cover image Spill Zone

Spill Zone

Scott Westerfeld, illus. by Alex Puvilland. First Second, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59643-936-8

After losing her parents to the Spill Zone, an inexplicable force that has possessed Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Addison assumes care of her younger sister, Lexa, who witnessed the spill. Although the area is quarantined, Addison frequently risks her life to sneak inside, using her camera to document the bizarre ways that reality has been warped within: the zombielike human “meat puppets” trapped inside, cats that seem to speak, unimaginable creatures, and defiance of the natural law around every corner. After an art dealer offers Addison a million dollars, she considers visiting the hospital her parents never left, even though it goes against the rules that have kept her alive. Westerfeld (Afterworlds) establishes several compelling mysteries in this series opener, and Puvilland captures the haunting surreality of the Spill Zone through an unearthly pastel/neon palette that oozes a sense of wrongness every moment Addison spends there. At times, Puvilland’s jagged panels take on the feeling of snapshots, reflecting Addison’s work and lending a voyeuristic quality to the story as readers follow her. Fascinating and hard to forget. Ages 15–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (May)

This review has been corrected--a previous version contained a typo in the illustrator's name.