After Zero by Christina Collins
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2018, 256 pages
Trigger Warnings: Action & violence; brief depiction of Alcohol; social anxiety
About the Author: Christina Collins graduated with a MFA in creative writing from George Mason University and went on to get a PhD in creative writing from Queen’s University Belfast. She was a writer-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Art Commune program in Armenia. She already has extensive experience in short fiction and poetry, but debuts as a novelist with After Zero. You can learn more about her on her website.
“It’s amazing how few words a person can get by with.”
Elise doesn’t like talking to her classmates. In fact, she prefers not to talk to anyone. Everyday, she counts how many words she said at school and hopes that the total will be zero. But as her birthday approaches, she starts to face hardships at school and secrets at home. Elise wants to trust that her silence can get her through it all, but sometimes silence only makes things worse.
Christina Collins explores the journey of selective mutism and social anxiety in After Zero. She does so with respect and honesty. After Zero can be an emotionally tough book for young readers but may be a great encouragement for those struggling with social anxieties.
PRR Writer, Christopher Lee
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