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Zero [Paperback]

Diane Tullson

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Book Description

Oct. 5 2006

CCBC's Best Books for Kids & Teens, 2008

Kas fights to conceal her dangerous secret.

Kas has everything a teenager could possibly want. Away from home for the first time, and attending a prestigious art school, she makes friends with a model and aspiring actress, Marin, and meets Jacob, a handsome young musician. Her future is bright and promising. But Kas is hiding a secret—a secret so dangerous that it threatens to destroy not only her friendships, but also her own future.

Diane Tullson has written a powerful, coming-of-age novel about eating disorders, and of the vulnerable teenager who fights to conceal her secret from her friends. Zero is a realistic portrayal of a very subtle disease that challenges readers to figure out just when they should have recognized thesymptoms of anorexia and bulimia.

The novel includes an afterword that outlines the warning signs of anorexia and bulimia, as well as the common misconceptions about the victims of eating disorders.


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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—Beautiful Kas attends a prestigious private academy of the arts. She boards with a local family, as does handsome student musician Jacob, and she quickly finds friendship with petite Marin, an aspiring model and actress. Despite her obvious talent, Kas is never satisfied with the drawings she creates, and she works at maintaining a veneer of perfection in all facets of her life. At first, she conceals her anorexia and bulimia, but soon her life implodes as she acts out in ways that nearly destroy her and her relationships, especially her romance with Jacob. Tullson deftly portrays the teen as an intense perfectionist, subtly weaving in hints of her problem through the first half of the book, then blowing her character wide open as her eating disorders rage out of control. While other characters are underdeveloped—Jacob is simply too sweet and good to be true, and her house parents are nearly nonexistent—Kas holds readers' attention as she spirals downward. Marin is believably self-absorbed, unwittingly giving Kas tips on weight loss and helping her dabble dangerously in the local club scene. The role of Kas's family is minimal, giving little insight into the impact of family life on eating disorders, but the vulnerability Kas feels is played up throughout the book. The moments when she deliberately sabotages her artwork due to its perceived imperfection are particularly telling. An extensive author's note has straightforward information about eating disorders. This is an accessible choice for large collections.—Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Tullson offers an intense examination of a talented teen whose self-loathing runs wild and deep. Kas has gotten into the prestigious Whitchurch School of the Arts and is boarding with a family, along with another student, Jacob, a musician. The story spans January to June, and readers will watch with horror as Kas eats less and less and destroys the fine drawings that got her into the school, calling them trash. Her best friend, Marin, an actress, doesn't see Kas' anorexia and bulimia, nor does Jacob, who loves her. Even her teacher and doctor miss the signs. She lies and lies, starves, and finally collapses. The realistic ending offers a sliver of hope rather than conclusive healing. More than just a dissection of illness, the story also includes insights about making art and being part of an artistic community: Kas draws the puppies Jacob cares for; Jacob writes a song for Kas; Marin portrays Lady Macbeth's self-hatred so clearly that Kas, at last, sees herself. An author's note about eating disorders concludes. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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