Anahita Padmanabhan ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Copy Edited By: Nicholas DeBlasio ‘16
When Ethan finds himself stuck in the Cambria Police Station, he calls on the only people who understand him: the Zeroes. Except the Zeroes aren’t much of anything now, thanks to Ethan’s superpower. But this new cause might be just enough to get them back together. Flick, Bellwether, Crash, and Anonymous use their superpowers to help save Ethan, aka Scam, who is actually in a lot more trouble than anyone imagined, and in the process they find a new member to join them, Kelsie.
Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series, now bring his fans Zeroes. This story, set in the present time, is about a few teenagers with superpowers and packs a lot of punch. Each character has a unique power and together they train to sharpen their skills. Flick, who is blind, has the ability to see through other people’s eyes. Bellwether has the ability to bring a crowd together and make them feel better. Crash can destroy anything electrical, while Anon is never remembered. And finally, Scam has another voice inside him. That voice says anything to get Scam what he wants and sometimes it’s more hurtful than helpful.
Despite their not-so-typical abilities, Westerfeld writes each of his characters in a relatable fashion. From Anon and Scam’s friendship centered on playing video games, to Crash’s struggle with coming into her own, to Bellwether’s desire to keep his friends together no matter what, the reader can understand the characters and probably even knows people like them. This realistic writing makes the reader feel connected to the characters and invested in their story.
The story itself starts off with the somewhat simple issue of Scam being held by the police as a key witness, since a video of him using his voice to stop a bank robbery surfaces. Since the voice says some very personal things to one of the robbers—who happens to be Kelsie’s dad—the police are suspicious of Scam, thinking he is part of the event. From that the problems keep escalating into a whole tangled mess that the Zeroes need to fix. And while these problems can seem over the top, it’s fairly easy to move past—after all, it is a fantasy and so things are bound to push what is realistic.
While Zeroes may be in the young adult genre, it teaches its reader about love, forgiveness, and friendship. And it does it in a way that the reader might not realize unless they actually sit and think about it. More than the actual events of the plot, the story is about those three things, and those three main themes resonate throughout different points in the book. There is Kelsie’s love for her father who can’t ever seem to do anything right, the Zeroes trying to forgive Scam for what he said to them, and the importance of having friends who truly understand what each other are going through.
Zeroes has something for everyone: superpowers and action, dashes of humor, some romance. It has the feeling of reliving a childhood imagination while still gaining something valuable. Zeroes stands as somewhat of a testament that YA novels can be for any age.