Nil (Nil Series #1)

Nil (Nil Series #1)

by Lynne Matson

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805097719
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Series: Nil Series , #1
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 837,562
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: HL570L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Lynne Matson grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. She attended the University of Florida, where she met and married her husband, the cutest boy she's ever seen. Now, Lynne is mother to four amazing boys. After a career as an attorney, Lynne is thrilled to be making her debut in YA fiction with Nil.

Read an Excerpt

Inexplicable, consuming heat—choking like smoke, burning like fire.
That was my last memory before the invisible flames spiked into icy nothingness, along with the crazy thought that if I survived this bewildering bonfire, my dad would freak when I was late returning his new car.
AUGUST 10, 11:56 A.M.
Dang, it’s hot.
I’d been out of the car for all of one minute, and I was already roasting like a skinny rotisserie chicken. The asphalt radiated heat. Shifting my feet, I fumbled with Dad’s keys, dying to climb back into his Volvo with its arctic air-conditioning and new car smell.
Instead, I grabbed the plastic bag from the back seat and slammed the door. I had fifty dollars’ worth of clothes to return. Fifty dollars of my hard-earned summer babysitting money, wasted on two silly skirts I never should’ve bought in the first place. The minis were crazy short, and on me, they looked downright skanky. I’d never wear them, and had Em or Jen been with me, they wouldn’t have let me put the darn skirts in the cart.
But yesterday, like today, it was just me.
Well, crap, I thought, biting my lip as I stared at the empty car. I hated being alone. I always had, and I hated that I hated it. I mean, I’d never even gone to see a movie by myself and secretly envied people who could. The truth was, I’d never had to be alone. My sister, Em, was always around, or Jen, my best friend since second grade. Or both.
Until now.
A fresh wave of loneliness washed over me with the heat; it was the same wave I’d felt when we’d dropped Em off at college last week, and again yesterday when I’d watched Jen board a plane bound for Milan. My two favorite people, gone.
Not forever, I reminded myself. I refused to pitch a pity party in the Target lot. It’s just a few months, four at the most. Jen’s study abroad program ended in December. By Christmas, life would be good, and our senior spring would rock. Until then, I had volleyball. Practices would keep me busy, and games would keep me focused. And I’d visit Em in Athens every chance I could.
Feeling slightly better, I locked Dad’s car and faced the open lot. Asphalt as black as coal stretched before me, broken only by lonely white lines. Park in the far corner, Dad had said, tossing me his keys with a wink. Catching the keys, I’d smiled. I love you too, Dad.
Of course I’d parked in the far corner. No other car was anywhere close.
Now that I was walking, far wasn’t the word. It was like I’d parked in dadgum Egypt, and I’d swear it was just as hot. Not that I’d ever been to Egypt, but I couldn’t imagine it was any hotter than Georgia in August. The Target bull’s-eye flashed like fire in the distance. Near the lot’s center, the asphalt shimmered in the heat. I watched the ground blur, absently thinking of a desert oasis. It was the kind of shimmer that moves with you … moves away, always out of reach.
Not this one. This shimmer stretched into the air, rippling like a wall of wavy glass. Then it rolled.
Toward me.
In the time it took to blink, the air in front of me melted. It undulated, like a wave of liquid crystal, and before I could breathe, the wave engulfed me in a silent rush.
Hot air gripped me like a vise, then burst into flames. Every speck of skin screamed; every nerve ending exploded.
I’m being flash-fried in the Target lot! The thought ripped through my brain as the invisible flames drove deeper. I tried to scream, but choked on the heat; it was in my mouth, in my lungs, in me, like a living darkness I couldn’t shake. Blistering tar coursed through my veins, then filled my chest, stealing my air and slicking behind my eyes.
A darkness blacker than asphalt rushed at me; I fell to meet it. My last sensation was of icy cold. A biting cold as raw and as painful as the heat had been seconds before, and then—nothing.
No light. No sound.
No air.

Text copyright © 2014 Lynne Mason

Customer Reviews

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Nil 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Simply couldn't put it down and i reccommend it to anyone looking for a quick enjoyable read.
misssophieleigh More than 1 year ago
An easy five-star review. First off, HOLY CRAP was that fun (and stressful) to read. I love the way that we start off with two very different stories and situations: we have Thad, who has been on the island for quite some time, and then Charley, who is new to the island. For awhile, their stories are different because their experiences are different. but then, their stories merge, and their experiences merge, so it becomes the stories of Charley & Thad rather than separate stories of Charley and stories of Thad, and it is several shades of glorious. 
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    I requested to read Nil from Netgalley because I am drawn to the survival type stories. I loved the premise of 365 to escape, and the emotions that the teens would have with this deadline and with friends who disappear or die. I was also curious as to how they would band together and survive.      I enjoyed the dual perspective from this one. While I connected the most with Charley, the female protagonist, I also loved being in Thad's head, seeing another perspective of this dangerous, wild yet beautiful island and way of life, as well as how he views Charley. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite perspectives especially with a guy and girl and figuring out how they see the situation and what their feelings are instead of guessing.      Charley is strong, smart and has serious survival skills. Well, she develops them anyways. She goes for 12 days alone on the island, finding things to eat, and hiding from predators, even befriending a goat. She rightly wonders how she ended up there and how to get home. She is wary when Thad finds her but eventually goes with them and discovers a city on the messed up island of Nil where they make their own clothes, soap, and food. They have some kids that are good at specific skills and they use other things that were already on the island. The kids have a glider and search teams that go out and search for gates, which appear once a day at noon, usually a single gate, but sometimes 2, 3 or even the rarest 4, which Charley saw on her first day.      The thing that bothered me was figuring out how the island came to exist, how the kids get there, and who choses. I lost myself in the story, and I understand that the kids wouldn't know anything, but I just kept thinking, where on earth is this, and how does it work. This didn't really take away much from my enjoyment, I was immersed in Charley and Thad, their chemistry and their fight to survive.      The romance was nice. Although there was immediate attraction to each other, they weren't declaring their love the next day. Things did move fast but one of the things that becomes ingrained in you while living on Nil is that a year isn't really that long--and in this dangerous world you aren't even guaranteed that long. They formed their friendship with Thad as an "island guide" when she makes the decision to come back to Nil City with him, and they really connect. They are able to share their fears, and spend time together and it makes being on Nil a little bit better, and at times they can forget the tick-tock of their days to escape or the idea of death hanging over their heads.      I loved how Charley searched for her place, her niche on the island. Thad is a natural leader and able to assess and make decisions quickly and more than that, the teens respect him. She wanted to understand how the gates worked and more about the island, and she used her brains and the information that others overlooked in their determination to survive and used her analytic mind to figure out something that helped not only the group there but future Nil inhabitants.      I was so worried about how Ms. Matson was going to wrap up their story because I kept going over and over possible scenarios and deciding that most of them were heartbreaking and before even getting there, trying to decide what I could live with and not want to throw the book across the room. I got into their story and characters and the sweet and passionate romance between the two that much. But she did it in one of the ways that I didn't even consider and I was pleasantly content with this book, the place it left Thad and Charley in respects to their characters, what they learned on the island and their outlooks on life.      I thought so much about this story, even after it was over. It really shows the unity of the kids and how they worked together to survive in an unknown, where predatory animals came through on inbound gates at random intervals, they had to watch their friends die or disappear, and still they fought for others to get home and help each other survive. Also, I admired Charley's tenacity and Thad's strong leadership and protectiveness of the whole city but especially Charley.  Bottom Line: Amazing main character and world building with teens dropped on dangerous island with 365 days to escape or die.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This would have been a great series but you ruined it with the romance. why? Just why. The plot should not be centered around a romance unless it is a romance novel, which this is not. Ive yet to find an action/dystopian book without romance. I had some hope. I'm not going to read the next books.
jgonnello More than 1 year ago
Overall, Nil was an enjoyable book. The kind of book you'd pick up on a whim, read it through once, and think "That was pretty good". It falls into a weird sci-fi survival category--reminiscent of series like The Maze Runner, with the idea of being trapped with a group of kids in a place where survival and escape are what matter. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book were the vast, diverse cast of characters. Charley, the new girl on the island of Nil, had an instantly likable personality driven by fighting spirit throughout the book--yet she was very human: in both her decision making and emotional mistakes. Thad had an interesting perspective of the island--Nil--the cold and cruel puppeteer pulling the strings of everyones life on the ticking time bomb island. Natalie was another standout, as a sweet and yet resilient character--amongst a very well developed cast in the book. The quality of writing itself was nice; and it was interesting to have it switch between Thad and Charley's perspectives. There were some problems I found though--starting with Thad and Charley and their instant "soulmate" connection. The romance between them was rushed, overly romanticized and perfect, and seemed unrealistic overall. Ignoring the that, the book had a good flow. Kept you on the edge of your seat, flooded you with emotion, and made you question Nil and her game. What did it mean? Another interesting point being how that previous question never really good answered. You never found out the "true" reason for Nil holding these kids on an island. For each of the characters--the answer was different. It was an entertaining and inquisitive clash of perspectives. The setup of the entire book was very well done--the society of Nil, The City, the island and its deceptive vacation resort beauty, and the means of survival were enough to make it believable. No gaping plot holes on the scenery and society, which was refreshing in the world of sci-fi survival novels. The aspects of the island tied nicely with the aspects of the characters and plot. For the people who want a good book to pass the time, Nil is for you. It's nothing standout amazing--but it wasn't a bad read. It's characters we're well developed and lovable--even if Charley and Thad's romance was rushed. The plot was well written, as was the setting. It's worth a read if you're looking for something to pass the time
KendraJ_lillianopal More than 1 year ago
Probably more like 3.5 stars, with that beginning and middle. This book was overall okay, though I did like the last quarter better. It sadly fell a bit under my expectations; I was expecting more exotic details and fantastical dangers. I also didn't think the tone would be so...normal. It was a little bit jarring, especially during the first three quarters. The book is about a modern girl, Charley, who is somehow transported to the strange island called Nil. Nil does not exist in the world as she (and we) knows it, and on it, people have a year to catch a "gate" to the normal world or they die. Nil also has many other dangers from wild animals and nature. That, added with its unpredictability, makes it difficult to survive. Charley meets a City of people who help each other survive, and there she stays for most of the book. One thing that I disliked was the tone. It made the Nil experience less exotic-island-y and more like a modern TV show. And, what enhanced that effect was the strange disconnection between the events. I really didn't feel very immersed into the story until the very end, which was disappointing. The only reason for the end seeming to be more engaging was probably because of the ticking time and the darker feelings of Charley and Thad. Also, the romance. I don't usually have problems with romance in books, but here I was a little concerned. Charley and Thad seemed to fall in love so fast, and I didn't see the whole development of that. Sure, it may have been fast forwarded by the limited time thing, and maybe they were meant to meet and be together there, but still...I would've liked to see more depth in the first stages. I liked them together, though, and they were adorable. The part of a book that really affects my opinion is the ending. Sometimes it boosts it, sometimes it lowers it, and sometimes it doesn't make much of a difference because the rest of the book was so horrible. In this case, the ending (as in the last few chapters) was a pretty good one. It was very emotional, and honestly it was the only part that stirred up my feelings a lot. That was nice, but I still can't forget the duller other sections of the book. I wouldn't recommend this book in comparison to other books I've liked much better, but if you're specifically looking for a survival island book that isn't too heavy, then try this one.
KittyTheVicariousBookworm More than 1 year ago
Nil is the first book in the three-book Nil Series. On the mysterious island of Nil, one thing is certain: you either find a way to leave in under 365 days or you die. What’s worse, there are multiple ways for you to die while trying to find a way to escape. Basically, Nil is the “stranded on a deserted island” scenario from hell (excuse my language). It’s like the television programme “Survivor” without the supply deliveries, letters, cameras or adults. There are two point-of-view characters in this book. Charley is a 17 Year Old southern girl from a town outside Atlanta, Georgia. She’s tall, plays volleyball, and managed to survive alone on Nil for almost two weeks before discovering she wasn’t the only human on the island. Thad is a 17 Year Old boy from British Columbia, Canada. Before arriving on Nil he was a competitive snowboarder, but now he’s the leader of the ragtag gathering of teenagers who work together to escape the island. The atmosphere Matson presents lets you know that literally anything can happen on Nil at any time. The characters learn to live in the moment and enjoy the good things while they last, but there’s always the threat of dangerous elements in the island, less than trustworthy teammates, and the ever ticking clock. Nil had me constantly wondering what would happen next. I couldn’t put it down! For this review and more, please visit my blog at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars - You’re fortunate enough to land on this beautiful tropical island but unlucky enough to be one of the ones chosen to be a part of Nil. I thought there would be so much more to this book as I loved The Lord of the Flies and teens arriving on a strange island sounded like a great synopsis to me. I was hoping there would be more suspense and drama but this book was so different than what I expected. The feeling was uplifting, urgency and hope as the characters counted off their days living on the island. Sure, there are negatives about living on the island and stressors for the occupants but for the most part, the characters try to remain hopeful and encourage one another as they go about their days. I enjoyed their how they built a community atmosphere, how they worked to pass on their knowledge to future islanders and how they each performed a job to make The City successful. As things got intense, the occupants gathered together and bonded to try to overcome the issue at hand, some individuals more willing than others. There is romance but to think that their time is limited on the island and how can this romance survive if they survive the island. What would do, if you only had a limited amount of time and found true love? It added pressure to those involved. How they arrive and how they get off the island was just a speculation but as more people arrive, the individuals try to find the logic behind Nil’s game. Everyone’s time is ticking on the island and the author’s constant reminder of this deadline, creates an urgency for everyone involved. Readers and islanders are on constant alert. You want them to survive, to find their ride home before their time is up because to mark their destiny on the wall is truly a celebration to those remaining.
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
Just when I thought that I've had my fill of paranormal fiction, a brilliantly original book like Nil comes my way. Charley is contemplating normal, everyday issues in a parking lot when a shimmery heat wave appears and she blacks out. The island where she wakes up turns out to be inhabited by a bunch of teenagers with a hot leader and some thoroughly scary wild life.  This gripping novel kept me reading long past my normal reading hours. Although the author takes the time to describe the island, as well as introduce and develop all the main characters, the story moves forward all the time. Realistic and likable, Charley, the main character, copes admirably with her strange, new circumstances. Even when the worst kind of adversity strikes, she moves forward with her life. Thad, the other protagonist, is a born leader. I, however, found him a bit too good to be true. Most of the other key characters are fleshed out and believable. The rather heavy dose of romance in this book fortunately doesn't interfere with the development and flow of the story. Readers who can appreciate a good romance, however, will find a great deal of the tender as well as the poignant to satisfy them. A touch of light humor balances out the times when more sensitive readers might want to keep the Kleenex close by. Despite the fact that the author omits detailed explanations as to the how and why of this enigmatic island, this is still one of the most imaginative stories I have read in a while. (Ellen Fritz)
Paperback_Princess More than 1 year ago
The first thing that I want to say about Nil is how much more I like the new cover to the old one. My ARC cover is bright yellow and orange with some blue thrown in for the ocean with the countdown all around the teens. I really enjoyed this book once the plot picked up and you were able to really get into the story. I found that the plot was really original and different. I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting into and I never knew what to expect when I got to the end. I really appreciated that I couldn't predict who was going to make it off the island and who was going to perish. I loved that it was so unpredictable. The downside of it being unpredictable meant seeing bad things happen to characters you loved and never knowing who was going to be next. I really liked Thad and Charley's relationship until the "L" word reared its ugly head. I loved that although they both kept holding onto who they were even as Nil changed how they had to act and what they needed to do. I did find fault with how quickly Charley figured out what was going on. I understood that it was necessary, but some of the conclusions she reached, I didn't know how. I thought that Nil was a really interesting place, and I appreciated that we were able to get some sort of back story into why this was all happening, even if it was one small interaction that gave us a clue at what was happening. I was more than satisfied with the ending, and I cannot wait to see what Matson will come up with next. If you check back, you'll get to find out more about the Island of Nil and it's creator Lynn Matson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Trissica More than 1 year ago
It was in no way predictable, let me say that. You honestly think you know what is going to happen and then right when you think you know what is about to take place it takes you by surprise. A good balance between romance, adventure, mystery and yes it does answer your questions, but it still leaves that air of mystery. I would definitely recommend this to any one that is looking for a good book and something to keep their interest for a the whole book. 
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Nil by Lynne Matson Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Publication Date: March 4, 2014 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die. Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field. Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly. What I Liked: I was super excited for this book for many long months, so you can imagine my excitement when I LOVED it! It's one of the best feelings, when you wait for a book for like, FOREVER, and then read it, and love it! And it's even better when the author is totally cool and you secretly pray and hope that you love his/her book, so you can fangirl about the book (as opposed to disliking his/her and not being able to fangirl over the book).  One second Charley is in Georgia. The next second, she isnt. She wakes up (naked) on the island of Nil. For twelve days, she is alone, and then she meets two boys - Thad, and Jason. Thad and Jason take her to the City, where there is a group of teenagers living, hunting... surviving. To get off the island, each teenager must go the way they came - through a shimmering gate. But the gates don't seem to have a schedule to them, and come unexpectedly. And no one stays more than a year - if they do (without catching a gate), they die. One thing that immediately jumped out at me is that I really liked Charley. She is not weak or stupid, two traits that I'm sick of seeing in YA literature (not ALL YA books, obviously. In fact, most do not feature such a heroine). She is actually pretty strong, both mentally and physically. She's an athlete (that's something we don't see often), and she's TALL (also something we don't see in YA books). She doesn't go completely insane in love with Thad, nor does she act like a complete nutcase on the island. I really like Charley, and I feel like she and I would actually be very good friends, if she were a real person. Both of us are resilient, mentally strong, physically strong, compassionate, passionate, and intellectually intelligent (analytic, almost). I also really like Thad. He is an amazing leader - as he should be, as he has been on the island for a very long time (nearly the longest - when Charley arrived on Nil, he wasn't too far away from a year). He's kind and thoughtful, yet uncertain and human, as we see more when he is around Charley than not. I loved the thread of indecision that plagued him throughout the book, whether it was his number of days left, or Ramia's warning, or the threat of danger and rogues. And I'm not going to lie - he sounds HOT. That definitely does not hurt! The plot of this book really had me interested and invested. I wanted to peek at the ending of the book SO MANY TIMES, to know how it ended, but I did NOT do it (yay!). I read through the entire book in one sitting, and it took everything I had not to read the end. But I'm glad I didn't. The ending is really great. But the plot of the book would lead you to believe that the ending could not happen. The plot was very complex and intricate. We weren't just concerned with finding gates - there were rogues and crazy beasts and patterns and island life. Crazy stuff! Matson keeps things interesting by layering the plots, as I alluded to above. This book is all about survival. Charley, Thad, and the others in the City work together to Search for gates for those with Priority (those who are closest to being on Nil for a year). It's curious how this works, as there the conflict of stealing someone else's gate when you don't have priority is addressed. I must say, this book does have some creepy scenes, with skulls and feelings of being watched and sleepless nights. So freaky and weird and great! This book is like a contemporary version of Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I read that book a few years ago, and enjoyed it. This book is also like the TV show "Survivor". I bet people are going to be all like, ooo, this book wasn't original, it was a ripoff of Lord of the Flies and "Survivor"! Well, I don't think so. The basic idea of being forced to survive on an island is constant, yes, but no one knows how or why the teenagers are chosen to be on Nil. It's mysterious... This book is told in the perspectives of Charley and Thad, alternating between the two, in first-person point-of-view for both. I really like this - it's a great way to connect with two different characters, and see things from the perspectives of two different characters. Also, we get to see Charley and Thad's feelings for each other slowly develop and change, and that's cool. This book is set up so that each chapter counts the amount of days that either Charley or Thad (depending on whose point-of-view we're reading). This is really cool, but it's also handy because Matson skips days (or weeks) at a time. It speeds things up, right until the climax - which is Thad's "expiration date" (when he reaches 365 days on Nil). I like this, and it didn't seem like Matson rushed things at all. The pacing of the book was excellent, even with Matson skipping days at a time. The ending. The ending is really great, in my opinion. I'm going to talk about it a little in the next section, but I'm mostly satisfied. DO NOT PEEK. Whatever you do, read the entire book, cover to cover. Do NOT look at the end before reading the rest of the book. You will not want to read the rest of the book. Just read the entire book. What I Did Not Like: The only things I really had trouble with was several areas of plausibility. YES, this is fiction. YES, I could just use my imagination and let the story be. But I found loopholes. Like, why exactly were the teenagers on the island? Who chose them? Where did the island come from? Who made the rules? What happened when the teenagers died? Why teenagers?  You can't just give the answer of "No one knows", every single time. Many of these questions are raised in the book (Charley asks Thad or others), but I feel like none of them are actually answered. There is a theory tossed around, about parallel worlds or universes or alternate realities or basically holes in time and space, which makes sense (and I would totally roll with any of those), but none of them are solidly accepted as the explanation. Like, I wanna know. Don't leave me hanging! If this book were part of a series, even a companion series, then I would totally NOT question these things! Or, I would question them, but in my head. I wouldn't see them as "negative" aspects of the book, because I would hope that they would be explained in the future books of the series. But ending this book with no key explanations? Don't do that! I need to know!  Would I Recommend It: Despite whatever I just typed in the "What I Did Not Like" section, I definitely think you should make this novel one that you'll read in 2014 (or in the future). I think science fiction fans will like this one (though they might question EVERYTHING, like me), and definitely romance fans and contemporary and thrillers fans will enjoy this book. It's really great! It pulls in a lot of cool aspects, and while I wasn't completely satisfied with the lack of explanations, it has a riveting plot and superb ending. Rating: 4 stars. What a fantastic debut! I'll definitely be looking out for more novels by Lynne Matson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago