Book Review: Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Lo_Adaptation_HC_600x900Title: Adaptation

Author: Malinda Lo

Sequel: Inheritance

First Sentence: “The birds plummented to the tarmac, wings loose and limp.”

Rating: 5 out of 5 freaky alien powers

So Adaptation came out a while ago (Sept of 2012 to be precise) and I read it when it came out but I apparently didn’t review it because I was probably busy doing grad school or something boring like that. The sequel, Inheritance came out a few months ago and I wanted to read it immediately, but I was in my I’ve-been-unemployed-for-3-months-and-have-literally-no-money phase so I couldn’t buy it, and the library where I was living didn’t have it, so I asked for it, but then I got a job and moved and the library I got a job at didn’t have it (first on my list of things to suggest) and so I had to wait until I had got a utility bill so I could get a library card at the library in my city (which is different than where I work) so I could check it out from there. And it was worth EVERY SINGLE SECOND BECAUSE ITS AMAZING. Obviously I’m going to review that one too, but I thought I’d do a proper review of the first one first because I’m a librarian and I like to do things in order.

Or something.



Everything Malinda Lo touches turns to awesome! If you haven’t read Ash and Huntress go do that right now!!!

I love everything about this book.

For starters—it’s proper sci fi which I love and haven’t really read much of lately. It’s the kind of sci fi that I would suggest to people who “don’t really like sci fi” because there is an equal amount of FEELINGS, and the kind of FEELINGS book I would suggest to people who don’t like feelings books because there is an equal amount of sci fi. You know what I mean?

So Reese and her debate partner David and their badass teacher Mr. Chapman are about to fly home from the national debate tournament when flocks of birds start flying into planes and the whole world freaks out. First of all THE PROTAGONIST IS IN A NATIONAL DEBATE TOURNAMENT!! As a dedicated speech contest participant all through high school I was all “HOLLA to my fellow geek girl” there. Also we know right away that Reese is smart and that is awesome. Because smart girls are cool. Obviously.

The flights all get cancelled and Reese, David and Mr. Chapman decide to drive back to San Fransisco, except Mr. Chapman gets shot because the world is going mental and some guy tries to steal their car, and David and Reese drive off into the desert where they promptly crash. YIKES!!!

They wake up after being in a coma for a month, are told they can’t talk about anything to anyone and then sent home. Reese’s gay BFF, Julian, is all about conspiracy theories and is convinced they were at Area 51. Skeptical Reese is skeptical. She’s also not really talking to David because there was this awkward teenage feelings thing before their last round of the tournament and she things he is mad at her and he thinks she is mad that he likes her, but she doesn’t realize he likes her because she’s a teenager and FEELINGS! And Reese is determined not to date anyone ever because her parents split up when she was young and so FEELINGS.

And then! And then y’all…. Reese meets Amber. And Amber totally shakes her world. They have this immediate attraction and Amber kisses Reese and it’s one of the best, hottest descriptions of a kiss ever. Amber is that girl that you stared at from behind your book at the coffee shop every day. Her hair is bright pink, then platinum blonde. She dresses a little punk, a little rock and roll. She’s super hot and owns it. She doesn’t apologize for turning heads. She’s confident and sexy. I’m not sure if I want to date an Amber or be an Amber but it’s one of the two.

One of my favorite things is when Reese’s mom accidentally walks in on them making out, after Amber leaves and Reese goes to face her mom all embarrassed and not knowing what to say—her mom just smirks and says, “she’s cute… I grew up in San Fransisco, you think I’ve never kissed a girl before?”


Also Julian, who is super pumped when Reese tells him about kissing Amber and just a general all around guy I want to hang out with all the damn time. Reese’s world is so authentic. Julian is gay. David is Asian. The people in her world are just people who are white and not white and straight and bisexual and gay and lesbian and everyone just is and there is a lot of angst about their lives and this crazy situation they find themselves in, but it’s not about any of these identities being a problem. And I FREAKING LOVE THAT!

Reese and David start to realize that they can hear the thoughts and sense the feelings of people around them and are all “WTF DID THEY DO TO US IN THAT PLACE IN THE DESERT” and then they get kidnapped by the government and don’t know whom to trust because everyone is apparently lying to them. The government is apparently lying to everyone and trying to cover up the bird attack and so some conspiracy sites are trying to uncover the truth. In a time when the media is so widespread, and we trust the news we see scrolling on our facebook and twitter feed, the idea of mass manipulation of information is both terrifying and topical.

So in the midst of all this craziness, Reese and David admit that they both like each other and have for a while.


Also also also…


The President of the United States in this book is a woman. Because, duh, of course. But it’s one of those things that most of the time no one thinks twice about and just defaults to the… default setting of white, cishet, man and that just perpetuates this idea that woman can’t be President which is of course not true.

The mood of the book is so flawlessly crafted. Reese, and the reader, find herself increasingly confused, not sure who to trust, what is true, who is lying to her. Are there aliens? Is the government lying? NO ONE KNOWS!!

A lot of this book is set up, as the first in a two part tends to be, so I won’t give away any more plot but it’s a stay-up-all-night OMG what is going to happen next kind of read.

Stay tuned for the a review of the conclusion: Inheritance.

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