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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Time Zero is a near-future science-fiction novel by Carolyn Cohagan, in which Manhattan is walled off and ruled by religious extremists. The restrictive rules of the society are based on religions practiced in the United States and around the world. The plot includes scenes of violence, including the stoning of a young woman, a sexual assault, and a climactic gunfight that results in deaths. Sexual content is sparse, limited mostly to some flirting and a passionate embrace or two. Infrequent strong language includes "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and "s--t."
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What's the story?
In a near-future New York City, Mina Clark dreads her 15th birthday because it's also the day of her Offering. Suitors young and old come to her parents' apartment to decide whether they want to make a bid for Mina's hand in marriage. With Manhattan ruled by religious extremists, Mina has no rights, no education, and no say in who or when she will marry. When her beloved grandmother is taken to the hospital, Mina finds the courage to go out alone to learn what really happened to her, even if her actions could bring disgrace to her entire family.
Is it any good?
Based on real-life religious beliefs practiced around the world, this dystopian saga, set in a transformed New York, powerfully and compassionately examines the plight of uneducated girls and women. In TIME ZERO, author Carolyn Cohagan delivers a vital message of female empowerment as she chronicles Mina's path toward enlightenment about the true nature of her world. Mina comes to life on the page as someone truly ready to question the status quo, but some of the supporting characters, especially the villainous one, seem one-dimensional.
A couple of well-constructed plot twists move the story in exciting new directions, and the book ends with a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how religious extremism affects the lives of girls around the world. Why do some religions forbid the education of young girls?
What role does violence play in Time Zero? Is it shown to be an effective tactic?
Why are dystopian and apocalyptic stories so popular now in books and movies? What are some of your favorites?
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