"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein
13 August 2018
Collins, Christina. After Zero. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2018.
Elise keeps tallies in her notebook - one tally mark for every one word spoken aloud. She tries her best to stay at zero every day. If she doesn't speak, then she won't make a mistake. If she doesn't speak, she won't embarrass herself or others. Ellie's silence, though, is affecting her life at school, and once her mom clues in to the fact that things are not as rosy as Ellie is making them seem, Ellie is faced with a family secret that may prove louder than her silence.
This is an #ownvoices story according to the author information in the back of the book, and I can only barely imagine the frustration of a child or teen who is dealing with selective mutism. I was glad that the author highlighted this very real struggle that some people are facing, as well as the difficulty some students have when transitioning out of a homeschool environment and into a public school. The ending isn't a Disney-esque rosy picture where everything wraps up perfectly, but it is satisfying. Well-developed characters and a measured plot make this an ideal middle grade story. Recommended.
Recommended for: middle grade, tweens
Red Flags: bullying
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Read-Alikes: The Red Pencil, The One and Only Ivan, The Benefits of Being an Octopus
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley for the purpose of review.