Title: Eve and Adam
Author: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Electric Monkey (imprint of Egmont UK)
I do not own the content taken from this novel. All rights belong to Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate and Electric Monkey.
Excerpt from page 1:
“I AM THINKING of an apple when the streetcar hits and my leg severs and my ribs crumble and my arm is no longer an arm but something unrecognizable, wet and red.
An apple. It was in a vendor’s stall at the farmers’ market off Powell. I’d noticed because it was so weirdly out of place, a defiant crimson Macintosh in an army of dull green Granny Smiths.
When you die – and I realize this as I hurtle through the air like a wounded bird – you should be thinking about love. If not love, at the very least you should be counting your sins or wondering why you didn’t cross at the light.
But you should not be thinking about an apple.”
The plot is funny and action-packed; the opening explosive. It revolves around Eve and Solo: both characters have their individual story arcs which become more and more intertwined as the story progresses. From the first paragraph, where Eve gets hit by a streetcar, Grant has our attention and he never lets it go. There’s enough obstacles for Eve to overcome in the middle of the plot and the reader gets a satisfying conclusion to a story that is equal parts dark and humorous, dealing with the creation of life and the manipulation of genes to cure disease.
The narration is tri-part. We get to see events through the eyes of Eve, Solo and Adam. Each is dinstinct. If you omitted the names, you’d be able to tell who’s speaking. Eve is more vulnerable in the way that she looks at her mother and what happens around her. Solo, on the other hand, is filled with hate and resentment – with glimpses of vulnerability – and is hardened by his difficult upbringing. Adam narrates as you would expect – as a newborn to the world – narrates events as he sees and recognises them for the first time. Funny at times, dark at others but all satisfying narrators, each with different perspectives.
I love the range of characters and rather than go into excessive detail about why I like them and what they represent, I thought I’d give minimal description and provide a quote from the text for/about each of the major characters. So here goes:
- Evening (Eve) Spiker: “It’s not like I’ve spent my life beating the boys back with a flaming torch.” (53)
- Terra Spiker (Eve’s mother): “I don’t know why my mother, who hates art, and particularly hated my father’s art, has hung on to these pieces, let alone why she has them displayed. I asked her once and she told me her interior designer needed something pretentiously ugly to fill the space.” (153)
- Solo (Terra’s charge): “”What can I say? I’m an amateur.”” (181)
- Aislin: (Eve’s best friend): “”Wait!” Aislin says. She reaches into the bag and then, yes, draws out a long string of condoms. “At least,” she says, “they didn’t take anything I really need.”” (63)
- Tommy (a scientist at Spiker Pharmaceuticals):
We even get a sense of Evening’s father through her narration. He acts as an unseen character and his presence is most poignant when we see his works of art.
Quality of Writing:
Grant’s writing style is distinct, offering the reader dramatisation of details such as setting and character information. Together, Grant and Applegate are able to create three distinct voices and meld them together in a wonderful display of unified writing. On occasion, some non-contracted words (it is) could have been contacted (it’s) to make the text flow more smoothly. There’s also one point where Eve mentions the carabiner when she’s preparing to get into the boat. I’m a twenty-three old guy and I didn’t know what this was until I looked it up. She’s a teenage girl and there’s no evidence that she should know about this. A slight blip but overall, fantastic writing from two fantastic authors.
I’m glad that Grant doesn’t bombard us with lengthy paragraphs of setting like other authors. He dramatises a lot of the detail, slicing it into story so we pick up little bits at a time without being overloaded. I get a clear picture that this is set in San Francisco and the attention to detail in the description of Spiker Pharmaceuticals doesn’t go unnoticed. The little details help to push the book from a great to a spectacular read. At Eve’s workstation, for example, we learn that her workstation is lowered to be wheelchair accessible.
Grant’s style of writing is distinguishable in a market saturated with YA literature. The narrators are likeable and (in the case of Eve, in particular) relatable. I’ve never read a story like it and frankly, the explanations behind the genetic processes are explained clearly and what’s more, the ideas in this book are things that have been and are being attempted. It’s a contemporary read with a strong narrative voice, a range of colourful characters and a good story. It’s hard to fault this book.
A must read. Equal parts dark and light.
Books You May Also Like:
Gone by Michael Grant – for another fast-paced plot, rememberable characters and sharp dialogue
BZRK BY Michael Grant – for another fast-paced plot, rememberable characters and sharp dialogue
The Mortal Instruments series – if you like a story enshrouded in secrets and forbidden love