review by Jacob Chon, age 14
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld
Summary: Nobody’s ever really explained the Spill. Was it an angelic visitation? A nanotech accident? A porthole opening from another world? Whatever it was, no one’s allowed in the Spill Zone these days except government scientists and hazmat teams. But a few intrepid explorers know how to sneak through the patrols and steer clear of the dangers inside the Zone. Addison Merrick is one such explorer, dedicated to finding out what happened that night, and to unraveling the events that took her parents and left her little sister mute and disconnected from the world. – Goodreads
Spill Zone, a graphic novel by Scott Westerfeld, is a story of a teenager, Addison, and her sister, Lexa, just trying to survive. They live on the edge of a town infected by a strange, supernatural force that changed the town into something unnatural. No one knows what happened, only that few who enter the town ever exit. But, inside of the unnatural town, there is beauty, and it is Addison’s job to photograph and sell it. From twisted animals to areas turned two-dimensional by the force, her life is a deadly game between life and death. It is also barely enough to pay the bills. However, Addison’s life changes when she is given a million-dollar contract to go deeper than ever before. She takes the contract, and with it, something else. Her life is forever changed by the contract.
Scott Westerfeld masterfully uses detail and art to create a believable, and yet unreal world that will captivate readers. His exposition and background information gives the reader just what they need and leaves the rest to be learned throughout the story. Reading like a true mystery novel, complete with twists and turns, is the book’s strongest point. One should also note the extreme details of Addison’s emotions. To say that readers can read Addison’s mind is an understatement, readers are Addison. But where it shines in exposition and detail, Spill Zone has an unremarkable conflict and falls flat on main characters. The trope of a teenager surviving in a post-apocalyptic world is overused in today’s age, although Westerfeld at least attempts to put a creative spin on it. Overall, Spill Zone is a very detailed book with a strong exposition that is unfortunately hampered with overused tropes. 3.5 stars.
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