Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review: Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills

Meet Sierra Shepard, model student. As a straight A student involved in leadership activities at her school, it's hard for Sierra to understand students like Luke Bishop who get in trouble for fighting. The rules are there for a reason, and if you follow them there will be no trouble. Things are just that easy.

However, her perfect bubble bursts when she finds out that she brought her mother's lunch to school instead of her own. It wasn't irritating enough that the sandwich was ham and cheese instead of just cheese, her mother had a small paring knife to cut her apple. Sierra does what she feels like is the right thing, she brings it to the lunch room monitor. Who immediately takes her to the Principal's office. Thanks to a zero tolerance rule, knives are forbidden at school, and now perfect student Sierra faces suspension, if not expulsion.

A fight between her attorney father and the principal elevates her suspension to local if not national news. This is great as her long time crush Colin starts to notice her, however she's not in class so doesn't get to see him too often. And then there is that pesky Luke Bishop, who seems to always be in school suspension. Why can't he just follow the rules, and why can't every one understand that Sierra was trying to do the right thing?

Zero Tolerance looks at the grey area of rules that are there to protect students and teachers, and how those rules might help but there are also times where common sense and exceptions should be made. Sierra is a good kid, there's no question. Being in with the misfits of in school suspension gives her a new perspective. A no fighting rule that punished both parties, even if one was only acting in self defense doesn't look fair any more, and kids who seem like trouble might just be misunderstood.

If you are looking for something a little bit lighter than the usual YA fare, Zero Tolerance is a great Middle Grade novel for those readers not quite ready for the Teen Space!

I'll see you @ the library!
Katie (Now ready Rose Under Fire, the companion book to Code Nave Verity!)

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