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C.J. Farley

For sixteen-year-old Geth Montego, zero o'clock begins on March 12, 2020. By June, she wonders if it will ever end.
In early March 2020 in New Rochelle, New York, teen Geth Montego is fumbling with the present and uncertain about her future. She only has three friends: her best friend Tovah, who's been acting weird ever since they started applying to the same colleges; Diego, who she wants to ask to prom, but if she does it could ruin everything; and then there's the K-pop band BTS. She's never actually met any of them, but she's pretty sure each member of the group would step up to be her BFF if she ever really needed them.

Then, she really needs them. Geth's small city becomes ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the first US containment zones. In the span of three chaotic and relentless months--as her community is upended by the virus and the onset of Black Lives Matter protests--Geth faces a choice and a question: Is she willing to risk everything to fight for her beliefs? And if so, what exactly does she believe in?

With microscopic detail, bountiful empathy, and--somehow--laugh-out-loud humor, C.J. Farley breathlessly captures a moment in time no teenagers who experienced it will soon forget: Every day felt like a fight for our humanity, and some new truths were impossible to believe.

C.J. FARLEY was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and lives in New Rochelle, NY. A graduate of Harvard University, Farley is the author of the acclaimed fantasy adventure novel Game World and the best-selling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, which was adapted into a hit Lifetime movie. Farley's young adult novel Around Harvard Square won an NAACP Image Award and was named a 2020 Honor Book by the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People.
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Published 2021-09-07 by Akashic Books - Brooklyn (USA)


The book focuses on a high school senior in New Rochelle, New York, whose preoccupation with college admissions, her father's death and the K-pop group BTS becomes overshadowed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Geth is a likable, smart Gen Z protagonist in this modern epistolary work that combines diary entries, text messages, news reports, emails, and English lit essays to immersive effect... Farley offers readers undeniable value in this retelling of recent, unforgettable history.

Geth's voice carries the novel through our unprecedented recent history as she navigates grief, anger, and her own mental illnesses of anxiety, depression, and OCD during the stay-at-home orders and rising pandemic death toll.

For fiction with a sense of realism, this is a coming-of-age young adult book whose title is the same as that of a 2020 song by superstar boy band BTS, 00:00 (Zero O'Clock), with vocals by Jungkook, Jimin, Jin and V. Author C.J. Farley's novel grapples with the stresses and trauma of 2020.

Thoughtful, provocative, and pounding with the fast-paced beat of a sharp-witted adolescent mind, Zero O'Clock is the story of a Jamaican-American teen girl at the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Rochelle, New York. C.J. Farley has created an irresistible heroine in Geth Montego. Simmering with justifiable anger at everything from the cancellation of her senior prom to racial injustices and police brutality, Geth manages to overcome grief, anxiety, and confusion to discover a new sense of herself and her ability to create change.

Being back in the classroom may come with mixed feelings for young people as they navigate the post- pandemic life. One writer, C.J. Farley, captured those feelings in his new book Zero O'Clock which looks at the anxiety and challenges that the youth have endured due to COVID.

An insightful, eye-opening, and inventive story. C.J. Farley has penned a novel that sheds an important light on real issues facing young people today.

Zero O'Clock is a beautiful and timely YA novel that is both heartbreaking and whip smart, a glimpse into the world of virtual friendship, classrooms, and pop stardom.

Zero O'Clock seems to have a direct line into the mindset of a modern teenager. I enjoyed it immensely!

Zero O'Clock is going to go down as one of the texts we will use in the future to make sense of this moment we're in.

[Farley's] brilliance is in getting into the mind of a 16-year-old Black girl and giving her a vivid voice.

Remember when New Rochelle was frantically sanitizing office buildings and rapidly shutting things down in the beginning of 2020? Well, Geth remembers, as her character dealt with being a senior in high school in the first New York town COVID raged through in Zero O'Clock by Christopher John Farley.