Adaptation, by Malinda Lo


1. The act or process of adapting.

2. The state of being adapted.

3. Something, such as a device or mechanism, that is changed or changes so as to become suitable to a new or special application or situation.

4. A composition that has been recast into a new form: The play is an adaptation of a short novel.

Biology An alteration or adjustment in structure or habits, often hereditary, by which a species or individual improves its condition in relationship to its environment.
Physiology The responsive adjustment of a sense organ, such as the eye, to varying conditions, such as light intensity.
Change in behavior of a person or group in response to new or modified surroundings.

Reese and David, debate partners, would-be lovers, friends, and survivors of a car crash when no one should have survived. The reason? An adaptation chamber that, they are initially told, is a top-secret government-controlled healing machine.

Concurrently, birds are dive-bombing and bringing down planes, and curfews are enforced, and beloved teachers are killed. Fires are set and panic sets in. Cities are evacuated. Bomb shelters are considered. The president is lying. The military can’t be trusted. Websites trying to expose the truth are shut down. And Reese and David, with their fading-too-fast scars and shaky memories of what happened to them, become caught up in a conspiracy that extends beyond the borders of Earth.

Area 51, that’s just the tip of the proverbial alien iceberg. And the only way Reese and David are going to make it is together, but only if they adapt to their new reality, to what has been done to and with them, and to a world where everything they held to be true is no longer true.

Epic, this adventure, with a sequel neatly set up (Lo is rumored to be writing one). And by its end, you’ll question what you believe about love and sex and relationships and that kiss after which nothing is and can be the same.

Adaptation, by Malinda Lo. New York, New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012. 400 pages. $17.99, hardcover.

William Henderson is never far from his phone, where he is often tweeting (@Avesdad) or blogging ( He is a frequent contributor to Thought Catalog, and has been published in The Rumpus, Mental Shoes, Revolution House, Specter, and Used Furniture Review, among others. He writes a bimonthly column for Hippocampus Magazine, is a regular contributor to Peripheral Surveys, and published his first chapbook, Edgeways, through NAP, in 2011.

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