May 1, 2014

Review: Adaptation

Adaptation By Malinda Lo
Available now from Little, Brown BFYR (Hachette) (US) and Hodder (UK)
Review copy

Reese Holloway and David Li are on their way home from a debate competition when things start to go really wrong.  Like, they wake up in a military hospital a month later wrong.  When they wake up, they aren't the same as they were.  For one thing, they can read minds.

I never quite got into Malinda Lo's first two books, even though I'd been especially excited by ASH, since I love fairytale retellings.  I found her style a bit stiff and cold.  They were good enough, but nothing I was over the moon about.  ADAPTATION, on the other hand, sucked me in and forced me to go to the library and borrow a copy of INHERITANCE so that I could read it immediately.

ADAPTATION is a science fiction novel with some thriller and romance elements.  Like many other science fiction novels, it is preoccupied with what makes us human.  Unlike many science fiction novels, Reese is also questioning her identity because she falls for a girl.  (Although Reese dates both David and Amber in the book, there is no cheating. One relationship clearly ends before another begins.)  It's a lovely mishmash between the philosophy of reality and of the imagination.  But it's not ponderous - there's lots of crazy, creepy stuff happening, including stalking by men in black.

A highlight for me, in both books, were Reese and David's family and friends.  Something strange has happened to them, but they have a loving, fierce support group backing them up.  Reese's mom might be one of my favorite parents in YA fiction.  Lo does a great job of showing that competent adults don't have to ruin the plot of a teen-oriented book.

If you're into science fiction, I highly recommend ADAPTATION and INHERITANCE.  I would say more about specific sci-fi elements that might entice you, but I'm afraid to give anything away.  Lo doesn't employ the most shocking twists, but it's still a fun journey.  (Side note: I thoroughly enjoyed how the love triangle resolved in INHERITANCE.)

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