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Adaptation Hardcover – September 18, 2012

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Hardcover, September 18, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Following their loss in the national debate championship, Reese Holloway and David Li are in the Phoenix airport awaiting their flight home to San Francisco when all flights across the U.S. are canceled due to a series of plane crashes caused by flocks of birds. While they are trying to drive home, their coach, Mr. Chapman, is shot and killed and the teens flee, only to crash in the middle of the Nevada desert. They awake nearly a month later and find themselves in a secret facility. Reese and David are told that they have received experimental medical treatments and that they must sign confidentiality agreements before they can return to their families. Reese discovers that she heals incredibly quickly and that she has strange dreams and sensory experiences. Given the location of their crash, their friend from back home wonders if the two may have been treated at Area 51. Before Reese can process any of this, she meets and finds herself falling in love with Amber Gray. This lesbian relationship seems to come out of the blue for both Reese and readers, but Amber's significance is later revealed. Lo pens a near future science-fiction thriller with a romance component. Although readers may find some plot points predictable, the alien-conspiracy theory element and the fast pacing ought to draw in many readers.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The birds seem driven to attack all over the continent. Communication shut-down. Martial law is declared. And high-school debate partners Reese and David see their tournament chaperon killed as they try to get back home to San Francisco. Reese has little memory of the subsequent car accident or of recovering in a strange hospital in the Nevada desert that makes her sign a nondisclosure agreement before her release. Within days, the stitches covering her body disappear, and Reese is left with fleeting recollections of a womblike cell and powerful sensations she has never before experienced. When she meets vivacious and beautiful Amber, her world spins even faster. What does it mean that she is attracted to a girl but still yearning for David? Soon Reese and David find themselves caught in a web of conspiracies that shatter her world but would do the X-Files proud. The pace of this sci-fi thriller picks up even further as secrets of universal proportions are revealed just before a cliff-hanger ending. Sequel? Affirmative. Grades 8-11. --Heather Booth

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316197963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316197960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Malinda Lo's first novel, Ash, a retelling of Cinderella with a lesbian twist, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the Lambda Literary Award. Her second novel, Huntress, a companion novel to Ash, is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her young adult science fiction duology, beginning with Adaptation, will be published in fall 2012. She lives in Northern California with her partner and their dog. Visit her online at

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stories & Sweeties on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Despite not being a huge sci-fi fan, I couldn't help having really high expectations for Adaptation. I am a HUGE fan of Malinda Lo's work. Her writing in Ash and Huntress is absolutely flawless and lush, her handling of all manner of love stories is so beautiful done, her intricate story-telling completely blows me away. So, yes---high expectations for Adaptation.

Well, I wouldn't say that I was disappointed. I did really enjoy Adaptation. I just didn't completely fall in love with it. The story was mind-boggling, intense, and extremely fast-paced through most of the book. While government conspiracy and men-in-black are usually two things that leave me bored, this was so well written that even these subjects kept me glued to the page.

Reese was really likeable and fun character to read. She was smart and head-strong, but still unsure in some aspects of her life. She's terrified of relationships because of her parents' divorce, so after a few years of warring with herself over feelings for her debate partner, David, she is knocked sideways (quite literally at first!) by her sudden intense feelings for Amber. Their relationship was a whirlwind to read. Very intriguing to see Reese grapple with this first experience and try to figure out what is happening inside her from the treatment she received in the military hospital. Amber is open and uninhibited and fun and Reese just kind of gets swept up. Still, the main theme of the story, being the mystery and conspiracy of what was happening with the birds and the military secrets kind of got thrown by the wayside while Reese went through all this. It almost started to feel like two different stories, a bit disjointed. We do get back to it, though and the secrets and lies and excitement start again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jaime Nicole on April 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book! I'm not a huge fan of science fiction, but this is more of a contemporary science fiction YA novel. I really liked that it explored a love triangle with a protaganist exploring her own bisexuality in a non-politicized way. I though this novel was well paced and I enjoyed Reese's (the main character) strong personality - I hate non-capable protaganists and Reese is definitely not that.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By NebraskaIcebergs on April 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Recently, I was asked to review Adaptation by Melinda Lo, especially with the view of it as a multicultural book. To me, it doesn't stack up as one; the ethnic characters seem token. Moreover, as science fiction goes, Adaptation isn't all that believable. The global conspiracy happens too fast and is too contrived. Incidentally, that's also about how I viewed the romance.

Adaptation does have a promising premise. Birds fall from the sky. The public panics, and within one day most stores and restaurants have run out of food and interstate traffic is shut down. On a lesser scale, a gas station is blown up by desperadoes-and, oh, the only supervising adult is shot and killed. Then, on the heels of all this strife our two heroes land themselves in an accident, are found by scientists or medical doctors who conduct experimental life-saving medical procedures on them, and now our two heroes have alien powers. Wow!

I was pulled in immediately by the falling birds, then pushed away by the instant panic. Birds really have fallen from the sky before, and it was treated as little more than a curiosity. It takes a lot more to send people into survival mode these days. If not for the instant panic, Adaptation might actually have worked for me because it does cover ground that I have not seen too often in current young adult novels. Too bad.

Another problem with Adaptation is that the conspiracy theory is the only conflict which held my attention. Given that the main character's dad is referenced maybe only three times, I never really cared whether Reese would accept a phone call from him after her accident. In fact, the only reason I can figure out why Reese's dad is even mentioned is to explain why Reese wants absolutely nothing ever to do with a relationship.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kris on October 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
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