Reviews of Nothing


Charlotte and Frankie are typical high school sophomores struggling to be interesting in a land of boring. Nothing ever happens to them, so when Charlotte decides to write a book chronicling their lives, she suspects it’s going to be pretty tedious. Shopping at the mall, hanging out with friends—this is the stuff of life as a 15-year-old but perhaps not the stuff of great literature. Except…in chronicling her life, Charlotte discovers that perhaps things aren’t as boring as they thought. After all, the two white teens get to host their own New Year’s Eve fancy dinner (even if it is attended by only the two of them), and they even embark on an epic road trip that might just lead to a longer adventure. The result is a charming novel about the daily ups and downs of school, love interests, friends, families, and social media. Barrows turns her keen observational eye toward teenagers, and the results are authentic and funny, filled with highly recognizable moments of teen angst and earned epiphanies. A moment in English class when some students of color question negative representation to their martinet of a teacher shines. Her characters—both teens and adults—are endowed with smart, realistic (and realistically foulmouthed) dialogue, and the problems they encounter both are believable and feel like glimpses into lives beyond the written page. Anyone who suspects their life is the most boring ever? Check out this book.
–Kirkus Reviews (starred review), June 2017