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Spill Zone #1

Spill Zone

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Nobody's ever really explained the Spill. Was it an angelic visitation? A nanotech accident? A porthole opening from another world? Whatever it was, no one's allowed in the Spill Zone these days except government scientists and hazmat teams. But a few intrepid explorers know how to sneak through the patrols and steer clear of the dangers inside the Zone. Addison Merrick is one such explorer, dedicated to finding out what happened that night and to unraveling the events that took her parents and left her little sister mute and disconnected from the world.

224 pages, Hardcover

First published May 2, 2017

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About the author

Scott Westerfeld

89 books20k followers
Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He is best known for the Uglies and Leviathan series. His current series, IMPOSTORS, returns to the world of Uglies.

The next book in that series, MIRROR'S EDGE, comes out April 6, 2021.

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5 stars
1,739 (29%)
4 stars
2,784 (47%)
3 stars
1,108 (18%)
2 stars
179 (3%)
1 star
33 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,257 reviews
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 64 books233k followers
February 13, 2018
Everything I like in a graphic novel. Good, character-focused story. Good dialogue. A world that feels real, and an interesting premise with a hint of the fantastic in it.

Really looking forward to the second one....
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,866 reviews2,240 followers
March 28, 2023
After a chemical spill that ruined a town, Addison sneaks back in to the quarantine zone to take pictures to support herself and her sister. But when she gets a big offer to do more than that, things begin to get dangerous. I really enjoyed this graphic novel, I thought it was fast paced and unique. Loved all the mystery of the zone and what was happening with Addison's sister. I could see this being a really great television series.
Profile Image for Philip.
513 reviews684 followers
December 5, 2017
3.75ish stars.

This is a fun, well-written, well-drawn graphic novel that deserved more recognition than it's gotten so far. Westerfeld is the popular author of the Uglies and Leviathan series so it's surprising that this title seems to have fallen between the cracks.

A mysterious "event" has turned Poughkeepsie (isn't that just the best city name?), NY into a deserted creep zone full of supernatural phenomena, including the zombified forms of its former residents. Addison, our heroine, is a BA biker chick who rides into the city and risks her life taking photos of the city to sell for beaucoup bucks so she can take care of her little sister, one of the mysteriously changed survivors of the event.

It sets up some potential for a really cool series. It's quick paced and mysterious. Alex Puvilland represents the Spill Zone itself really well in all of its creepiness. I'll be following this as it comes out.

Posted in Mr. Philip's Library
Profile Image for Tina Haigler.
297 reviews103 followers
November 6, 2018
That was really good! The plot was interesting. I had enough information to enjoy the story. The writing was good. I was invested and interested in the characters. The art was amazing and imaginative! I really loved the colors used in the spill zone. I read this in one sitting, front to back and now I'm bummed I don't have Vol 2 already. Well done all around. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy, sci-fi, and post apocalyptic fiction.
Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,818 followers
Want to read
November 12, 2014
HOLY CRAP. Why isn't there more buzz about this yet?! This sounds SO. COOL.

I found Scott Westerfeld's most recent book, Afterworlds, pretty disappointing––I had a feeling it was some kind of side project, and I guess it was because apparently he's been working on The Spill Zone for seven years. Whoa.

Whatever happened, the Spill Zone isn't a place you want to go anymore. Staring at the lights in the storm drains gives you nightmares, and once you've seen mealy worms take down a deer, you won't ever walk on the grass again. (And don't get me started on the meat puppets.) But the strangest part is the sense of an intelligence at work, a playful but inhuman force that animates the standing waves—whirlwinds of empty clothing, swing sets that never stop swinging. The Spill Zone is a character as well as a setting. (Source)

*falls over*

I need this book right now.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,743 reviews5,283 followers
December 24, 2018
Spill Zone follows a teen who's forced to enter the "Spill Zone" to take photos of an area that has been destroyed by a radiation spill, so that she can sell her photos for the money required to raise her younger sister on her own.

I don't know exactly how I feel about this graphic novel. On the one hand, I want to know more about what happened, and what all of these things and people in the Spill Zone are. I feel lost and like I was dumped right into the action with no explanation, which I enjoy sometimes, but didn't love in this instance. On top of that, the characters felt very simplistic and I absolutely hated the art style.

Negatives aside, though, I'm endlessly fascinated by Lexa's terrifying little doll friend, and the ending actually felt more horror than sci-fi, which was fun, so I'll probably continue the series if my library system has the next volume.
Profile Image for ♥ WishfulMiss ♥ .
1,121 reviews119 followers
October 29, 2018
Really liked this one, it was a bit vague with details but gave just enough to hook me. Hopefully the second one will be available soon at my library :) Can't wait to find out Lexa's story, if Wiley and Addison will be a "thing" and what all is up with Verpertine and her betrothed?

This was a pretty safe read. Did have some cussing and violence. The gore was not overly grotesque or descriptive (which is a plus for me, tbh).
Profile Image for Misty.
796 reviews1,230 followers
October 16, 2018
I don't know if I'm quite as enthusiastic about this one as so many other people seem to be, but I definitely did enjoy it, and will read more in the series. Though I find the art well-suited to the storyline, it's a little too messy for my tastes (though I got used to it, and do think it was the right choice, plot-wise), and in the beginning, I found the actual story telling (the literal words, not the plot) to be strangely stilted or slightly characterless for something that was trying to be very character-ful. But that, too, either changed or I got used to it, because as the story went on, I liked it more.
It's weird, there's no denying that, and there's no real resolution (just a lotttttt of questions) at the end, so if either of those descriptions are not your thing, maybe skip it. But it's interesting and is laying the groundwork for what I *think* will be a pretty interesting story, so I'm curious to see where it goes.
Profile Image for Chad.
8,137 reviews906 followers
October 15, 2017
I really enjoyed this despite the subpar art. Addison lives just outside Poughkeepsie which has been abandoned after an unexplained event happened there. She takes care of her little sister by illegally taking pictures inside the Spill Zone and selling them as art. Inside the Spill Zone the laws of physics might not apply and mutated animals roam the streets. We find out a similar event happened inside North Korea and she is hired to bring something out of the Spill Zone. And to make matters worse, there's a creepy doll involved.
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,332 reviews343 followers
May 1, 2017
A very interesting start to a new series. I've read one or two things by Westerfeld before, but I think this is the first series of his that I've felt compelled to read whatever is coming next. This particular volume is largely world building, which is fair. There's quite a bit to establish, even when so much about this world is uncertain even to those who live in it. The exact nature of the disaster that has turned Addison's hometown into a Chernobyl-esque inclusion zone is mysterious, though obviously magical. Addison spends her evenings sneaking into her old town and taking pictures of the strange things going on there, pictures she sells to support herself and her now-mute sister. The coolest part is, of course, those looks into the Spill Zone. The art style is very distinct from the style outside the Zoned, and the weird stuff is appropriately eerie. There's obviously a lot going on that's just barely touched on in this first volume, but I'm really excited to read more. I want to know what's going on in the Zone, what exactly the rag doll Vespertine really is, and what's going on with the North Korean boy who survived a similar Spill in his home country.
Profile Image for kayla (kitay’s version) &#x1f344;.
318 reviews130 followers
March 24, 2018
3.5/4.0 STARS

I thought this graphic novel was really interesting. I loved the creepiness of the illustrations/plot. The only reason I'm not giving it 4 stars is because it ended in a weird way. I know there's more books in the series (which I'm going to read) but I still found where they left off to be confusing. It left me wanting more which is probably what they meant but I was at least hoping for sometime of hint about what the Spill Zone really is.

Regardless, I thought it was a good graphic novel! Relatively quick read (2 days because I'm reading other things + college) which is something I loved. Can't wait to find out more! Hopefully the second book answers some of my questions!
Profile Image for disco.
599 reviews220 followers
May 27, 2017
Haunting art, and I'm excited for the sequel.
Profile Image for Mitticus.
1,011 reviews213 followers
May 4, 2020
3.8 don't step on that stars

Three years ago in the town of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., there was a Spill and almost everyone was eaten up by ... something, what was it? What really happened? Nobody knows. The town was closed, the military guards it, and there are strange things out there, lights that float, birds and animals that act strangely, floating corpses, and things that could still consume you. Addison's parents perished that night, but her younger sister, Lexa, is one of the survivors, although she stopped speaking from that day.

This is YA. No romance. And more horror and mystery than other thing.


Addison makes a living taking pictures of the spill area, it's illegal, and the collectors know it. Her survival rules in that risky business will be tested with an irresistible offer that can make her get out of there or kill her.

Maintains a good rhythm, and mystery, not to mention the creepy doll. Did I already mention that I hate dolls? And the risk she goes through for money, anyone would say that the government or some NGO had helped them, right? : snort: Well, Addi refused to hand over her little sister for experimentation after all.


Tres años atrás en el pueblo de Poughkeepsie hubo un derrame y casi todos murieron devorados por ... algo, ¿qué cosa fue? ¿qué pasó realmente? Nadie lo sabe. El pueblo fue cerrado , los militares lo resguardan , y hay cosas extrañas ahi, luces que flotan, pajaros y animales que actuan de manera extraña, cuerpos que flotan, y cosas que aun pude consumirte. Los padres de Addison perecieron esa noche, pero su hermana menor , Lexa, es una de los sobrevivientes, aunque dejo de hablar desde ese día.

Esta catalogado como Young Adult. No hay romance. Es horror y misterio.

Addison se gana la vida tomando fotografias de la zona de derrame, es ilegal, y los coleccionistas lo saben. Sus reglas de sobrevivencia en ese riesgoso negocio se pondrán a prueba con una oferta irresistible que puede hacerla salir de allí o matarla.

Mantiene un buen ritmo, y el misterio, sin hablar de la muñeca espeluznante. ¿Ya mencione que odio las muñecas? Y el riesgo que pasa ella por el dinero, cualquiera diria que el gobierno o alguna ONG les hubiera ayudado, ¿no? :snort: Bueno, Addi se negó a entregar su hermanita para experimentacion despues de todo.


Could be read online, with all the complementary comments of Westerfeld himself.

Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews617 followers
May 23, 2017
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

SPILL ZONE is creepy. Wonderfully, awesomely creepy. In part because of the creepiness, I think the storyline of SPILL ZONE is a perfect fit for the graphic novel medium, and the images coupled with the story are delightfully scary and not something you want to read right before bedtime!

With a short description, I really wasn't sure what to expect when I cracked open SPILL ZONE. I hadn't read anything else by Westerfeld before reading SPILL ZONE, though I've heard good things about some of his series. The way the story starts out, you're immediately thrown into the drama and mystery of the Spill Zone and Addison's world.

I love Addison's character. She has this code she operates by, and everything she's doing is just to get by in the world with no parents and a little sister to take care of. And because she's trying to take care of her little sister, she's drawn into something she would normally never do, which has very interesting consequences. I liked her grit and ability to operate relatively calmly in the face of craziness. The side characters she interacts with also manage to be relatively fleshed out even though there's not a lot of page space dedicated to them. But the most interesting aspect of the story is the Spill Zone itself. As a reader, I simultaneously wanted more details and less details, because sometimes it was so creepy it was scary.

Well-plotted and very entertaining, SPILL ZONE was a book I couldn't put down! When I finished, I wished I had the next one immediately, because the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. I can't wait to see where Westerfeld takes the story next!

Sexual content: N/A
Profile Image for Skip.
3,351 reviews413 followers
June 1, 2017
People are not allowed in the mysterious Poughkeepsie Spill Zone since the night of the Spill. Teenager Addison Merrick was out of town and returned to find her parents missing, and presumably dead, a mute younger sister. Finding herself the new head of household, Addison supports the two of them by periodically sneaking into the Spill Zone and taking photos of the weirdness there to sell to collectors. The Spill Zone waffles between mysterious and frustrating as we never learn what precipitated the Spill, including the mutations there. And what's the story with that weird doll?
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,432 reviews1,324 followers
May 3, 2017
I am going to admit that I am a newbie to the graphic novel world… I’ve read a couple and want to read more, so when the opportunity to read Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld arose I jumped at the chance!

Before I mention the story, I have to talk about the art… It’s just incredible you guys and Alex Puvilland did an amazing job conveying all the creepiness and suspense in every frame!

The story itself is so creepily fantastic that I can’t wait for more. There’s been a spill of some sort, no one knows what exactly happened but the city has been cordoned off and no one is allowed inside… Addison doesn’t let that stop her from going in and taking pictures of the crazy things that inside! She has rules though and she sticks to them… until she’s made an offer she can’t decline, one that will provide for her and her sister for the rest of their lives.

This story has a disturbing doll, weird meat puppet people, crazy unexplainable creatures, and lots of suspense and intrigue and I’ll be waiting impatiently for the second installment!
Profile Image for Liza Wiemer.
Author 5 books663 followers
April 10, 2017
What a graphic novel!

There is a DOLL! A creepy, goose-bump making, chilling doll!!!! Plus a kick-ass awesome girl, who rides a motorcycle! Yesssss!

I was hooked from page one. Scott Westerfeld has a perfect blend of intrigue and creepy. This is a story that you won't be able to forget. I can't wait to see what happens next and find out more about the terrifying place that's THE SPILL ZONE!
Profile Image for First Second Books.
560 reviews561 followers
Shelved as 'first-second-publications'
May 2, 2017
When an other-worldly event destroys the small city of Poughkeepsie and kills Addison's parents, she has to find a way to take care of her mute little sister, Lexa, and herself. In order to make money, she travels into the Spill Zone to take pictures of its bizarre and dangerous entities. Make sure to pick up a copy to join Addison in exploring the Spill Zone...and hope to return alive!
Profile Image for WaltS_C2.
13 reviews
February 17, 2019
I. Love. This. Book. (This doesn't have to count as an official post). This is probably my favorite comic book since either Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate. This has so many interesting aspects and a really cool concept. It's a dark book, with some creepy images, so don't read it right before you go to sleep, or you'll find a Meat Puppet staring at you from the foot of your bed. I would totally recommend this book to anyone who likes horrors.
Profile Image for booknuts_.
758 reviews1,186 followers
July 8, 2017
Fast paced, creepy and suspenseful, Spill Zone is the first graphic novel in the series, and will leave you with more questions than answers.

The heroine, Addison is an artist who sells her photographs of the disaster area known as the spill zone. The story was based in part, on a terrible incident that happened in central Brazil. Westerfeld explains that thieves broke into a closed-up hospital and took a radiotherapy unit to sell for scrap metal. The young daughter of the junkyard owner was fascinated by the strange glowing substance inside, and played with it and shared it with others.

As a result several people died, dozens of contaminated homes had to be torn down and even a hospital wing where contaminated people sought treatment had to be closed. Both creepy and horrible, no? Perhaps the story struck me because I have connections to Brazil.

As far as Spill Zone goes, I do have to admit that there was a little more swearing than I would have preferred. Not as much as many novels, but then again graphic novels have less text to begin with. I also really, really enjoyed reading through the blog posts on thespillzone.com. Westerfeld and Puvilland share each page of the graphic novel digitally, as well as some of the background for the story. It would have been awkward to try to read the novel on the website (though it can be done and is free), but it was fascinating to read the author and illustrator’s comments as I worked my way through the story again.

Spill Zone grabs you and keeps your attention, but is a bit unsatisfying—mostly because there is no word yet on when book two will be available.
Profile Image for ✨faith✨trust✨pixiedust✨.
399 reviews383 followers
May 22, 2018
Wow. That was crazy cool.

I don't even really know what to say. It feels like the pilot episode to a really cool new TV show, and I just can't wait to see more. I love the story telling, and the suspense was intense. The art wasn't really my favorite, but I did like it. I'm extremely intrigued.
Profile Image for Cisz Geverink - Strasters.
768 reviews31 followers
September 18, 2019
Geweldig verhaal, een tikkeltje eng zelfs hier en daar. Maar dat ligt waarschijnlijk aan mij. Ik kan niet zo goed tegen "levende poppen".
Ik baal dat er dus blijkbaar ook een deel 2 is (die niet vertaald is). Nu dus maar opzoek naar het vervolg... wat ik kan erg slecht tegen open eindes.
Profile Image for Melliane.
2,041 reviews343 followers
June 10, 2017

Mon avis en Français

My English review

I did not know about this comics but the synopsis immediately intrigued me. When I received it I must say that I was really surprised, the book-object is really beautiful. This volume has a beautiful cover and brilliant pages, everything is very beautiful! And what about the talent of the illustrator? Everything makes you want to read it!

The Spill Zone is very well known in the region but nobody has access to it. An event occurred and the whole city changed without anyone understanding the reason. Strange things happen in town, animals that seem to talk, humans who have become strange dolls … everything got weird. Besides, the sister of Addison was present during this change and she is not herself since. But in order to survive and earn money, Addison goes back to town illegally to take pictures of all these strange things to sell to collectors.

I really had a good time with this story, the drawings, the story, everything is really well mastered. I really enjoyed discovering more about this city and its changes, but also about Addison’s little sister and her doll. The end happens anyway too fast and I confess that I really look forward to read the sequel. It was a very good first volume that I recommend!
Profile Image for Michelle Morrell.
1,041 reviews75 followers
July 19, 2018
I crazy enjoyed this one, the story of two girls living inside the quaranteed area around a "spill zone," ... a technicolor nightmare, alternate dimension bleed-through that decimated a city. A dreamscape where one wrong step can literally kill you and the animals might just be moaning your name.

One girl tries to raise her orphaned sister while sneaking in to take pictures she sells on the black market, only to be picked for something even more dangerous.

I read this on my computer while waiting for a meeting to start (thank you Hoopla). Technology done right, to read about technology gone wrong.
Profile Image for Skye Kilaen.
Author 14 books318 followers
June 18, 2020
Sci-fi graphic novel about sneaking into an off-limits slice of altered reality AND a government conspiracy waiting to be unraveled? Yes please. This duology about a teen venturing into a cordoned off disaster area was right up my alley. Plenty of surreal and tbh creepy sci-fi-y goodness. Both adults and our then-11-year-old were engrossed, though appropriate reading age will depend on the kid in question's tolerance for spooky.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,257 reviews

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