Weekend Reads: Spill Zone

The Spill Zone, Scott Westerfeld

© First Second

In Scott Westerfeld’s new graphic novel, three years ago an event of unknown origin destroyed the working-class city of Poughkeepsie. What’s left behind is the titular Spill Zone. While no one knows what triggered the event, there’s one thing for certain: The Spill Zone is not safe.

Addison Merritt goes into the Spill Zone night after night to take photographs for art collectors who pay top dollar. The pictures help her to provide for her sister, Lexa, who has been non-verbal since the night of the event. Lexa’s rag doll, Vespertine (who is absolutely terrifying), does all the talking for her. Once inside the Spill Zone, Addison works by a few simple rules: never take pictures of the dead, don’t stare at the lights in the storm drains, stay away from the factories, and don’t listen to the cats cries too closely or they start to sound like words. When an eccentric collector makes Addison a million dollar deal that she can’t pass up, she’ll have to break some of those rules and venture further into the Spill Zone than ever before.

I’ve been a fan of Scott Westerfeld since Uglies and the Midnighters, and The Spill Zone feels as surefooted as his earlier novels. Westerfeld balances dread with in-your-face horror, and it works perfectly in tandem with Alex Puvilland’s art. It’s an incredibly immersive tale and can easily be read in one sitting.

Weekend Reads is a Friday column of The Nerd League featuring nuggets of wisdom on the literary world. Our in-house galley virtuoso tends to have the scoop on stuff before it’s even out. To keep up with this week’s pick click here.



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