“Nil” by Lynne Matson
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
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, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.
Lost and alone, Charley finds 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 dangers, their greatest threat is time.
This book ended up being decently fun if you can suspend disbelief. It’s a magic island that picks things up at random. This isn’t a realistic look at how teenagers would fend on their own. I was perfectly happy to go along with the fact that nothing on the island made sense and questions weren’t answered simply because it was a fun ride to see what was going on. We get mysterious portals that pick people (and animals) up randomly around the world and deposit them on to the island. The only way off is to catch another portal. There’s absolutely no explanation for the hows or whys of the world. Why shouldn’t they have milk, paper, and bread?
The characters weren’t amazing or anything. We ended up with a lot of stereotypical characteristics. Charley is beautiful but doesn’t see it herself. Thad has taken on the burden of leadership and struggles with it. Bart doesn’t like the leadership and tries to make himself the leader. The list goes on. I’ve seen these characters before. I was hoping they would bring something new to the table.
Then there was the instalove. Of course, Thad hasn’t acted this way with any other girls. Of course, Charley and Thad are practically perfect for each other. (I did like the twist that they found their soulmate in a place where there’s no way for them to be together). I did end up liking them though and cheered them on as much as I could.
I know that’s a lot critique for the book but I did enjoy the story. There were a lot of mysterious elements and some good plot twists. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. The island part of the story was actually fascinating. I really had no idea what was going to happen with it. It followed no rules or guide. Everything was random which made it pretty scary.
The bottom line? Don’t think too hard about the story and you’ll enjoy it.