Friday, November 9, 2012

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

So, I thought this book was awesome. In Adaptation by Malinda Lo  (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), Reese and David are on the way back from a disastrous debate competition, and it turns out that they're not getting out at the airport. No one is: a series of bird strikes has crashed dozens of airplanes, and everyone is grounded. They hit the road with their debate coach, planning to road trip from Phoenix back to San Francisco, but before they get home, terrible, frightening things start to happen, including a car crash for Reese and David. They wake up in the hospital--the kind of hospital that makes you sign a non-disclosure agreement before you leave. Why? Routine, of course, until you start to feel like your body is not your own and men in black suits show up at your door.

I really liked Reese. She's smart and analytical, and she's self-sufficient. She's discovering some things about her sexuality, and--in contrast to a fair number of other books I've read lately--there's no pressure for her to pick out a permanent label, like, today. I liked David, too; he's just not in quite as much of the book.

If Huntress and Ash are watercolors, the style in Adaptation is all sharp edges and overexposed photos. Malinda Lo's journalism background is put to good use here in a handful of articles and reports that feel like, well, an accurate portrayal of uncertain and opportunistic media.

Adaptation gets recommended as "for X-Files fans." I'm not necessarily an X-Files fan, but I definitely enjoyed Adaptation for its otherworldly science, the government conspiracies, and for how, midway through, it starts being hard to figure out whom to trust. Annoyance: I can't go straight on to the sequel.

This book is nominated in the YA SF/F category for the 2012 Cybils. I reviewed a copy that I owned.

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