Zeroes, by Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

9781925266955.jpg‘You part of that scene?’ The Craig hooked a thumb over his shoulder, back at Ivy Street.
Than answered for himself, without the voice. ‘Me? Not really. Too loud.’
‘Yeah, I hate doof-doof music.’ Craig drummed on the steering wheel, hissing like a techno high hat. ‘No wonder they all have to get high. Well, the Craig is here to help with that.’
Ethan didn’t answer, just glanced over his shoulder at the duffel bag in the backseat. The Ford’s windows were open, letting in lashes of wind that set the green vinyl of the bag shimmering.
‘Relax, kid,’ the Craig said. ‘The stuff stays in the club. We just move the profits.’

Ethan has a super power: when he wants something, a voice comes from inside him and says all the right things to make it happen. This is how, when he needs a lift home, he finds himself in a car couriering the proceeds of drug deals. When he realises the situation he’s in, he panics, and ends up stealing the car along with the cash. Soon he’s in a whole lot more trouble.

Ethan (his friends call him Scam) is not the only teen with a super power. There are five other teens, each with a different power. From being so forgettable he may as well be invisible (Anonymous), to being able to get a crowd onside (Mob) and being able to see through other people’s eyes in spite of being blind (Flicker), what the six have in common is that they were all born in the year 2000. They call themselves the Zeroes, an ironic take on Heroes, because they’re not super-heroes, in spite of their extraordinary powers. They are fairly ordinary teens who have found each other because of their powers, and try to work together, when they can get along, to figure out what they can do with those powers. When Ethan’s theft starts a big chain of events even his sweet-talking can’t fix, the six must combine their efforts to help him, and others who are affected.

Zeroes is a fast-moving, fascinating new take on the notion of super powers, with a focus on their limitations and the difficulties of being ‘blessed’ with a special ability. A joint effort of three authors, the story is told through the third person viewpoint of the characters, with shifts from one to another dependent on the action. This allows each character to be well defined and adds to the interest.

Lots of action, twists and turns.

Zeroes, by Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti
Allen & Unwin, 2015
ISBN 9781925266955