Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Illustrator: Alex Puvilland
Publisher: First Second
Addison lives her life on the edge. Metaphorically, because she will do whatever it takes to stay alive and provide for her sister. But also literally, because she and her sister live near the Spill Zone, where her parents died and her little sister was traumatized forever. The Spill Zone is what became of Poughkeepsie, New York, after a mysterious event turned it into a wasteland where strange things live and dangerous things happen. Addison regularly breaks the law to venture in and take pictures of the Spill Zone, which she sells on the black market. But then a buyer offers Addison more money than she could have imagined to take a picture of something within the hospital, a place she never goes. This task will require her to break the rules that have kept her safe in the Spill Zone for so long. But she doesn’t see how she can possibly turn it down, so she accepts the offer and becomes more acquainted with the Spill Zone than she ever wanted to be.
Spill Zone is the first book in the series. Though it does an excellent job of setting the stage for a larger story, it is not great as a standalone book. However, the artwork is impressive and exciting, as is the idea of a “Spill Zone.” It is a graphic novel and, consequently, more high-interest, with compelling graphics. This concept will certainly make for an excellent and action-packed series. The first book on its own certainly piques a reader’s interest, but even by the end, it is difficult for a reader to feel a strong connection to the characters. Ultimately, the author does a great job of creating space for multiple characters and their respective story lines, but not quite enough information is given to fully invest the reader. The overall vagueness and myriad of unanswered questions could create suspense and inspire a desire to find out more, but it could also make a reader bored, especially if they are not planning to have to read an entire series in order to be satisfied.
*Contains mild language.