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Book Cover Image: Eve and Adam by Katherine ApplegateTitle: Eve and Adam
Author: Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
ISBN: 978-0312583514
Genre: Science Fiction
No. of Pages: 304

” In the beginning, there was an apple –

And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die – not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won’t he?”

Thoughts: What would it be like to play God? More importantly, does the ability to save millions of lives trump the violation of ethics? Such questions are the intended focus of Katherine Applegate’s and Michael Grant’s Eve and Adam. In actuality, Eve and Adam is an overly simplistic science fiction novel involving a clueless heroine, an intelligent but socially clueless mystery boy, and the type of psychological battles that come when the bad guy is never quite as evil as they should be. It should have been better than it was.

The entire novel is a bit of a contradiction, which may be in part due to its dual authors as it is to a poorly created story. Is Evening supposed to be a strong female heroine or weak? One cannot tell as she waffles back and forth. Is this geared towards young women or men? If the target audience is young men, then the focus on Adam’s physical perfection is off-putting to male readers. That and the lack of science will not make Eve and Adam a viable option. If the main audience is young women, then the lack of specific and adequate scientific explanations is offensive, as if both authors deliberately chose to keep the science as simple as possible to attract a large audience, perpetuating the myth that science and girls do not mix well. The novel itself wavers between the two, as if neither author could figure out their target audience either.

The fact that Ms. Applegate and Mr. Grant have already announced a sequel to Eve and Adam is highly disappointing, as the entire novel does not warrant a sequel. There is no major cliffhanger; the characters are too superficial to generate any connection between reader and character. While there are a few unanswered questions, a reader will not care about getting answers to them. Without the lack of emotional involvement on the part of the reader, due in large part to the poorly-explained science and lack of quality characters, Eve and Adam fails to impress, making the thought of continuing the story that much more perplexing.

Eve and Adam has a fascinating premise with mediocre execution. While the syntax of the novel is overly simplistic, the subject matter and main characters are not. The characters’ less-than-pure scruples and experience are paradoxical to the juvenile language. Much of the novel revolves around science and the ethical boundaries that can so easily be crossed when obscene amounts of money and fame are on the line. As with the scenarios in which Solo and Evening find themselves, the descriptions of the science are very basic , too much so for such weighty ethical quandaries. All of the characters remain as one-dimensional as Adam, barely more than archetypes and certainly without any character development. A reader’s disappointment at the lack of depth and gravitas in any of the characters only compounds one’s dissatisfaction at a potentially outstanding story made unexceptional.

Acknowledgments: Thank you to NetGalley and to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for my e-galley!

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