Mina Clark is a fifteen year old girl living in a futuristic Manhattan. All of Manhattan is ruled by extremists who dictate the lives of the citizens with extreme rules ranging from girls are not allowed to receive an education to not being able to speak to boys to arranged marriages to women having to be covered up. Despite the rules, Mina has secretly been learning how to read from her grandmother. But when it comes time for Mina to be given away in an arranged marriage, she makes a different lifestyle choice one where rebellion, romance, and danger are at the forefront. The only problem is that Mina is endangering her own life and those around her…
Time Zero by Carolyn Cohagan is set in the future, but has some disheartening realistic factors. As mentioned prior to the beginning of the book, each rule that Mina must abide by is taken from a different religion that a girl somewhere in the world is currently living through. Reading the book at times sends chills down the spine realizing that girls in 2016 are forced to follow the rules that Mina faces. This aspect was very interesting because it was not based on fiction but realistic situations which are also listed with a source on Cohagan’s website. By addressing that research had been done to write the book, it also makes the reader question their own life and how it differs from others.
This is a unique and thrilling read to keep the reader engaged from when the book opens to after the last page is read. Mina as a narrator is captivating to learn how she feels as she lives through such horrific treatment. Family-life plays an important role which is shown through Mina’s life and through other characters. The romance aspect was interesting and not your typical YA love triangle, which was refreshing to read.
Time Zero is an aspiring book geared towards female teenagers, but can be applicable for anyone out there. The interesting story that is painted makes the reader question the current world to attempt to make sense of Mina’s life. I think that this is one of the best YA books I have read in a while. Like most YA books, it ends with a cliffhanger making readers anxiously await for book 2 in the series. If I could give this book a rating, it would surpass any scale imaginable. I highly recommend Time Zero for anyone interested in an action-packed book that will leave them on the edge of their seats. I look forward to book 2 of the series and future books from Carolyn Cohagan