Friday, June 21, 2013

Emily's Book Review: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate



Evening Spiker is the daughter of a mega-rich pharmaceutical researcher with questionable morality. When Eve steps in front of a car, she is whisked away from the hospital almost as soon as she arrives, with her doctors saying she’ll never survive the ambulance ride home. Miraculously, she makes it to Spiker Biopharm, where she quickly gets to know the only other teenager there, Solo Plisskin. Unbeknownst to Evening, her mother has been Solo’s guardian for the past six years, ever since his parents (top Spiker scientists) died in a tragic car accident.  The novel alternates between Solo and Eve’s points of view, making it obvious that from the start that Solo knows quite a bit more about what is going on with Eve’s body than she does. Perhaps to keep Eve’s mind away from this fact, her mom gives her a project—test out the company’s new learning software by designing the perfect male, her very own Adam. Eve thinks of Adam as a fun art project, but what she doesn’t know is that her key strokes are piecing actual body parts together. Solo knows something is up, though. For years, he has been discovering ways to hack into Spiker’s files, building a case against the company, and he can guess that the billions of dollars being poured into the project aren’t for learning software. As Eve becomes more and more drawn into the project, Solo has to decide whether or not to tell her he’s been seeking to destroy her mother for years.


Eve & Adam is fast-paced and full of action from the first page, but the authors still present a satisfying amount of character development, and I never felt like they created action for action’s sake. Solo and Eve bond while escaping from Spiker to rescue Eve’s troubled best friend from some harrowing situations and then escape again when Solo’s hacking catches up to him. I never felt irritated by too much or too little detail at these moments in the story, and the sci-fi aspect of Eve & Adam was similarly satisfying to me. Often, I get irritated with science fiction when there aren’t enough details to explain why things are the way they are (as with The Originals) or I get bogged down when there are more details than I care about. Eve & Adam struck a good balance. I never found myself questioning the science of Spiker Biopharm, but I never got confused by it either.


The book also raises some interesting questions about “playing God” and the nature of perfection as Eve creates Adam.  Even as a simulation, the program Eve is using shows the average user what it takes to make a human a human, and the questions Eve is faced with when creating him go far past whether his eyes should be blue or brown. Should she make him genius-level smart, so smart that he might not fit in with his peers, or should she make him average, even if it means he’ll have to try harder to succeed? Should she make him more kind or more courageous? Furthermore, can any human ever really be perfect, and what if our idea of perfection doesn’t turn out so perfect in the end? Though the book never gets that deep, choosing instead to focus on Solo’s vendetta against Spiker and his growing romance with Eve, readers will appreciate the ideas that it raises.


Overall, Eve & Adam is a book I would definitely recommend. Rather than being set far in the future in some dark dystopia, the book raises questions about science and control in our own time. Though Eve & Adamwasn’t deep or thought-provoking enough to stay in my mind for long after I put it down, I still had fun reading it, and I think teens will as well.


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