Monday, February 2, 2015

MG Book Review: Zero Tolerance, by Claudia Mills

General Information
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Year of publication: 2013
# of chapters: 40
# of pages: 231
Genre: Contemporary
Website: www.claudiamillsauthor.com




Plot summary (from Amazon):
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 ironclad no weapons policy. While there, Sierra spends time with Luke, a boy who's known as a troublemaker, and discovers that he's not the person she assumed he would be--and that the lines between good and bad aren't as clear as she once thought. Claudia Mills brings another compelling school story to life with Zero Tolerance.

Positive Points
Because of the deep POV style, I could really connect with Sierra's thoughts and emotions. She sounded just like a twelve-year-old. I also love the character growth in this story. Sierra is going through a lot and is growing in the process. In the end, she's a little older, a little more open-minded, a little bolder.

This book was very well written. It kept me interested from beginning to end, although the beginning was a bit slow. But from the middle on, I couldn't stop reading.

I was a bit like Sierra as a kid, never getting in trouble at school, proud of my good grades, horrified at the thought of doing something bad, like missing a class or failing a test. It made me laugh to remember those school days and how I used to be. It was interesting to see this kind of character getting in trouble for bringing a knife to school by mistake and facing detention, and even possible expulsion!

Negative Points
I really can't find anything negative to say about this book. Except maybe that the beginning was a little slow.

Oh, and there were a few swear words, including calling the school secretary a bitch. But even Sierra is uncomfortable with this word, although she's now using it for the first time. In this case, it kind of goes with the plot and I would say it's acceptable. I normally don't like swear words in middle grade books, but in this particular book, there was a reason for using them.

What makes this book unique
Not many stories have a model student as a main character.

Overall Impression
I saw a review of this book on a blog I follow, and it was on my to-read list for a long time. I'm glad I finally got to read it. Claudia Mills is one talented author.

My Rating:


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