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Reviewed by:
  • Adaptation
  • Claire Gross
Lo, Malinda . Adaptation. Little, 2012. [400p]. Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-316-19796-0 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-316-21446-9 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9-12.

David and Reese are trying to return to San Francisco from a debate competition in Phoenix when a strange rash of bird strikes leaves all air traffic grounded. Attempting to drive home instead, they are forced into a detour that takes them near legendary alien hotspot Area 51, where their car crashes after a bird flies into their headlights. Twenty-seven days later, they wake up in a secret facility with no memory of anything that has occurred since the crash, and they are released home with the warning that details of the crash and medical treatment (including their strange new healing ability and the fading scars that suggest they had been "cut open and sewn back together") are classified. As Reese struggles to get on with her life and gets over her longtime crush on David to pursue a relationship with perky, pink-haired Amber, she is dogged by the sense that her body is irrevocably changed—and that people are following her. Lo invokes a paranoid X-Files sensibility here, layering conspiracy atop conspiracy and balancing ambitious twists with nuanced relationships that are ultimately as important to the sci-fi plotting as they are to the character development. Reese's vague sensory memories of her missing time are appropriately creepy, and they work well to set up the final revelation of what is really going on. Fans of Lo's previous fantasies will appreciate her continued facility with mystery and atmosphere, and her satisfying twist on classic alien tropes is sure to attract some new admirers.



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