Monday, May 25, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: Zero Tolerence



Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills, June 18, 2013. 240 pages. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). Source: publisher.
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.
First Sentence:
Sierra Shepard sat in the office at Longwood Middle School during lunch recess 5A, waiting to see her principal, Mr. Besser.


So, Zero Tolerance must have gotten lost in my review stacks because I only just now found it...two years after it released. Yet, I'm glad that I finally got a chance to read it even though it is nowhere near when it first came out because it was so good.

Oh my goodness! Zero Tolerance  was incredible on so many levels. Yet, what I liked most about it would have to be the look into how ironclad rules, no matter the good intentions, have a tendency to cause harm to those doing the right thing, like Sierra. Ah, how this book intrigued me because watching things play out just drew me in. I'll be honest with y'all, everything Sierra went through made me feel righteous anger (think Starfire) over the injustice of her punishment. You know what, I loved that this book made me feel so passionately about what had befallen the character because it showed how well the book and story-line were written.

While it was interesting to see how easily rules meant to protect people can be, well, enforced for the wrong reasons I enjoyed seeing how things affected not only Sierra but also the school and her principal. It was interesting because everything that happened, from the time she turned in the knife till the end, had effects that rippled out and changed they way she viewed friends, teachers and really everything. It just turned into such a thought provoking read given some of the things that one sees playing out in the media these days.

I cannot say enough good things about Claudia Mills' Zero Tolerance. Yet, it was the strength that her family showed during the rough times that I really, really enjoyed. While her dad's tactics may not have been "nice", I enjoyed seeing the lengths he would go to make sure the right thing happened. I also thought the author did a great job of creating not only a supportive family for Sierra, and their portrayal, but in the contrasting views that her parents had in regards to everything going on.

Final Verdict: Zero Tolerence- A truly fascinating look at how rules to protect can go so wrong. This book made me rage-y but in a good way!!!

Zero Tolerence earns

this book was received in exchange for an honest review.

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