Books are like meals for me; some are light and tasty, but eventually I hunger for something more substantial. Others are "stick-to-your-ribs;" you feel satisfied afterward, and you remember it for a long time. Janne Teller's Nothing is a full meal deal. I have not been able to stop talking about it since I read it (twice) before writing this review. Nothing is ready-made for book club or classroom discussions, and it's guaranteed to provide (forgive me) food for thought long after you have finished reading.
The story centers on a group of 13 and 14 year old classmates struggling with what to do when one of them, Pierre, suddenly declares that "life is meaningless," and promptly climbs a plum tree. From there, he spends his days mocking his friends for their insistence on participating in the world in the face of its meaninglessness, and their inevitable demise. His stance, at ...
Age recommendation: Nothing is marketed as a Young Adult book (12 and up). The philosophical dimensions of the story might be over the heads of some young readers, and the novel contains episodes of intense violence that could be upsetting for any age. Still, I would consider it a wonderful choice for high school students, and possibly for mature-minded middle school readers. It would present an excellent opportunity for a multi-faceted discussion in classrooms, or at home.
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