Thursday, May 8, 2014
NIL by Lynne Matson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Released: March 4, 2014
Page #: 374
Source: ARC from publisher
"On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days - to escape - or you die.
Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn't know the rules. She doesn't even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out. When she wakes up she's lying naked in an empty rock field.
Lost and alone, Charley can find no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought... and so is falling in love. With Thad's time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with hidden dangers, their greatest threat is time."
First Lines: (Quoted from galley, see final version for edits)
Inexplicable, consuming heat - choking like smoke, burning like fire.
That was my last memory before the invisible flames spiked into icy nothingness, along with the crazy thought that if I survived this bewildering bonfire, my dad would freak when I was late returning his new car."
Yep, pretty sure this is my favorite book of 2014. So this is me attempting to review this title without gushing too much.
NIL might be an alternate universe. It might be a random island that is unexplored. It might be a nightmare. No matter what, the people who are sent there only have one year until they either catch a gate back to the real world... or they die. Gates aren't easy to catch and they're certainly sporatic... sometimes the search for them drives people nuts. This is the world the Charley gets pulled into, whether she wants to or not. Luckily, there are people who have been there longer and help her figure out what's going on. In particular, Thad... the insanely attractive leader who takes her under his wing.
I really sort of hate it when books are compared to others, but I'm gonna do it here anyway. It's just so obvious! This book is a cross between The Maze Runner and Lord of the Flies. I was thinking about listing the ways they're similar, but that would take the entire review. I think at the core, NIL has that feeling of desperation you get in some of the best books... people in dire situations trying to figure out how to escape. It pulls you into that feeling seamlessly and doesn't let go until literally the last page.
Oh Charley... I wish we were best friends. She seems like the coolest person in the world. I had a little bit of a hard time buying the whole "I don't know I'm beautiful" thing she did with Thad, but otherwise I really loved her. She's inquisitive and accepting of the things that happen to her. That makes her a really strong contender in the world of NIL. And she's just straight up a survivor. I have a teeny obsession with maps, so her whole map-making focus made me happy.
This was one of the first times when I truly thought the story benefitted from the dual perspectives. There's a lot you learn about NIL through Thad's chapters. Things that you wouldn't understand without them. He knows about the land, he understands the cruelty that is NIL, and his relationships with previous inhabitants brings a whole different light to the things that happen.
Obviously I'm not going to tell you how this book ends... but I really want to! Because it's insane!! I've got a list of people in my head that I'm going to make read this book... just so I can discuss the ending with them. Hopefully they will all get the same feels I did. And there were a BUNCH! Now... it seems like this is a stand-alone book. I'm kind of hoping that it is. We need more amazing single volume stories like this! We'll see if there's more to come (you know I'd read it no matter what).
This is the book I walked around with in case I might find a second to read. This is the book I read while I paced around the room yelling "oh my god!!!". This is the book that basically made me stop breathing while I waited for the end. Are you getting that I think everyone should read it? That's what I was going for.
Other Blog Reviews:
The Book Addict's Guide
Jenna Does Books
Books As You Know It
Teen Librarian's Toolbox
My Friends are Fiction
Two Chicks on Books
Conversations of a Reading Addict
The Best Books Ever