Nowhere by Jon Robinson

A tense, fast-paced teen thriller that is shaping up to be a sleeper hit of the Summer Holiday reads, Nowhere is one of the few new UK Young Adult titles hitting shelves at the moment, & with a mysterious plot & punchy, short chapters, it makes for a very fun read.

The chilling cover for Jon Robinson's Nowhere.

The chilling cover for Jon Robinson’s Nowhere.

Nowhere is the story of a group of teenaged prisoners, trapped in a monolithic prison in the middle of a snowy wasteland, somewhere in the wilderness of the United Kingdom, in the not too distant future. None of the inmates know what crimes they’ve committed, but the brutality of the guards & the determination of the rehabilitation programme they’re under mean it must be serious. Escape is impossible, the only way to get by is to admit to being guilty, and guilty of a crime they have no idea if they’re responsible for or not, a crime which might not even have occurred. The story revolves around a small band of inmates who have yet to cave in & renounce their innocence. More than that, they’re determined to escape the facility & find out why one-hundred teenagers are being kept in this isolated prison. The world of Nowhere is a dark place, littered with conspiracy & mystery, & it’s hard to decide who to trust. There’s more at work here than any of the inmates could imagine, & it goes all the way to the top of the government…

Nowhere is a gripping read, & I flew through it in a matter of days. It’s an ensemble piece, revolving around quite a number of characters, but at no point do any of them seem underdeveloped, & all of them have their backgrounds dipped into, just enough to flesh out each individuals motives, but also not so much as to remove all mystery as to whether they’re truly guilty of innocent. Their individual, personal struggles are engaging, & their interplays together make for a dynamic, shifting tension throughout the plot.

Now, let’s discuss that plot! To call it mysterious would be an understatement, & with the perspective shifts, from inmates to guards, as well as to the London based government, the reader sees an awful lot of the strange, almost dystopian world the book inhabits, but at the same time, these fragments manage to make the plot all that more mysterious, by never quite revealing the true reason for the protagonists imprisonment. There are hints at some kind of mysterious power held by the hundred or so inmates of the prison, but it’s tantalisingly held back, keeping the reader constantly reading on, determined to solve the mystery. As well as this though, the book is also action packed, & much of the second half is a fast flurry of fun, tense fight scenes that kept me turning pages right up until the end. Each character’s motives are really laid bare during these moments, & some of the actions they take to ensure survival really paint them in a complex, interesting & ultimately human light.

Nowhere is, I hope, the beginning of a series of books, because the plot leaves much to be answered, & by the end of the novel , I was certainly itching to know more! It’s a great, paced & gripping book that’s well worth picking up if you love a good mystery!

Thanks for Reading!

D

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