Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland, colors by Hilary Sycamore, 224 pp, RL TEEN
Scott Westerfeld, author of so many great YA books like the dystopian Uglies series and the steampunk Leviathan series, kicks off a graphic novel series, his first, with Spill Zone. The spill zone of the title refers the city of Poughkeepsie which, overnight, became a deadly terrain that was immediately quarantined, fenced off and guarded by the military. Three years later, the city is a "waking nightmare, home to unearthly and lethal dangers" that Alex Puvilland and colorist Hilary Sycamore bring to the page with chillingly eerie, technicolor illustrations.
Three years later, Addison and her little sister are living on the outskirts of the city in the house that once belonged to their parents, who were lost the night of the "event." To support herself and her sister, Addie puts on her leathers, packs her camera and rides her dirt bike into the spill zone to photograph the chaos, which appears to part nuclear accident, part supernatural phenomenon, part multi-dimensional-time-slip nightmare. Addie has an artistic eye and, despite the fact that she is breaking several laws, ethics. Through a middleman, she maintains her anonymity, selling her photos to collectors who are always hungry for more - especially photographs of the humans left behind in the Spill Zone, referred to as "meat puppets," who Addie refuses to take pictures of. When the collector bypasses the middleman and proposes an assignment that offers a huge paycheck, Addie has some serious decisions to make.
Spill Zone is a wild ride and Addie is a fantastic character with a lot of potential, which I hope comes out as the series unfolds. So far, she's a hardboiled risk-taker trying to keep her family above water. Her artistic talents are a layer of her personality that I hope will grow with the series. And life inside the spill zone? It's incredibly imaginative and haunting and I can't WAIT to find out what caused it and what role Addie will have in uncovering it.
Source: Review Copy