04 November 2013
Mills, Claudia. Zero Tolerance. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013.
Sierra is the quintessential good student who always follows the rules, so when she opens her lunch bag and discovers that she accidentally grabbed her mother's lunch, which included a small knife to cut an apple, she promptly turns herself in to the lunch lady, thinking that the matter can be quickly and easily resolved. She is shocked to discover that her school's "zero tolerance" policy dictates that she be placed in in-school suspension pending a hearing about her expulsion from school. Sierra has an opportunity to meet some of the "bad kids" at her school and discovers that most issues are not as black and white as they may seem.
I'll be the first to admit it: Sierra annoyed me. Her friends could have solved her whole problem from the start; they recommended that she hide the knife in her lunch bag and just bring it home. And I did not enjoy watching the school politics hyper-inflate the situation, although I am sure the descriptions were closer to reality than anyone would care to admit. This was a good story about a good kid who ends up getting to know some of the "bad kids," and who grows a bit of a backbone, but it didn't keep my attention as much as I'd hoped it would.
Recommended for: tweens
Red Flags: mild profanity from Sierra's ISS buddies
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars