Following Nil (2014), Rives falls for a new girl who holds the key to salvation from the alternate-dimension island.
Skye arrives on Nil fully informed of the rules: Traveling portals called gates, some inbound and others outbound, appear every day at noon; teens thus deposited on Nil have one year to catch an outbound gate, and if they don’t, they die. She knows this because her uncle escaped Nil and wrote a journal that has prompted her father’s obsessive search for the island—and his training of Skye. They search for it among the Pacific Islands, where Skye secretly follows a local boy toward islands Skye and her father have been explicitly warned away from, naturally finding a gate. Meanwhile, Nil City leader Rives struggles to keep his people alive. The romance—new girl brings hope and hunky boy leads—is outwardly similar to Nil, but it’s better integrated with the story, which is also more smoothly paced than its predecessor. They discover that the islanders use Nil in coming-of-age rituals. Even though the xenophobic islanders keep Nil’s stationary outbound portals a cultural secret from kids stolen from other parts of the globe (many of whom die), Skye’s sensitively apologetic for even asking. While Skye might be too close to perfect for some readers, she’s a good match for Rives, and they work together to a conclusion that leaves readers with the barest of loose ends.
A fast, tense gift for readers wanting to return to Nil. (Science fiction. 12 & up)