“Fast-paced and thoroughly engaging, with very effective stakes-raising and threat levels, this is a thrilling read.”


Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

Adaptation is a bold contemporary science-fiction thriller from the acclaimed author of Ash.


PlaylistRead the sequel
Read the companion novella: Natural Selection



“Fast-paced and thoroughly engaging, with very effective stakes-raising and threat levels, this is a thrilling read.” — NPR

“This novel takes off like a shot. … Lo’s (Huntress) writing sparkles throughout, Reese’s efforts at self-acceptance after the accident are engaging, and the exciting ending will leave readers ready for the sequel.” — Publishers Weekly

“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.” — Booklist

“Lo’s thriller, a fresh take on classic sci-fi tropes, matches quick plot turns with thoughtful exploration of Reese’s hesitantly emerging bisexuality in a subtle, yet powerful, play on the idea of being alien.” — School Library Journal

“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.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Absolutely compelling … A sharp twist at the climax makes everything that happened before an even more satisfying puzzle to unravel. Readers interested in conspiracy theories will enjoy how many are sprinkled throughout, and any few who came in thinking our government would never hide information may leave feeling a bit more wary. ” — Horn Book

“The tension is relentless … Lo manages a diverse cast (Asian-American smart stud; gay conspiracy nut; debate nerd) without ever falling into stereotypes. … slot this on the shelf between Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and The X-Files.” — Kirkus

“In this daring science-fiction thriller, Lo depicts a memorably frightening future.” — John DeNardo, Kirkus

“Lo moves into the territory of The X-Files without a hitch, crafting a well-developed character in Reese and making us believe her slow discovery that she is now part of something larger. All the twists and turns you’d expect from a good SF thriller are here, but they are deepened by how real (and how sensible) Reese’s character is, and by the fact that she realistically grapples as much with who she’s attracted to as with what’s happening to her on a larger level.” — Locus

“Suspenseful, girl-powered, contemporary science fiction full of realistically diverse characters making realistic contemporary use of technology— plus hot kissing—make this book hard to resist.” — VOYA

“Adaptation is one of those rare, unique birds in YA: a good, cool and geek-friendly sci-fi story featuring an extremely diverse cast of characters and a beautifully portrayed bisexual protagonist.” — The Book Smugglers

“The sense of play—of allusion, homage, and, forgive the pun, adaptation—with source materials like the typical “YA love triangle” and the conspiracy-SF narrative empire of The X-Files makes this book read almost like a love letter to genre, while it is at the same time clearly having a roaring good time fooling around with the things it’s built on. And, aside from the extra-narrative pleasures, it’s also a fairly enjoyable romp—romance, action, and teenagers being teenagers in bizarre situations kept my attention throughout. Lo’s prose is clear and straight-forward, which helps to move the plot along at a generally steady and occasionally break-neck pace while also immersing the reader in Reese’s experience of her world.” — Tor.com

“This is a story about solitude and emotional alienation, about how love transforms you (often against your will!), and about finding solace in unexpected places. … Lo…uses the genre of science fiction as a metaphorical tool, and she couldn’t have chosen more apt metaphors or more profound issues–sexual identity, emotional isolation, trust, and first loves–on which to use them.” — The Intergalactic Academy

“This was the first book I’d read in a long, long time that actually befit the name “page turner,” where the time flew by as the plot grew thicker and creepier, where the world it created inhabited my thoughts even when I wasn’t reading it. This book is exciting in so many different ways: aside from just being a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling read, it’s one of the first sci-fi young adult novels I’ve ever read with such solid queer characters. The plot of this book is so engrossing that it won’t just be read by queer kids because it’s queer. Kids of all stripes will read this, and get an awesome queer perspective injected into their brains as a bonus. I feel like this could really propel Malinda Lo even further in her career than where she is now, and it would be completely well deserved.” — AfterEllen

“Reese, Amber, David — let me say this is one of my favorite love triangles in a YA book. Reese is attracted to both Amber and David; there are no good or bad guys. Yes, Reese likes boys and girls (well, at least one boy,  David, and one girl, Amber), and that’s another aspect about Adaptation. It’s multicultural and diverse, in a casual way, meaning it’s no big deal. It’s not a thing. The teens and adults in Adaptation are straight, bi, and gay; they are white, African American, Asian American. Except, it is a big deal to YA readers because too often the “default” for books is all white, all straight.” — A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

“A clever, fast-paced, romantic adventure chock full of unexpected twists and surprises.” — Holly Black, bestselling author of White Cat and The Spiderwick Chronicles

“Starts with a bang and doesn’t stop rocking, and has a sexy bad … girl.” — Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Demon’s Lexicon series

“Adaptation will have you looking skyward and believing in conspiracies again.” — Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix




Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2012)
Young Adult Fiction
Hardcover ISBN: 9780316197960
Ebook ISBN: 9780316214469

Hodder Children’s Books (April 2014) — U.K., Australia, New Zealand