Genre: YA Mystery
Rating: 4/5 stars
The CoverI really liked it, everything about it. The colors, the blue, the stripes counting the days, the water, the big title disappearing into the water. There's no random face or person on it which is so often done for other books.. It doesn't seem to give away a lot on first hand but there are a lot of things going on. There's another cover which doesn't look bad but it really evokes Lost and its promo photos so I definitely prefer this one.
The StoryCharley finds herself lying naked and alone in a strange place and the last thing she remembers is blacking out. This strange place turns out to be the island Nil as she learns from the two boys she meets after being by herself for a while. As she learns from Thad, one of the boys, there are more teenagers on the island and everybody has a year to escape or they die.
My ThoughtsI was really looking forward to this one when I first came across it, checking out 2014 debut novels. It seemed liked something different from what I had read and it had an exciting premise. Luckily I really enjoyed it, the story was exciting and fast paced and had you on the edge of your seat till the last pages. Sure there are some elements I didn't like so much but all in all I really liked it and I finished it really quickly because I always found myself wanting to continue reading.
What I really enjoyed was the ticking time bombs and just the island life itself and how they manage to keep themselves alive and run their City. Of course their lives seem rather comfortable but it works in the story because the City has been around for so long, it just make sense they have what they have. I really loved meeting all the different people on the island, everybody doing their part to make life a little bit better for everybody. It's remarkable how their little society works with no huge problems, except for the random animals popping up and the occasional teen not wanting to play by the rules. Still it's an exciting ride because you keep wondering what Nil is, why it is there and why these kids are there and who will make it off the island. Somewhat of an explanation is offered but it never confirmed nor denied. I would have liked a bit more of a conclusive explanation but it doesn't really matter a whole lot because the story itself is entertaining and conclusive by itself.
What I didn't really like was the obligatory insta-love romance, which wasn't bad on itself because it was rather well written and addressed some things that I wondered about (like pregnancy and protection for example) but I always have a bit of an issue with teens falling in love instantly and being each other's biggest loves in a short matter of time. On the other hand, this is an island that basically doesn't exist and besides surviving and trying to escape, what else are these teens going to do anyway?
All together, this is definitely an entertaining story and if you can look past the romance plot if you're not into that, it's really an enjoyable ride. As I sad I would have liked a more conclusive explanation but the way it is done now, every reader can decide for themselves why Nil exists and what it is there for. If you like Lord of the Flies, Survivor or Lost and YA novels, you'll surely like this one; and if you have never read or seen any of those and are up for something new, go for it as well!