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Zero Tolerance (2013)

by Claudia Mills(Favorite Author)
2.81 of 5 Votes: 3
0374333122 (ISBN13: 9780374333126)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
review 1: Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills - Fiction, 5th grade and up (a few carefully placed b-words and a little more that reminded me of Esme Codell’s Sahara Special) – Just loved reading about the dilemma and reaction of student, her classmates, her teachers/administration and parents when Sierra, seventh grader, accidentally brings her mom’s lunch bag to work and pulls out her mom’s paring knife at the lunchroom table. Thinking she was doing the right thing, she quickly brings the knife to the office, which then activates the zero tolerance policy leading to a hearing which will decide if she’ll be expelled. Fascinating study of many different characters when they’re in personal crisis and how they rise, influence others, and guide the future… just loved this book... more, quite recommended, oh what a classroom conversation this book would have- just have to be careful about reading aloud a few words! :)
review 2: Sierra Shepherd is the stereotypical good girl in every way and a reliable student leader at her middle school. At lunch one day she discovers a small paring knife inside her lunch bag. Realizing that she had mistakenly grabbed her mom’s lunch by mistake, she asks her friends what she should do and they urge her to put the knife back in the bag and move on. However, rule-follower Sierra turns the knife over to one of the lunch ladies, as the school has a zero tolerance policy concerning weapons. Sierra incorrectly assumes that since she did the “right thing” by turning in the knife and explaining the situation of the switched lunch bags, she will be exempt from any punishment. But the principal rules otherwise: zero tolerance is zero tolerance. He sends her to in-school suspension until the school board will hear her case. Sierra is mystified at this decision, and her father, a prominent attorney, urges her to tell her plight to the media. Her story leads the area newscasts for several days and she becomes a quasi-celeb. While serving out her ISS, she is thrown in with campus bad boy, Luke Bishop, a person she previously disdained. But, after spending several days with him in suspension, she comes to realize the reasons for his seemingly constant bad behaviors and they bond. There are other peripheral stories: Sierra’s crush on Collin, her parents’ relationship, Sierra’s bad deed, and the principal’s Achilles heel that could turn the board’s decision in her favor. But the denouement is never in doubt. And Sierra has learned you can’t judge a book by its cover and rules are fallible -- principles she should have known all along if she was as smart as she was portrayed to be. Though topical, the story just doesn’t work for me. It’s sketchy and superficial and Sierra is implausible at times. The adults and most of her friends are stereotypes. BTW, when was the last time you heard of anyone playing with a Game Boy? And the mild profanity is gratuitous. The book could be used for discussions about following rules and the many gray areas in life. It would most likely appeal to 10-12-year-old girls. less
Reviews (see all)
2.5. Slow going in the middle. Sierra's father was too mean spirited.
Really quick read with my lil sis. We both loved it.
Ho hum. Immature and boring.
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