cover image SYLO


D.J. MacHale. Razorbill, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-59514-665-6

MacHale (the Pendragon books) shifts into thriller mode as he launches a trilogy with an entertaining and creepy tale of teens forced into a dire situation. Tucker is a high school freshman on Pemberwick Island, Maine, content to be a benchwarmer on the varsity football team. After the star tailback drops dead during a game, Tucker and his best friend Quinn go for a therapeutic bike ride at night and spy a mysterious aircraft. Soon after, more people start dying, and the island is quarantined and placed under protection of the SYLO agency. The introduction of a drug called the Ruby increases the threat, as humans and animals alike become strong and fast under its influence, but risk overdosing. As deaths continue to mount, Quinn, Tucker, and a girl named Tori become suspicious of their own families, as well as the government. MacHale throws a lot of action and a touch of romance into his conspiracy-laden plot, but fans of similar series (Michael Grant’s Gone books, for example) should have no problem keeping up. Ages 10–up. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (July)