Malinda Lo’s newest book, Adaptation, is a step away from her usual fare: it’s a young adult science fiction novel set in the near future. As the story begins, Reese Holloway and her debate partner David Li are waiting for a flight back home from a championship with their coach when planes start mysteriously crashing all over North America, due to flocks of birds striking them. As they try to make their way home in a rental car, the nation goes into upheaval; rioting, looting, and murder abound. However, at night on the Extraterrestrial Highway, Reese wrecks the car—and they wake up nearly a month later in a secure facility, alive and healthy, with no memory of the events after the accident. (I will note that Adaptation is the first half of a duet. Readers alarmed by sharp cliffhangers, be forewarned. The closing installment is due to be released in 2013, so it’s not too long of a wait.)
Having appreciated Lo’s previous work, I’ve been looking forward to her first novel-length foray into science fiction. Plus, there are certain things that more or less guaranteed I would enjoy Adaptation—for my tastes it was a grab-bag of treats, mixing a diverse cast led by a young queer woman, a theme and structure riffing on The X-Files, and a fast-moving plot driven by conspiracy, action, and more than a little bit of (also queer/questioning) teen romance.