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  • Published: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010.
  • Year Published: 2010
  • Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
  • Description: 227 p. ; 20 cm.
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

Reading Level

  • Lexile: 1000

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9781416985792


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by Teller, Janne, 1964-

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Where To Find It

Call number: Teen Fiction, R Printz Honor 2011

Additional Details

Translation of: Intet.

When thirteen-year-old Pierre Anthon leaves school to sit in a plum tree and train for becoming part of nothing, his seventh grade classmates set out on a desperate quest for the meaning of life.

Community Reviews


I would like to think that there are people among us, even among 13-14 year olds, that aren't so swept up by a sheeplike mentality that they can contemplate the deep mysteries of life without resorting to nihilistic one-upsmanship. Peer pressure and bullying can make a person do a lot, but one questions whether it could really convince an entire class of kids, both girls and boys, to stay silent on several accounts of abuse. Another aspect of this book that confused me was the complete lack of parental awareness. Adults may be caught up in their own world, but I bet at least one of the parents of this class would have seen a pattern in their child's regular mass meeting at the old sawmill.

But this book is not about being realistic. It's about making a point, and it definitely made a point. I think.

printz honor time for this book

This 2010 Printz Honor book wasn't as good as I expected it to be, or as bad as I expected it to be. Some people are raving about this book, others seem to be too disturbed by it to say they liked it. The books is well written, I loved the words, they flowed into one another and bounced off the edges and kept you turning pages. "What could possibly happen next?" I wondered. It was a quick read and I read it in one sitting.

I did find the content a bit disturbing, but I also found it fascinating. That a whole class of middle schoolers was contemplating life, thinking deeply about what is meaningful and what isn't, pondering nothingness vs. something. Of course, their ponderings lead to some deep and sometimes gruesome results, but it is still an interesting look at a pile of meaning.

This pile of meaning will have life-long repercussions for some of the kids, and that does bother me. The end was brutal.

What Matters?

It's amazing how this novel slowly unfolds. It's the beginning of the school year for a class of seventh graders in Denmark and classmate Pierre Anthon climbs up into a plum tree declaring that nothing matters. Why bother going to school? You go to school to get a job and be miserable for the rest of your life. Nothing matters. So why not do nothing now? Needless to say, his fellow classmates are shaken up. What if he's right? He can't be right. Things matter. But what?

Before long, a plan is developed to create a "pile of meaning" to prove Pierre Anthon wrong.

Janne Teller's "Nothing" will make you think. However, it's dark, it's disturbing, it's violent, and it's vengeful. Really, it's just a whole lot to absorb, but this is one of the best books I have ever read.

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