believing that she has any artistic talent because she was ACCEPTED to an Art school, she decides to think she has none because of losing the scholarship The whole woe is me goes on and on and on and, well you get the point Lets go onto her relationships, she really only has about 5, which includes her parents, her friend Jenn, an Art teacher, and her boyfriend Mike She decides to not talk to her best friend Jenn for weeks, because it finally comes out that Jenn made a pass at her, because she feels Zero is the only person that understands her First of all, from the start of the book its presented like she cut Jenn out of her life, because Jenn did something bad to her I was expecting her to have hooked up with a past boyfriend, or stabbed her in the back some other way, because of all the buildup before the big reveal I was not expecting the reason to be that Jenn cared TOO much for her Seriously Come On Instead of talking to Jenn, and asking her best friend of 4 years what could make her do such a thing, she cuts her off completely Jenn even attempts to talk and apologize to her several times before Zero will even talk to her Eventually they become friends again, but all you see of their friendship is Jenn being there and supportive of her, never the other way around Even though Jenn s parent s are incredibly absent, and she seems to sleep around with a large number of different people to fill the void Now Lets move onto Mike She meets him at a concert, after seeing him play she decides to talk to him They hit it off, eventually start going out the usual Here s the thing though, you don t really feel anything about their relationship It s kind of just there, and Mike just becomes another person that she eventually treats like shit He again is another character that clearly cares for her, and supports her, yet she barely does anything in return except when he asks her to draw up the flyers for his band Even when it comes to sex, which is has asked her to wait on, she decides to disregard his feelings and just push on into what she wants Somehow he forgives her as if nothing happened, even asks her to join him on his bands tour but she declines, which I can understand but she does it only for herself, all of the obligations that come to her mind are about her, not really about anyone else in her life Her parents and her art teacher are mentioned enough to be fairly main characters, but again the only real interaction we see between her and them, is her being mad or annoyed with them, and eventually acting like a spoiled child especially with her mother She could not bedisrespectful to her if she tried The thing is though, it s hard to understand her total resentment of her, because while she could possibly be annoying at times by asking questions about her teenage daughter s whereabouts, she doesn t really show any other traits that might require such a reaction I apologize if I am being too cruel with this book, but it s difficult to find anything to really like about it The main character was incredibly awful, and the plot could have been good, but ultimately really didn t go anywhere Not enough happened in this book to make it worth the read, or exciting enough to help you ignore Zero On the bright side, I did read this as an ARC so maybe some things will change before actual publication We can hope right 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 Described As Majorly Awkward, And Zero S Parents Relationship Goes From Tense To Relentless Fighting, Her Prospects Start Looking As Bleak And Surreal As A Painting By Her Idol Salvador Dali Will Life Truly Imitate Art Will Her New, Unexpected Relationship With A Punk Skater Boy Who Seems Too Good To Be Real And Support From The Unlikeliest Of Sources Show Zero That She S So Much Than A Name 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 takecontrol 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 band begins to take off Zero has some tough decisions to make about her relationship, stuff going on at home, her friendship with Jenn, and her art.My Thoughts This is the second book I ve read by Tom Leveen the first being Party , which I LOVED , and I am officially digging this author He knows how to write characters I really liked how he was able to capture the voice of Amanda, a self esteem deprived art girl, and pull it off I mean men don t usually get how girls think, especially teenage girls I m not sure I even get what goes on in their heads and I was one once Mr Leveen did a super job writing this girl in a way that was so believable.This is not a action packed book It sabout that awkward time in your life when you get your first boyfriend and don t exactly know what you re doing Except Amanda was older, so she wasn t immature about it, she was just figuring things out I really liked how she embraced the whole Zero nickname It was her ironic way of joining in on what people were saying about her in high school but then you just knew she was destined to shed it at some point No one should be a Zero for the rest of their life Especially not someone with so much talent.I must say I was a little jealous of these teenage kids Mike and Amanda were both very talented and both knew what they were good at and what they wanted to do with their lives Or at least what they wanted to try doing I m in my 30 s and sad to say I still don t know what I m really all that good at I don t want to be ordinary does anybody But these two were anything but ordinary Amanda had so much talent, she just needed to find a way to believe in herselfand show that true emotion in her work That was cool to read about.The whole thing that goes on with Amanda and Jenn was a little weird off the wall for me I wasn t expecting the issue that they were having to be what it was and I m still not convinced things could ever be the same with them But I was glad that they were trying I don t want to tell you what the issue was, it was a little disturbing.So now the relationship LOVED IT No insta love This was a boy and a girl meeting each other and a real build to being together And the ending LOVED IT So not a fantasy fairy tale, just real freaking life OVERALL I m hooked on Tom Leveen s writing Party was amazing, and this one wasn t far behind it It s not as goth or punk as the cover makes it seem It s just great characters who happen to love art and music If you want to read a book about a girl finding herself amid rough circumstances, this one s for you My Blog