Pretty package wrapped around a skeletal core, padded by lots of glittery styrofoam.
Hey, at least they're glittery.
On their way home from a debate meet in Arizona, Reese, David and their coach, Mr. Chapman's flight back to San Francisco got grounded. Birds have caused four planes all over the country to crash for some mysterious reason. In true post-apocalyptic fashion, the three of them opted to travel by land, getting waylaid by the pandemonium generated by the uncertainty surrounding the strange events. Reese vaguely remembers an accident happening on the road, a strange chamber, a military base and 27 days she has no memory of. When they're returned to their families, she doesn't feel like herself. There are strange dreams plaguing her at night and stranger compulsions in the morning; suited men following her around and a beautiful girl simultaneously disturbing and drawing her in.
"It's like we're in a movie, and every time I am with you, the camera zooms in for a close-up and we're the only two people in the frame.
Do you know what I mean?
You're my close-up."
There's not enough F/F pairings in contemporary romance, true. In the few that I've seen, they are often pushed in the periphery or implied rather than blatant so this was quite refreshing to read about. The writing wasn't frilly but carried the tension in the mystery pretty well.
I feel that this book ran on two fuels:
A) what's going on with those birds?! (Not one quip about Capt Sullenberger? Book, I'm disappoint.) and
B) what happened in those 27 days? (Are we looking at a Matrix scenario here? X-Files? Independence Day?)
For a stretch, this read like a post-apocalyptic/sci-fi novel and I found the action gripping (up to a point) and the imagery bizarrely intriguing. It's what kept me reading, sustaining the interest well into a point that made DNFing moot.
But take away the avant garde atmosphere derived from poetic graffiti in a lesbian bathroom, the eggyolk chambers and birds slamming against airport windows, the essentials I look for in a good book felt lacking:
There was no unifying theme. I do not strictly look for a bigger message in books but there has to be a clear and apparent point to everything. This felt a little scattered, the details discordant and unemotional. It had a very sterile feel to it. I like that there's an underlying feeling of randomness to the context of the things happening here but I was waiting for a turn in the story that will elicit some visceral, human reaction from me as a reader. Possibly because...
There was barely any character development for any of the protagonists. Sure I appreciate the novelty of a bisexual heroine in the cusps of sexual awakening but at its core, this still fell prey to the clutches of love triangles and unfounded attraction. I'm having a hard time reconstructing Reese, Amber or David's personalities from memory, possibly because they had none.
The revelation felt milquetoast and dull. Totally robbing the book as a whole. The way this was resolved felt dated and unworthy of the creativity in the possibilities implied by the early chapters. I can't help but see the last quarter as a bit of a throwaway. The book being easily summarized thus with a great early sprint ending with a huffing and puffing walk to the finish line.
Given the balls, the swagger and the KILLER BIRDS this book had to offer, I still can't help but feel a bit disappointed. But then again, The First Malinda Lo Experience did manage to sustain my interest despite the Veronica Mars Distraction of March 2014, so there's that. Considering I have the attention span of a goldfish, I suppose there's something Adaptation has to offer that's worth checking out.