By: D.J. MacHale
When I was reading SYLO I decided it would make a terrific movie. It is action packed, captivating, and well paced -- for the most part. The beginning was well written and introduced an island off the coast of Maine, Pemberwick Island. The town is very close and everyone knows just about everyone else. Autumn is coming on but the warmth of winter is still holding on. One evening during an intense football game the team's best player, Marty Wiggins, drops dead. Tucker, a bench player on the football team, witnessed the whole thing and even heard Marty's last words. To clear his mind he went on a midnight bike ride with his best friend Quinn. On this bike ride a mysterious shadow flying over the water makes an elongated sound before exploding knocking both Tucker and Quinn off their bikes as well as someone else off their bike. The only other witness was someone sitting in a pickup truck that disappeared before the police arrived. The next day Tucker runs into someone he doesn't know, Mr. Feit, who offers him a mysterious red sea salt. Tucker eats a tiny bit of it and becomes impossibly fast and strong until it wears off. Once the island gets over Marty's death and how bad Tucker is at replacing his position on the football team life goes back to normal. Until the lobster pot festival. Near the end of the boat race one of the competitors runs off course, crashes, and is found dead, but not from the crash. At this point a branch of the US army, SYLO, invades Pemberwick. The person in charge of SYLO, Captain Granger, is steely and ruthless. He tells them that they are barricading the island because there is a virus that they don't want to spread from the mainland. Tucker and Quinn don't quite believe this but nothing is confirmed until Tucker and Tori, another girl from the island, see something that puts Tucker, Quinn, and Tori in danger for knowing too much.
Overall the book was very exciting but had a couple of flaws. At the beginning of the book Tucker notices how his parents react oddly to the news of the invasion and seem to know something more. Even though Tucker notices it he willingly decides not to care. This bothered me for a long time because odd things were happening on the Island and Tucker didn't care that his parents might know something more. But, this was mostly taken care of when Quinn yells at Tucker for not asking more questions. Another problem was what happened to Quinn, it's too fishy. The next problem was Olivia. Olivia is a girl visiting the island and gets stuck on the Island without her family when SYLO invades. On the day of the lobster pot festival Tucker over hears Olivia yelling into her cell phone saying she had already been on the island for too long and it wasn't what she agreed to. Olivia comes up with a lame excuse and Tucker believes her. This happened right before SYLO invaded and Tucker does not even take notice. From that point on I was always suspicious of Olivia. She didn't do anything else odd until she seemed a little too handy with gun shot wounds and nothing more is discovered about Olivia. This leads us to the last problem: the ending. Just about nothing is wrapped up. It ends with the worst words in the world "TO BE CONTINUED..." I was not happy. The characters finished the first step of their journey but don't find any of the answers they were looking for. Obviously there is going to be a second book but there needed to be a little but more of a conclusion. Also, hopefully this will be fixed before it gets published, but, there were some very obvious typos. A couple of times it would have two possessive adjectives in a row -- it would say things like Mr. Feits his. And then another typo was the name of a sort of important place. It started out as WCSH but on the next page it became WCHS.
This book was between a 3.5 and 4.5. It's not really a 4 though. Some of the book was very good but some of it seemed a little off. As a whole it is probably around a 4 but some parts were clearly better than other parts. The book was like a bag of chocolates. Its a bag of chocolates, rather than a box, because you can't really tell how many chocolates you have. The chocolates are very good but then randomly they are filled with something you don't like. A lot of the chocolates have original flavors that you've never tasted before but are very good. Then when you think you should be a third of the way through someone grabs the bag from you and says you can have it back in a year. That person is not very nice.