Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good
Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good
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Annotation: A straitlaced overachiever with established career and marital ambitions discovers her boyfriend's disdain for her pop-culture fandom, before a flirtation at a fantasy convention challenges her to reevaluate her happiness.
Catalog Number: #256155
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 340 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-536-21473-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9179-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-536-21473-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9179-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2021933914
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
Zoe Rosenthal lives by her bullet journal and her clearly outlined plan for the future.Just like her parents, Zoe found her soul mate in high school. She and Simon will attend college together, make a commitment, and get married after graduation. It’s the perfect plan. But first, she just needs to get the diverse, feminist, science fiction TV show Bleeders off her brain. Simon has no time for pop culture, and, therefore, neither does Zoe. According to Simon, her time is best spent working hard at serious things. Whether it’s college essays, voter registration, or volunteering with a political campaign, Zoe and Simon are saving the world together. Then why is she secretly on a plane to Dragon Con in Atlanta to get a midnight sneak preview of the Season 2 premiere of Bleeders? Zoe’s journey of self-discovery is a nerdy trip through pop-culture easter eggs that will have like-minded readers smiling knowingly with each allusion. Although occasionally confusing to follow, the story draws readers in right from the first page. Zoe and her friends aren’t always easy to sympathize with; however, the fast-paced and enjoyable plot make this book a fun, quick read. Jewish Zoe is presumed White; secondary characters who are diverse across multiple dimensions make this book a great fit for today’s teen readers.A charming story of a closet nerd realizing her full potential and finding her fandom family. (Fiction. 14-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-White, Jewish high school senior Zoe Rosenthal is a serious life planner in a serious relationship with serious plans to find the perfect college that she and her boyfriend, Simon, can attend together. She does not have time for nonsense. Which is why, when she becomes obsessed with the sci-fi/horror TV show Bleeders and runs off to Dragon Con to see the Season 2 premiere, she knows this is a one-off adventure that she can't tell anyone about, especially Simon. But as Zoe befriends fellow Bleeders fans Liv, Cam, Sebastian, Meldel, and Todd, she gets drawn into a plan to save the struggling show from cancellation. What started as a small lie spirals out of control as Zoe falls increasingly in love with Bleeders and the fandom world in general. This is a fast-paced character-driven story full of geekiness. Werlin highlights the need for racial and gender inclusivity in geek culture, demonstrating how fandoms can allow people to truly express themselves, though most characters' own ethnicities aren't clearly stated. Teens will also relate to Zoe's relationship and college search woes. Unfortunately, constant Bleeders details often disrupt the flow of the story. Likewise, Zoe's transition from Type A super-planner to self-absorbed drama queen is perplexing, adding to a lack of believability. VERDICT Though inconsistent, this novel may be a hit for geeky teens who want a quick, fun read. Recommended for middle school libraries. Lara Goldstein, Forsyth County P.L., NC
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Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (2/1/21)
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12

A buttoned-up overachiever works overtime to keep her inner nerd at bay—failing spectacularly—in Nancy Werlin’s hilarious and heartfelt return to contemporary realistic fiction.

Planning is Zoe Rosenthal’s superpower. She has faith in a properly organized to-do list and avoids unnecessary risks. Her mental checklist goes something like this: 1) Meet soulmate: DONE! 2) Make commitment: DONE! 3) Marriage: TO COME! (after college). She isn’t sure which college yet, but it will have a strong political science department, since her perfect boyfriend, Simon, plans to “save the country,” as his sister puts it, “and the planet and everything.” Zoe will follow along, the perfect serious, supportive girlfriend. It’s good to have her love life resolved, checked off, done. But speaking of unnecessary risks, Zoe’s on a plane to Atlanta, sneaking off to Dragon Con for the second season premiere of Bleeders. The show is subject to her boyfriend’s lofty scorn, but Zoe is nothing like these colorful hordes “wearing their inside on their outside.” Once her flirtation with fandom is over, she will get back to the important business of planning a future with Simon. The trouble is, right now, Bleeders—and her fellow “Bloodygits”—may just mean the world to her. Will a single night of nerdery be enough?

Best-selling and award-winning author Nancy Werlin is best known for science fiction, fantasy, and suspense, but here she turns her pen to realistic fiction with broad appeal. Confirmed nerds will revel in a diverse cast, zany fandoms, and cosplaying crowds, but this is for any reader seeking a smart, breezy coming-of-age story about finding your friends—and your inconvenient self.

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