Friday, October 25, 2013

Pulse-pounding SYLO Hits Intended Target

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Things on Pemberwick Island, Maine, don't change much from year to year.  The tourists come, the tourists go, and life moves on for the locals.  Bored with small-town life, most of Pemberwick's teenagers can't wait to leave the island behind.  Not 14-year-old Tucker Pierce.  His family hasn't been in Maine very long, but he loves the area's rugged beauty, the island's quaint, laid-back charm.  It beats living in some dirty, crowded city any day.

Tucker's peaceful island world is shattered when Marty Wiggins, a senior tailback, collapses during a high school football game.  His sudden, inexplicable death stuns everyone, especially Tucker, who saw the rage and confusion brewing in Marty's eyes just before he died.  The football player isn't the only islander acting weird—suddenly, everyone seems to be consumed with an unnatural and deadly kind of aggression.  Something weird is definitely going on.  

Then, SYLO, a mysterious military group, invades the island, taking things from weird to worse.  The soldiers allow no one on or off the island and offer no explanation for their actions.  Have the islanders all been infected with some crazy virus?  Are more people going to die?  And what's with the strange, humming aircraft that circle Pemberwick, but only at night?  Cut off from the outside world, with no t.v. or Internet access, Tucker has no idea what's going on.  He only knows he has to find out.  With the help of his best friend, Quinn, and Tori, the girl he's been crushing on forever, Tucker will figure out what's happening on his island.  Even if it means putting everything—and everyone—he loves in grave danger.

With plenty of pulse-pounding action to keep the pages turning, SYLO by D.J. MacHale is an exciting read that will appeal to even the most reluctant of readers (especially if they're male).  The plot's pretty cliché, the characters pretty cardboard, the writing pretty average, but the story moves along at a frantic pace, making you keep reading in spite of the book's hang-ups.  SYLO's overly long and totally far-fetched, but it wasn't a horrible read.  It's entertaining, anyway.  When I finished the book, I handed it to my 14-year-old son and—no surprises here—he's been riveted since Page 1.  Does SYLO hit the spot for its intended audience?  I'd say yes, yes, it does. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other YA dystopian books, although no specific titles are coming to mind)

Grade:  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for mild language (no F-bombs), violence and sexual innuendo

 To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of SYLO from the generous folks at Penguin.  Thank you!


1 comment:

  1. I've heard mixed things about this too. Glad you still thought it was worth reading.

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