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Zero O'Clock: a Young Adult Novel
Cover of Zero O'Clock: a Young Adult Novel
Zero O'Clock: a Young Adult Novel
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For sixteen-year-old Geth Montego, zero o'clock begins on March 11, 2020. By June, she wonders if it will ever end."An insightful, eye-opening, and inventive story. C.J. Farley has penned a novel...
For sixteen-year-old Geth Montego, zero o'clock begins on March 11, 2020. By June, she wonders if it will ever end."An insightful, eye-opening, and inventive story. C.J. Farley has penned a novel...
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  • For sixteen-year-old Geth Montego, zero o'clock begins on March 11, 2020. By June, she wonders if it will ever end.

    "An insightful, eye-opening, and inventive story. C.J. Farley has penned a novel that sheds an important light on real issues facing young people today."
    Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give

    "For fiction with a sense of realism, this is a coming-of-age young adult book whose title is the same as that of a 2020 song by superstar boy band BTS, 00:00 (Zero O'Clock), with vocals by Jungkook, Jimin, Jin and V. Author C.J. Farley's novel grapples with the stresses and trauma of 2020."
    South China Morning Post

    "Remember when New Rochelle was frantically sanitizing office buildings and rapidly shutting things down in the beginning of 2020? Well, Geth remembers, as her character dealt with being a senior in high school in the first New York town COVID raged through in Zero O'Clock by Christopher John Farley."
    The Root

    "Geth is a likable, smart Gen Z protagonist in this modern epistolary work that combines diary entries, text messages, news reports, emails, and English lit essays to immersive effect...Farley offers readers undeniable value in this retelling of recent, unforgettable history."
    Kirkus Reviews

    "[Farley's] brilliance is in getting into the mind of a 16-year-old Black girl and giving her a vivid voice."
    Booklist

    In early March 2020 in New Rochelle, New York, teenager Geth Montego is fumbling with the present and uncertain about her future. She only has three friends: her best friend Tovah, who's been acting weird ever since they started applying to college; Diego, who she wants to ask to prom; and the K-pop band BTS, because the group always seems to be there for her when she needs them (at least in her head).

    She could use some help now. Geth's small city becomes one of the first COVID-19 containment zones in the US. As her community is upended by the virus and stirred up by the growing Black Lives Matter protests, Geth faces a choice and a question: Is she willing to risk everything to fight for her beliefs? And if so, what exactly does she believe in? C.J. Farley captures a moment in spring 2020 no teenager will ever forget. It sucks watching the world fall apart. But sometimes you have to start from zero.

About the Author-

  • C.J. FARLEY was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and lives in New Rochelle, NY. A graduate of Harvard University, Farley is the author of the acclaimed fantasy adventure novel Game World and the best-selling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, which was adapted into a hit Lifetime movie. Farley's young adult novel Around Harvard Square won an NAACP Image Award and was named a 2020 Honor Book by the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2021
    Already reeling from loss, a Black high school senior brings her OCD, anxiety, and depression into March 2020. In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gethsemane Montego is a musical-theater-loving, BTS-fangirling, 16-year-old senior at New Rochelle High School. She and her two best friends--Jewish Korean valedictorian Tovah and Cuban American star quarterback Diego--attend the same high school where Geth's security guard father died tragically three years ago during a shooting. Geth resents how quickly her mother has moved on--with a White man, at that--but, as best they can, her friends help her manage the increases in her anxiety and compulsions as well as her stifling grief. Awaiting admission results from Columbia is an added stressor, but as the coronavirus case numbers quickly shoot up, Geth faces multiple burdens and traumas. Police violence, racial inequity, hyperpartisanship, immigration, economic anxieties, and a complicated coming-out story all pile on top of the pandemic's hefty body count. Geth is a likable, smart Gen Z protagonist in this modern epistolary work that combines diary entries, text messages, news reports, emails, and English lit essays to immersive effect. Wringing so much content, so much hurt, into a YA novel is a tall order that yields very mixed results. Still, whether through cutting humor or disparate political perspectives, Farley offers readers undeniable value in this retelling of recent, unforgettable history. Commendable ambition that may help readers look forward. (Fiction. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2021
    Grades 9-12 For 16-year-old Geth Montego (like the rest of us), the COVID-19 pandemic begins on March 11, 2020, with what was supposed to be a temporary lockdown. She calls it "zero o'clock," after a song by BTS, the K-pop group she loves and can talk about endlessly. The lockdown affects her relationships with her two best friends, Tovah and Diego, with whom she primarily socializes via text. Geth worries about her mother, a nurse; frets about Kevin, her mother's boyfriend; and observes and reflects on the world around her in what reads like a series of journal entries. She is bright and opinionated and tends toward self-absorption, until she ventures outside herself and toward the messiness and imperfection of participating in the real world, and when she begins to take action against racial injustice in her city, her expressiveness gains cohesion. Farley packs in plenty of cultural references and slang, and while these might go stale quickly, his brilliance is in getting into the mind of a 16-year-old Black girl and giving her a vivid voice.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2021

    Gr 8 Up-Sixteen-year-old Geth Montego already had her world upended when her father died three years ago in a school shooting, and now it's happening again as COVID-19 takes over America. Geth loves Broadway and BTS, has two close friends, and is eagerly awaiting her college acceptance letters, but readers will be waiting to see how 2020 unfolds for the teen and her friends. A confrontation with the cops puts Geth in the center of the Black Lives Matter movement in her community, pushing her already fraught coming-of-age story into the limelight. Geth's voice carries the novel through our unprecedented recent history as she navigates grief, anger, and her own mental illnesses of anxiety, depression, and OCD during the stay-at-home orders and rising pandemic death toll. Her narration comes at the cost of some heavy exposition, which Farley breaks up epistolary-style with news reports, texts, emails, and even school essays. This novel juggles police violence, social justice, college stress, mental illness, friendship, romance, and the pandemic. A few of those topics get dropped before the finish line, but Geth's sense of humor helps smooth things over as they relive 2020 with her. Geth is Black, her best friends are Jewish Korean and Cuban American, and her mother's boyfriend is white. VERDICT While the novel doesn't deliver on all fronts, it could find a home with collections looking for quarantine fiction right now. An additional purchase.-Emmy Neal, Lake Forest Lib., IL

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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