Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nil / Lynne Matson / 376 pages / Scary Story, October Challenge

Charley Crowder is walking across a Target parking lot in Georgia in August when she sees what she thinks is a mirage caused by the heat.  Instead it is a conflagration that alters her reality, leaving her naked in some alien red rock universe.  "Like some twisted Wizard of Oz experience, minus the sparkly red shoes to take her home."  As she hops and steps carefully along the barren surface, she feels like she is playing Stephen King's version of naked Twister.  Parts of the island of Nil are blow-your-mind gorgeous, until you peel away the facade and see it for what it really is...a cruel entrapment...a personal hell.  You get there as a teenager, somewhere between 13 and 19.  You have one year to catch a gate off the island.  If you don't you die. 
Although Charley and Thaddeus Blake fall in love on Nil, the author shows remarkable restraint and respect in the portrayal of their relationship...a most welcome departure from most contemporary YA lit.  The world that is Nil is filled with danger, menace, and heartbreak.  A survival story with a twist, Nil would make an excellent movie!

Gateway Award Preliminary Award 2016-17

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