Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NOTHING by Janne Teller Kirkus Star

NOTHING

By Janne Teller (Author) , Martin Aitken (Translator)

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8579-2
Publisher: Atheneum

The seventh graders of Tæring School are much like any others, until Pierre Anthon has an existential crisis, climbs a tree and refuses to come back to school. The other students can’t live their lives as usual with one of their classmates sitting in a tree, pelting them with unripe plums every morning and yelling, “In a few years you’ll all be dead and forgotten and diddly-squat, nothing.” Determined to prove to Pierre Anthon that life has plenty of meaning, the students embark on a dire quest. Over the course of months, each student is required to give up something full of meaning, something chosen by the previous sacrificing student. The sacrificial items start small—a favorite pair of shoes, a fishing pole—but become more and more dreadful as the pile of meaning grows. Quietly and without fanfare, the students’ adventure develops into one that rivals Lord of the Flies for horror. The matter-of-fact, ruthlessly logical amorality of these teens is chilling. Gorgeously lyrical, as abetted by Aitken’s translation, and dreadfully bleak. (Fiction. 13 & up)