Nothing particularly exciting ever happens on Pemberwick Island. That’s one reason 14 year old Tucker Pierce likes it so much. All of his friends are counting down the days until they graduate from high school and can move off of Pemberwick, but Tucker’s content to stay put. Then suddenly, leaving isn’t an option anymore.
They’re called SYLO, and they’re a branch of the United States military. They say they’re there to quarantine the island, to keep the mainland safe from a mysterious illness that killed a star high school football player. But SYLO’s story isn’t adding up. Pemberwick Island is completely cut off from the rest of the United States, and SYLO has shown that it’s willing to use lethal force to keep it that way.
Tucker and his friends are just kids, but there’s no one else to turn to for help. It’s up to them to expose what’s happening on Pemberwick Island to the world…but as they learn more they realize that what’s happening on the island may be just the beginning.
There is a lot going on in this book, but that’s not a bad thing. D.J. MacHale does an excellent job of tying multiple storylines together, and once the action begins it doesn’t slow down. The main characters, Tucker and his friends Quinn and Tori, are well fleshed out and relatable kids who are believable as teens who have found themselves in over their heads. The bad guys are a little more one dimensional. You don’t quite expect the leader of SYLO, Granger, to start twirling a mustache Snidely Whiplash-style, but it’s pretty close.
There are definite sci-fi elements to the story, but even kids who aren’t sci-fi fans will devour this one. About 75 pages from the end it becomes clear that the story isn’t going to be wrapped up in one book–SYLO is the first of a trilogy. The ending doesn’t tie up many of the loose ends, but it does have a couple of interesting twists that easily set up the next books. The book isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly an engaging ride. I hope MacHale writes fast. I want to know what happens next.
SYLO by D.J. MacHale; Razorbill; c2013