Title: Adaptation (Adaptation #1)
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Summary from Goodreads- Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.
Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.
Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.
Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.
I think the main reason I gave this book a 4 instead of a 3 was due to the fact that Malinda Lo wrote it, and, looking at her other work, this book is definitely a step out into new territory for her as a writer. Lo is most know for her debut, Ash, a retelling of Cinderella with an LGBT twist. Her other novel, Huntress, is also an LGBT fantasy novel. Her jump to sci-fi thriller definitely seems like quite a leap, but I think she did a fairly good job.
Even though the story was well written and well crafted (it’s Malinda Lo, how could it not be?) I couldn’t help but feel as I was reading that it would be better suited to a movie than a book. As I read, I kept seeing the action playing itself out on a screen, making what was certainly an entertaining and suspenseful movie, but was maybe not as valuable a story in book-form.
The best part of the story to me was the (SPOILER) romance between Reese and Amber (END SPOILER). At the beginning of the book, I was certain that Malinda Lo’s latest novel wouldn’t include an LGBT element like her other two books did, because I didn’t think it could work in a sci-fi/thriller context, but Lo definitely pulled it off. That romance was the element of the book that had the most substance for me, so I’m glad it was included. As soon as Amber appeared in the story, I was hoping she and Reese would get together, and even though Amber ends up betraying Reese in some ways, I am still team Amber.
While Adaptation was certainly entertaining and fast-paced, it just wasn’t my cup of tea compared to Ash, which had a lot more emotional and creative punch (I still need to read Huntress). Still, I’m glad I read it, and will probably read the sequel when it comes out in 2013.