A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Time Zero dramatizes the many ways in which religious fundamentalists around the world restrict the rights of women and young girls. The book includes an appendix listing the religious rules that govern the main character, Mina, and a bibliography for further reading.
Never underestimate the value of kindness. Girls can be empowered by education, reading, and writing.
Positive Role Models
Mina wants to please her parents and keep them safe, but when her grandmother is taken to the hospital, she must rebel and leave the apartment without their permission. She struggles against the rules imposed by the religious extremists who run the city and comes to question many of the tenets of her religion. Sometimes loyal to a fault, she proves to be brave, resourceful, and resilient.
Violence & Scariness
Time Zero contains scenes of violence, but most of them are neither particularly graphic nor intense. Mina's mother slaps her across the face and has Mina's brother deliberately set her clothing on fire. A rich suitor tries to sexually assault her but stops when a male rescuer hits him with a chair. A gun battle results in the deaths of two antagonists. A mob stones a young woman to death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mina travels through a "theater district" where prostitutes ply their trade. She's attracted to Juda and eventually shares a few passionate embraces with him.
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The characters in Time Zero, many of them very religious, do not swear very often. "Damn," "hell," "s--t," and "goddamn" are used a few times each.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the novel is set in an abandoned Macy's store. Mina discovers a cache of Chanel No. 5 perfume, and her friend Grace reads Nancy Drew mysteries.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mina gets drunk on champagne against her will.
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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."
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.
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