Nix Minus One

Nix Minus One

Pajama Press - ISBN: 978-1-927485-24-8 (HC) / 978-1-927485-25-5 (PB)

Nix Minus One is “White Ravens” selection 2014!

For more information about this award, click here.

WhiteRaven logo

Nix Won!

Atlantic Book Award Winners Announced

Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature
Nix Minus One, Jill MacLean (Pajama Press)

For the other winners click here 

Nix Minus One, on the young adult fiction – Best Bets list for 2013!!

Click here to see the list of Best Bets list for 2013


“Well-crafted and intense, an engrossing family drama in which both young and old learn what it means to grow up.”

–  Kirkus Review, full review

“Writing with careful, evocative language, MacLean explores love in myriad forms…”

Publishers Weekly, full review

“This powerful novel-in-verse echoes with the rhythms of family life, school tensions, unexpressed dreams and desires, and a long-hidden story that suddenly re-orients everything that Nix ever knew.”

– Katy Manck,  Books YA Love, Blog


Click here for purchase options

Published February 15, 2013

Teaser Trailer for Nix Minus One, enjoy!!

Newest Review:

Marathon of Books Project

Amy Mathers’s “Marathon of Books” project involves reading a book a day and making her way across Canada as she goes, beginning in Newfoundland. She is raising money for a YA book award with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Check out this wonderfully worthwhile project at:

She has reviewed Nix Minus One (set in Newfoundland).

“For me, the beauty of this book begins with its title, Nix Minus One. What happens when you subtract one from nothing?…There are so many things I love about this book….this is my second time reading Nix Minus One, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time.” – Amy Mathers


Read An Excerpt From the Book


The cover of Nix Minus One didn’t just happen…a lot of thought and hard work went into it.Fifteen-year-old Nix is a woodworker – the workshop is the only place where he feels 100% Nix. So we wanted to incorporate that aspect of his character into the cover.  Pajama Press’s talented Art Director, Rebecca Buchanan, spent (I’m sure!) a very long time writing the title of the book in sawdust and photographing it.A good friend of mine said she loved the cover because of the way that sawdust spells Nix’s name. “One good breath,” she said, “and he would be gone.”  And yes, Nix’s life is far from stable.

About the Book: 

The first time

I came across the word


was the first time

I recognized myself. Like,

there was a category

for me.

Nix Minus One – Nix Humbolt doesn’t talk much. Though at fifteen he’s taller and leaner than in his “Fatty Humbolt” days, he still lies low at school. At home Nix finds refuge in his father’s workshop where he builds intricate boxes and tables—and avoids arguments with his polar-opposite older sister. Roxy is so alive the air around her vibrates. Nix would slay ten dragons for her, but she drives him crazy—especially when she decides to go after Bryan Sykes. The guy is seriously toxic, but Roxy won’t listen, so what can Nix do? The only battles he ever fights are on his Xbox—until the day he finds the guts to fight for Swiff Dunphy’s neglected dog. Twig won’t win any beauty contests, but Nix is determined to save her. And when things start to spiral out of control, she might just be the one who saves him.


“If I could, I’d put this book into the hands of every teenager I met.”

current writer-in-residence Kim FirmstonOpen Book Toronto, November 24, 2013

“The sparse verse provides the perfect narrative voice to express Nix’s taciturn strength. Readers used to a diet of cliche-ridden YA fiction will enjoy this refreshing take on the teenage plight…”

– Trev Jones, Book Review Editor, School Library Journal

“MacLean…writes in short, free-verse chapters that read like prose stripped of all unnecessary words.”

– Publishers Weekly, full review<

“Well-crafted and intense, an engrossing family drama in which both young and old learn what it means to grow up.”

– Kirkus Review, full review

“Nix used to be ‘the fat kid’ and although he has lost the weight, he endures bullying every day.  Written in free verse, this sensitive story follows Nix as he deals with all life has to throw at him; his desire to help an abused dog, frustration in trying to protect an older sister heading for disaster, an old infatuation and a blossoming new friendship. Beautifully descriptive, with some mature content, this book is recommended for mature readers ages 12-to 16.”

– Barbra Hesson, The Calgary Herald

“Free verse adds nice touch to Jill MacLean’s compelling teenage story of secrets…. But family — and all it entails — is at the core of this book. When Roxy makes some unfortunate choices and the family faces something no family should have to endure, it’s time to end the secrets….a well-paced story that will leave readers thoroughly engaged with the characters…”

– Bernie Goedhart at The Montreal Gazette 

“Nix experiences the highs and lows of living as we learn what it means to grow up male, with the expectations that emotions are kept far from the surface…Nix will make his way into your hear, as he did in mine.”

– Winston  Stilwell, Goodreads  Review

This is an “unofficial” review of Nix Minus One by Liam C., 17 year-old  who lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Liam read Nix in one sitting:  “It’s so good. It’s a risky structure, but it works so well.  …it really pulls you in… …complex…suspenseful and emotional… …It’s probably the best YA book that I’ve ever read.”

– Liam, 17 year old , Bedford Nova Scotia

MacLean’s poems capture moments of  joy and pain equally well…..I’d highly recommend Nix Minus One. Chalk up another win for Pajama Press!

Sheryl McFarlane

“MacLean…has a serious track record for developing wonderfully drawn, multi-layered teen characters and this book is no exception…as finely crafted as the boxes Nix takes pride in making in his dad’s woodworking shop.”

– Pam Sword, The Halifax Chronicle Herald

“…Recently, I’ve read two outstanding pieces of teen fiction that deal with bullying. Both have fifteen year old male protagonists with older sisters, both are set in the Maritimes, and both are heartbreakingly compulsive reads. In both cases, the male protagonists have been bullied, or continue to be bullied, and they are forced to deal with the situation in the best way that they can. There are moments of true despair in these books, and moments where you just want to reach out and do something.”

– Lost in a Great Book, for the full review

“…wonderfully written novel-in-verse…I found myself going back again and again to reread page after page…

Set in Newfoundland, this is [Nix’s] story about family, conflict, friendship, death, secrets, a dog, and a budding romance. The characters who people the pages are expertly drawn: flawed, remarkable, and redemptive for the most part.

So worthy of your attention. Please look for a copy!”

– Sals’ Fiction Addiction 

 “Beautiful verse, weirdly romantic, fantastic setting in Maritime Canada, violent, redemptive, sad, uplifting. I really loved this. I especially love the brilliantly simple cover and the woodworking motif that permeates the book. The cover is TEXTURED! Check it out!”

– For Those Who Know

 “Another powerful novel by the author of The Nine Lives of Travis Keating…I couldn’t put this book down.  I loved the point of view. I loved the characters. I loved this book.”

– Maria Martella from Tinlids

  “Nix Minus One showed off Jill MacLean’s characteristic strong plotting that helped win countless awards and nominations for her other books…[her] first foray into the novels-in-verse genre, heralding a new achievement in writing for her…never overworking her form or content.  Nix – 1 = Jill MacLean² “

–  CanLit for  Little Canadians,  Helen Kubiw

 “Author Jill MacLean effectively crafts the verse to create Nix’s voice…[The book] reveals Nix’s struggle to fit in and his frustration over the differences between the person he wishes he could be, the person people expect him to be, and the person he truly is…This is an absorbing, emotionally resonant book.”

Quill & Quire, – Melanie Fishbane, an MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts

 “What I loved most about this book is the way that Nix evolves…impossible to put down…emotionally engaging and thought-provoking.”

Nix Minus One. The powerful, moving story is told from the first person perspective of 15-year-old grade 9 student, Nixon Humbolt…As the flawed and troubled Nix lurches from one situation to the next, the reader is constantly hoping for him to emerge with happiness and success.

MacLean is to be applauded for respecting her readership and refusing to shy away from difficult topics…this book tackles sensitive issues and oftentimes delivers powerful and upsetting punches. Nix Minus One is a book for mature readers, but those readers will be rewarded with a story well told.”   Highly Recommended

– Gregory Bryan is a professor of children’s literature, University of Manitoba,  Winnipeg, MB.

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Purchase Options for Nix Minus One:

From Amazon: – Available now! – Available soon! (July 2013)

From Chapters/Indigo:

Click here for the print version of the book

Or go to your local independent bookstore.

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The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden
Jill MacLean's latest book The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden , published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is available in bookstores and on-line!

This book is the completion of the Newfoundland trilogy which started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, followed by The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.

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Nix Minus One

Jill MacLean's book Nix Minus One , published by Pajama Press and now available in bookstores!

Nix Minus One is geared for readers in Grade 7-8 and up.
Published February 15, 2013


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