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Review - Adaptation

Monday, October 22, 2012
Adaptation (Adaptation #1)
by Malinda Lo

4 Stars: Great Read
Publication: September 18, 2012
Pages: 400
Author: Website  | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

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.

Action, conspiracies, and bizarre happenings lend an air of mystery and heightened tension to Adaptation. Once I picked up this book, I couldn't put it down until it ended, and even then I wanted to keep reading. There is so much going on, so much waiting to be revealed. I haven't watched the movie Birds, but once I read about the birds dying in flocks and causing the deaths of countless people, I freaked out. I was scared that there was some conspiracy going on that was making the birds attack people and that there was going to be a huge, horrific apocalyptic disaster. Of course, events didn't progress to that degree, though many things did happen that did freak me out. Like agent stalkers, crazy dreams, sneaking out late at night, and many reports of deaths, humans and birds alike.

What made this story for me is how the plot was unraveled. From the mysterious way the birds are behaving to the crash and the changes overcoming Reese and David and their subsequent reactions to these developments, the secret behind Project Plato drives the plot, keeping my eyes glued to the pages from start to finish. The detailed references to many government projects lends credibility to the story. I'm not big into conspiracist theories, so I don't know how relevant many of these are to today's world. As this book takes place either in an alternate reality of our world or in the future (with a female president), it doesn't need to be entirely relevant to the present. What matters is that all these acronyms and secret projects heighten the suspense and tension. If it did try to do more than that, I'd probably run away. I'm not good with these kinds of technical terms!

This is one book where I found it hard to sort out my feelings about the characters. I like Reese. She likes to keep her emotions secure and stable, which makes it hard for her to start a relationship. Her thing with Amber is pure chemistry. Neither Reese nor Amber are quick to open up about themselves, and it's cool with Reese. She doesn't expect to start a serious relationship until she gets into one, and when something happens to betray her feelings, she locks up immediately. Her feelings of not wanting to be hurt anymore than she already has been is something that I feel many of us can relate to. Amber is an enigma. I know that she's gorgeous and seemingly very self-assured, but there's not much more other than that until towards the end. I'm hoping to learn more about her in the sequel to Adaptation.  I also want to see how Reese and David's new abilities turn out, and I want to see more of the two of them as an item. You don't see many Asian guys into YA Lit, much less Asian guys portrayed in such a positive light. He's sweet, funny, and super supportive. I like him, Asian or not.

I've heard great things about Malinda Lo's writing but haven't read any of her works until now. After this book, I'll definitely be reading more of her works, past and future. I can't wait to see where Malinda takes us next with the sequel to this book!

I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher.

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