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Booklist reviews Nix Minus One

Posted on July 1st, 2013 by pajamapress

“MacLean’s free verse style mirrors 15-year-old protagonist Nix Humbolt’s quiet, unassuming nature: “The first time / I came across the word / introversion / was the first time / I recognized myself. Like, / there was a category / for me.” At the heart of the novel, which is set in a tiny Newfoundland village, is Nix’s complex, push-pull relationship with his older, rebellious sister, Roxy, and the tender bond he forms with a neglected guard dog. To deal with the challenges of both, Nix takes refuge in his father’s woodworking studio, channeling ragged emotions he can’t verbally express into smooth boxes, picture frames, and tables. But when tragedy upends Nix’s life, it takes a special girl named Blue—and a special dog—to help him confront reality. Nix’s immediate first-person narration offers astute observations (“Is an adult just a teenager with a layer of veneer?”), and YAs who are drawn to contemporary fiction and verse novels won’t want to miss this poignant Canadian import.
— Ann Kelley