BOOKS: 3 Things I Love About ADAPTATION by Malinda Lo

Note: There are no major spoilers in this post.

I recently finished a young adult novel titled ADAPTATION by author Malinda Lo. I wanted to read this book for two reasons: 1) Because it has a queer girl romance subplot, and 2) Because I am a fan of Malinda Lo’s blog.

Here are my three favorite things about this novel:

1)      It didn’t “feel” like a sci-fi novel: I have a hard time getting into fantasy or science fiction novels. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. It’s more than a hard time: I just don’t tend to like them. I think I might’ve put off reading ADAPTATION because I saw that it would be classified as sci-fi. But then I read a blog interview with Malinda Lo where the interviewer mentioned that ADAPTATION didn’t read like a sci-fi novel. That’s absolutely true. It felt like a realistic, contemporary YA novel that had a bit of an X-Files thing going on.

2)      The romance subplot(s) were so well-handled: A (sort of) sci-fi novel kind of calls for the focus to be on its main plot. There was action, there were questions to be answered. However, there was romance. I need a good romance to get into a book. I don’t like Romance as a genre, but I need a romantic subplot to get me all excited about the story. The way Malinda Lo balanced her romantic subplots with the main plot worked extremely well, in my opinion. It totally grounded the story into the real world, with real people. Reese was a teenager experiencing her first taste of romance and attraction (torn between the mysterious, enigmatic girl, and the dreamy, good-guy debate partner)—all the while dealing with the freaky X-Files-type of stuff that makes up the main story. It totally supported the main plot, driving it even because the stakes were so much higher with Reese’s heart on the line.

Note: Page 134 really rocked my reader world. 😉

3)      The POV (point of view) worked for me: I mention this because of my own dislike of third-person POV. In this case, we were so close to Reese that every time I picked up the book to keep reading, I’d have a moment of “Oh, right—this is in third” because it felt as intimate as a The cover for Inheritance by Malinda Lo, on shelves Sept. 18, 2013.first-person POV; I expected to see “I” where I’d see “Reese” and “She.” I was so glad for this because initially, I had this thought like, Okay—this is a sci-fi novel in third-person POV? I don’t know… If anyone is thinking the same thing, then I advise you not to let that get in the way.

On Goodreads, I gave it a 5-star rating. This novel was a great read. There’s a sequel due out in September 2013, INHERITANCE, which I am looking forward to.

Have you read ADAPTATION?

Some Thoughts on…Book Rating

**Disclaimer: I am not shitting on Goodreads, or any other book-rating website. I actually think it’s an amazing thing and it’s allowed me to discover and keep track of some pretty important/crazy-good books. The following is my angst-filled rant at my inability to manage my own subjective rating system.

When I first got myself on Goodreads, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It allowed me to keep lists of books I found interesting and rate the books I was reading. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t so much into the reviewing part of it. I just can’t seem to articulate my thoughts of a book and it started to feel like a chore. But that was cool, because I still had those 5 stars to play with. It takes one second to rate a book that way.

Something dawned on me the other day, when I 5-stared a book I thoroughly enjoyed: How many books I rate are truly worthy of the 5-star rating? And I don’t mean according to general opinion/merit. I mean just by my own subjective rating system. It started to feel a little like sitting on the American Idol judge panel, handing out marks that were just…saturated in circumstantial, arbitrary unreliability.

If I were to line up my 5-star books, and rate those out of 5 stars, they’d probably be all over the place. I might realize that I 5-stared a book just because I’m a fan of the author in general, even though their 5-star book wasn’t as enjoyable a read as a 4-star or 3-star from another author/genre. So, what I’m saying is that it’s all bullshit-ty, the way I rate. I don’t even understand how one can rate using 5 stars. Like, I think if it was a percentage, it might be more accurate. I could see myself rate a book an 82% and another one an 86% just based on holding them up against each other. I’d have more flexibility. With 5 stars, you don’t have that. Plus, I tend to want to save my 1-star rating for something horribly awful and offensive, but what about a book that just promised such great things and miserably failed? What’s worse?

Another dumb thing I did when I went on Goodreads is to randomly think up books I’ve read in the past just so I could enter them in my “read” category and assign them a rating. Well, since becoming a serious writer—gaining that hypercritical reader’s eye that I’m so fond of—I’m embarrassed at some of what I thought was “amazing”. Because now, if I picked up “amazing” book, I’d either put it down after a few chapters, or I’d have to take into consideration the things my hypercritical eye picks up on, making the “shitty versus awesome” scale tip significantly, thereby lowering the star rating. Does that take away from the fact that at that point in my life, the book served the purpose a book is supposed to serve? That said book was actually amazing and nearly flawless to me then? No. But, I feel like my reader self from three years ago is someone else entirely. I either have to remove all books I’ve read before three years ago, or I have to reread them completely in order to assign a true rating—which I’m not going to do because my “to read” list is lengthy, not to mention my stacks of “haven’t yet read but already bought” books at home.

But once again, we’re back at the fact that I can’t really trust my current rating system anyway…

So, I guess there’s nothing to be done. I’m not sure why I felt the need to ramble about this. Although, I kind of feel better about the whole thing. I may have gained enough Goodreads self-awareness through this post.

I’d be interested in hearing anyone’s thoughts about Goodreads (or any other book rating system). I know I’m fretting over it too much, but it’s not like it keeps me up at night. 😉

Dave Bidini’s “On A Cold Road”…I’ll be discussing it for the WCDR Bookclub.

Last month, the WCDR speaker was Dave Bidini, author of several books and member of Canada’s The Rheostatics.

The book is On A Cold Road, and it was a Canada Reads 2012 selection.

A blurb on the book, taken from the Canada Reads website shared above:

“Former Rheostatics guitarist Dave Bidini made the leap from music to the writing world with the publication of this book, his first, in 1998. The band caught a major break when they were asked by The Tragically Hip to open for them on a cross-Canada tour in 1996. Bidini kept a thorough tour diary, and his notes eventually became On a Cold Road, which chronicles the touring experience province by province. In addition to his own stories, Bidini includes tales of life on tour from a slew of well-known Canadian musicians including Randy Bachman (who relates an amusing story about the mutual resentment between The Guess Who andThe Who), “Rompin'” Ronnie Hawkins and Trooper’s Ra McGuire, among many others.”

Dave Bidini was an amazing speaker. I read the book and it was a kick-ass read.

On May 1st, a group of WCDR members will be facilitating an online discussion of the book on the Reading As Writers website (the book club of the WCDR). I’m up this week as the first facilitator. 😀

Check it out!

UPDATE (1/05/12): The discussion has begun. Don’t be shy to comment!




1 3 4 5