My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.02 stars with 165 ratings (as of 11/6/18)
Elise carries a notebook full of tallies, each page marking a day spent at her new public school, each stroke of her pencil marking a word spoken. A word that can’t be taken back. Five tally marks isn’t so bad. Two is pretty good. But zero? Zero is perfect. Zero means no wrong answers called out in class, no secrets accidentally spilled, no conversations to agonize over at…more on Goodreads
200 Word Review
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review. We all have said things that keep us up at night, regretting, worrying, replaying, and wishing we could have said something else. Elise, in “After Zero” by Christina Collins, has figured the perfect way to never have to stress over her regrettable words. She starts to keep track of how many words she speak in school. A good day would be if she was able to get through the entire day without speaking only two words. Her perfect day would involve speaking zero words.
I had worked with children for much of my life and have dealt with children who also have selective mutism and other anxiety disorders. Connecting with a child who had selective mutism was one of the most rewarding and challenging moments of my career. Looking at him you could see he wanted to connect but was terrified to. Elise is the same. She desperately wanted to connects with those around her. Collins accurately describes Elise’s internal struggle and gives Elise a voice for us to hear. I would encourage middle school aged children and older to read this to help with understanding others that are different. I look forward to reading Collins’ next work.
Genre: Young Adult, Middle School, Mental Health, Realistic Fiction
Length: 256 pages
ISBN 1492655325 (ISBN13: 9781492655329)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication date: September 4, 2018