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From the authors of Uglies (Scott Westerfeld), YELLOWCAKE (Margo Lanagan), and “A Scar For Leida” (Deborah Biancotti) comes ZEROES, the first novel in a new trilogy of the same name.

Ethan, who goes by the alias Scam, has an omniscient voice inside his head that can make almost anyone do or believe in anything. This comes in handy in many situations, except for bank robberies. Hoping to deposit the bag of money he “accidentally” stole from a drug dealer, things go awry when three men wearing ski masks and holding guns barge in and demand money. Things get even worse when one of the hostages videotapes Scam and turns the video in to the police (and puts it on the internet). He’s arrested and held for questioning, and now must depend on his old friends, the broken up members of the Zeroes --- Glorious Leader, Crash, Flicker and Anonymous --- to reunite and clean up the mess.

Throw Kelsie into the whirlwind of mess. She was enjoying a nice, post-clubbing breakfast with her friends until she noticed a blue car circling around the local bank with a familiar man in the backseat. The next thing she knows, her dad is thrown in jail for robbery and one of his accomplices is killed. After her dad escapes when the power goes out, he tells Kelsie about the spooky kid in the bank who seemed to know everything about him --- including Kelsie. Concerned for both of their safety, Kelsie’s dad tells her to stay with a friend until he can come up with the money he owes his drug lord boss, believing that Ethan was sent to scare him. Wanting to help her father out, Kelsie is determined to find the boy from the internet bank video and get some answers out of him, like how he knew all that information about her dad and exactly what he was doing in the bank that day. In the process she meets the Zeroes, who take her under their wing and promise to help get her dad out of trouble.

Once I began reading it, I couldn’t set it back down.

ZEROESreally caught my attention, and once I began reading it, I couldn’t set it back down. Even though I took a chance by reading a book co-written by Scott Westerfeld since I didn’t particularly enjoy his last book, AFTERWORLDS, I’m proud to say that my expectations for this book were blown. When I first read the synopsis, I thought this would be your typical “Teens Discover Superpowers and Use Their Newfound Powers to Fight Evil and Kick Butt”, like all the Marvel and DC comics, but this was nothing like that. Even though the teens in the novel have powers, their main problems deal with friends, family and self-discovery, like most teenagers, which made them more relatable.

Although ZEROES is a great book, I am a tad bit upset over the frequency of Crash’s point of view (POV) sections. She was the only person who voiced her opinion and was visibly reluctant about helping Scam. This made her different from the other Zeroes, which made me want to read more from her. It seemed like forever until her next POV rolled around.

ZEROES is a great read for those looking for a story about teenage friendship and dealing with family, plus the awesomeness of superpowers. I do recommend that only those 14 years and older read this, since are a few scenes that mention drugs and give a graphic description of what happens to those who take them. 

Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board member on September 29, 2015

by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

  • Publication Date: September 29, 2015
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • ISBN-10: 1481443364
  • ISBN-13: 9781481443364