After Zero


Product Details

$7.99  $7.43
Sourcebooks Young Readers
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 0.8 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Christina Collins grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Northern Ireland, where she's always on the lookout for castle ruins and secret gardens. She holds a PhD from Queen's University Belfast and an MFA from George Mason University, both in creative writing. Her debut novel, After Zero, was a 2019 NCTE/CLA Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts. Visit her website at


"A powerful and poetic novel about the power of words to shape who we are and who we can be. Elise's journey will speak to anyone who has struggled to find their voice, overcome their doubts, and discover their own self worth." - John David Anderson, author of Granted and Posted
"After Zero takes us into the world of selective mutism and helps us find a story in the silence. For an interconnected generation that can sometimes assume silence is ignorance or a personal slight, this is a must read. Readers will take to Elise right away: she is smart and earnest, and like many of us, social norms can elude her. The story moves along quickly to broach themes of forgiveness and friendship. But most importantly, it reminds us of so many loved ones of those suffering from anxiety or depressive disorders who want to shout, 'Just speak! Just say something! Just be normal!' Now we get to walk with Elise and understand her struggles. It is a story that will hopefully foster empathy and maybe even communication with all our 'quiet' peers." - Wesley King, author of OCDaniel
"An eloquent journey through the pain of growing up, this tender and truthful book stays with you long after the words have gone." - Patricia Forde, author of The List
"A gripping debut novel about a girl struggling to find her voice and discover her past." - Carol Weston, author of Speed of Life and Girltalk
"It's easy to root for Elise, an empathetic narrator in unfortunate circumstances... at its heart, this is a story about a family
coming together after trauma, and the healing and understanding that comes when people pay attention. A
solid addition to a growing list of middle-grade books dealing with mental health." - Booklist
"Give this to readers interested in the ways that anxiety can shape lives and also how young people can healthily negotiate it." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A series of social missteps convinces eighth-grader Elise that remaining silent is preferable to saying the wrong thing and looking foolish... Elise's social isolation and pain are realistically portrayed" - Kirkus
"This is a thoughtful book that sheds light on a little known anxiety disorder called selective mutism. Middle school students and staff would benefit from reading Elise's story. Recommended." - School Library Connection