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Zero Fade Paperback – September 10, 2013

5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews






"Meet Kevin Phifer. He’s in seventh grade, with a dad who’s been gone for 10 years, a mom who won’t let him get a fade, and a neighborhood bully who won’t leave him alone. It’s 1994 in Richmond, Va., and Kevin’s the hero of Chris L. Terry’s funny, well-observed young adult novel. I loved Zero Fade for its great period detail and its honesty about its main character’s emotions—including his confusion and concern about an uncle who’s coming out to his family."
— Dan Kois, Slate

"Kevin Phifer, 13, a black seventh-grader in 1990s Richmond, Va., and hero of this sparkling debut, belongs in the front ranks of fiction’s hormone-addled, angst-ridden adolescents, from Holden Caulfield to the teenage Harry Potter [...] Original, hilarious, thought-provoking and wicked smart: not to be missed.
Kirkus Reviews

"Zero Fade is a damn fine read with a resounding message that never preaches, but instead talks to you across the table like a friend and ally. Highly recommended. Chris L. Terry is an author to keep an eye on."

"Zero Fade is a "funny and insightful coming of age story, which takes place in the 1990s hip-hop era, [and] is a standout story in children’s literature, in which many more black male protagonists are needed."
Richmond Times Dispatch

"Zero Fade is wise and wise-assed, hilarious and subtle, knowing and searching. We need writers like Chris Terry, unafraid to plumb the complexities and absurdities of race and identity with grace and funk."
— Adam Mansbach, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rage is Back and GO

"Chris Terry is a wise and hilarious writer. He has bestowed Kevin, the hero of Zero Fade, with an especially acute case of teenage angst, and the results are sweet, painful and very recognizable to anyone who has survived seventh grade. This is a wonderful book."
— Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife

"With sharp storytelling sagacity and attention to detail, Mr. Terry masterfully captures the lingo and tackles the issues of growing up hip-hop in the early '90s. He's fired up the Flux Capacitor and brought me back to a childhood of asymmetrical haircuts, terms and viewpoints that have since become taboo and other idiosyncratic stuff that speaks to modern society's invisible men: the black, hip-hop kids of Generation X."
— J-Zone, author of Root for the Villain: Rap, Bulls**t, and a Celebration of Failure

"Reading Chris Terry's Zero Fade offered me a glimpse into a cultural experience that isn't mine, but that I could recognize immediately. Vernacular as world. On the surface, it's just language. But this novel isn't surface. The characters speak in rhythms that reveal emotions not identifiable by just words, but I'll name them nonetheless: humor, sadness, confusion, joy, revelation. It's all here in Terry's first novel, a novel that is practically carbonated, how it sparkles and burns."
— Lindsay Hunter, author of Daddy'sand Don't Kiss Me

"The fictional story, set in Richmond’s North Side in 1994, tells the tale of seventh-grader Kevin Phifer and his trials and tribulations [in a] slyly comical and nuanced take on teenage angst."
Style Weekly

"There is something magical in the way that [Chris L.] Terry captures Kevin’s world. Kevin is at once vulgar and sweetly innocent, and his voice on the page is electric, as flowing and rhythmic as his favorite Biggie Smalls songs [...] Kevin’s voice, though unique and rife with individual problems, is the voice of anyone who has ever been thirteen."
Chicago Literati

"Zero Fade by Chris L. Terry is a personal favorite and one of the best books for younger teens I’ve read in a long time. The novel is written at a breakneck speed [filled with] with hilarious gems, such as, “Tyrell’s crew had been held back so many times that they were bigger than the teachers.”
— Any Cheney, Reaching Reluctant Readers

About the Author

Chris L. Terry lives in Chicago where he teaches writing and theatre to juvenile inmates. Growing up in Richmond, VA, he spent his teens and early twenties touring the world in a punk band. He has a Fiction Writing MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Zero Fade is his first novel. Excerpts have appeared in Chicago Reader, Curbside Splendor, Hair Trigger, and Trilling Magazine. His website is ChrisLTerry.com.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Curbside Splendor Publishing (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988480433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988480438
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,403,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris L. Terry has a Fiction Writing MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Curbside Splendor published his novel Zero Fade (2013), which Kirkus called, "Original, hilarious, thought-provoking and wicked smart: not to be missed." He has lived in Massachusetts, Virginia, New York, Illinois and California, and spent his late teens and early twenties touring the U.S. and Europe, singing for punk bands. For more of his writing, including links to his essays on black/white biracial identity, visit ChrisLTerry.com.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is the mid 90’s in inner city Richmond; Kevin is in 7th grade and for nine days in April we are too. Saturday morning Kevin gets a haircut in the basement from his Mama when what he really wants is a wack fade and a chance to spend Saturday with someone fine, like orange-haired Aisha. While his dad is no longer around, Kevin has a tight family: a mom going to school and holding a job, an older sister Laura and an admired uncle Paul: his mom’s baby brother. While Kevin narrates most chapters, Paul gets a turn too. He’s gay and he knows it’s time to tell his nephew; problem is his nephew: pining to be cool, desperate to get with a girl and a fan of Eddie Murphy’s gay bashing humor, doesn’t seem ready to hear what he has to say. Add into the mix Kevin’s inability to control his smart mouth, getting grounded, a classic bully, the nastiness of his mother getting a date before he does and an ill-advised adventure with his sister, and Kevin has a full week.

Terry has written a hilariously funny, honest, warm and believable YA novel that easily crosses over with adults. It is a rare book that manages to make the YouthLibraries.org In the Margins award list of “the best books for teens living in poverty, on the streets, in custody - or a cycle of all three” AND win over a diverse range of folk on Goodreads: from self identified ‘old ladies’ to those who don’t even like YA.
Zero Fade comes across as genuine, surprising and very recognizable- “crying in school is like peeing yourself. It feels good to get it out, but you wind up with a bigger problem.” Thank heavens Kevin is a winningly imperfect teen, with virtually nothing figured out. He fantasizes about being a stand up comic and wonders “[w]hat about my life would be funny later? Not getting any? No cable?
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition
For a little time I carried that little book around like it was my last possession, totally entranced. Couldn't wait to get to the book the next chance I got, because its so well written, so vivid. The story wasn't terribly enlightening or anything like that, but intriguing as hell. I was mostly into the way the author wrote, his choice in details, so different than anything I've ever experienced. Chris L Terry is definitely an artist. And although the book is about a 7th grader, I wouldn't consider it a child's story, but of course it will be appreciated by a young person. Read it! It's smokiiiin!
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By THE_MLP on September 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Chris Terry appeared at a NYC book shop to read from Zero Fade, and I picked a copy up. It's the best book I've read in some time. Kevin comes to life as a character you know, and beyond that, a person whose entire private world becomes yours to experience. The balance between adolescent and adult perspective is impeccable. Being a teen of the 90s myself, there were numerous spot-on references striking delightful chords (Redman on the bedroom boombox, anyone?). Downright funny, downright honest. Don't miss this.
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Format: Paperback
Zero Fade is a wonderful first work by author Chris Terry. Though nominally young adult fiction, I believe anyone who survived the tumultuous years of adolescence would find this a compelling read. I'm 36 and loved it. Protagonist Kevin is instantly fun and relatable, a young man just coming to grips with his social, racial, and sexual identities all while being grounded by his mother. Highly recommended, can't wait until my son's old enough to pass this on to him!
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Format: Paperback
I loved this debut novel by Chris L. Terry even though I'm far from being a teenager. I laughed out loud many times and even re-read portions of the book to my husband out loud so he could laugh along as well. You would never know this book is the author's debut novel. His writing is flawless and lets the reader easily lose themselves in a story. I wish there were books like this around when I was a teenager. I look forward to more books from this author!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a great book! It's an excellent read for adults, and a book I wish had been around when I was a kid. It deals with some serious issues in a very real and believable way, without ever being didactic or preachy. Most impressive is the the way Kevin's narration is so true to character. Young adults will instantly relate to him, and less-young adults will will be swept back into all the pain and glory of adolescence. I can't recommend this one enough!
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