SYLO is the first book in a new YA series by DJ MacHale and definitely one I'm going to recommend for our middle school summer book club next year. (The books for this year have already been picked.) I really enjoyed SYLO!
Tucker and his best friend Quinn live with their families on Pemberwick Island, an island off the coast of Maine. It seems to be just like any other end of summer until a star high school football player drops dead during a game. That's just the beginning.
Soon Pemberwick Island is being placed under a quarantine by the U.S. government due to a supposed virus outbreak, but Tucker doesn't think the quarantine has anything to do with a virus. Instead, Tucker suspects it all has something to do with a mysterious red crystal that appeared on the island. If you eat the crystal, you gain super human strength. But take too much and it will kill you.
As Tucker and Quinn, along with friends and frenemies Tori, Kent, and Olivia, try to find the truth, they learn that not everyone can be trusted, and the truth is more complicated than it seems.
I was sent some red crystal with my book, and while it didn't give me super human strength, it did taste deliciously like watermelon rock candy. :)
I wrote up some discussion questions in case we use this book for our middle school summer book club next year. And if you continue scrolling down, you'll see that I've shared these questions for you should you decide to use it for your own book club.
SYLO is available to purchase starting TODAY. It is published by Razorbill, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. I received a free review copy for my honest review.
1. What does Tucker do when Feit offers him the ruby? Would you have done the same? Why or why not?
2. Tucker likes living on Pemberwick Island but Quinn doesn't. Would you like living on a small island like Pemberwick? Why or why not?
3. Many times in the book Tucker wonders if his parents are hiding anything from him, but then he thinks that if they needed to tell him anything, they would. Do you think Tucker's parents were right to keep stuff from him? What do you think they could be hiding?
4. If your town was put under quarantine, would you stay indoors or continue living as normal?
5. If the government was giving out orders, would you obey and believe what the government officials were saying?
6. Do you think it was wise of Tucker, Tori, and Quinn to try to leave the island? What would you have done?
7. What is Kent's plan to escape the prison? Would you go along with it? Why or why not?
8. Is Feit a trustworthy person? Why or why not?
9. Is Olivia a trustworthy person? Why or why not?
10. What do Kent, Tucker, Tori, and Olivia find when they get to Portland?
11. What do you think will happen in the next book?
12. The author was inspired to write this book after a trip to Martha's Vineyard. What places have you visited that would make a good setting for this book? Why?