Monday, July 15, 2013


by D. J. MacHale
Penguin, 2013.  407 pgs.  Fiction

     Marty Wiggins has mad skills on the football field, but on this night he was out of his mind good.  Tucker Pierce, his backup, notices not only the mad skills, but the mad look in Marty's eyes as he sits by him on the bench. When he goes back into the game, Marty scores the last touchdown--and drops dead.  This is the first death.  Many more follow as a mysterious military group--SYLO--comes ashore to "quarantine" the island where Tucker and his family live, and isolate what has come to be known as the Pemberwick virus.  But why do they arrive without Hazmat suits or any other protection, why are all communications with the mainland instantly cut off, and why are people being shot if they try to leave? Stranger still, what is the shadowy object Tucker and his best friend Quinn see flying over the island only to disappear in an extraordinary blast of light. And what about the sleazy-seeming "gentleman" trying to get Tucker to try Ruby, a new sports supplement that gives you superhuman strength--until maybe it kills you. Tucker, Quinn, and the lobsterman's daughter Tori find they can trust no one, and that it may be up to them to save Pemberwick Island, if only they can figure out who are the bad guys and who are the good ones--or if there are any good ones at all.  There are certainly some logical inconsistencies in this story, and one gets tired of the military commanders steeliness--steely gray hair, steely gray eyes, a steely stare.  And yet, the story speeds right along and you will not be able to leave it alone until it is too late to mow the lawn or get your lesson for Sunday. Fair warning.  SYLO ends with the three most dreaded words in the action/adventure fiction genre: To be continued . . . .   It will be hard to wait for the next book, but it would be worse to have the story end here.

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