Publisher: Candlewick Press
David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend. In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uberconnected world.
This was actually really good. And it surprised me in several ways, actually.
First of all, the writing style was very different from what I was expecting. In a good way. He writes in third person, which I am used to, but he also does it in a way that makes it feel like he's a person overlooking everything that's going on. Kind of like someone is narrating it without an actual person doing it. For example, during a scene where there's an assembly (I think?) one of the main characters is at the assembly, but he takes the time to describe people around him. What some of the other students are doing and how some are kind of flirting and not paying attention. It kind of bothered me at first, and then I was unsure if I liked it or not, but it grew on me, and I found myself really enjoying it.
Second, the characters. I was expecting to like Charlie, and I did, but I wasn't expecting to dislike David as much as I did. Charlie was very likable, and sweet, and honest. David was very much none of these things. I was thinking he would be one of those rich kids who act like a jerk while inside is very different and likable. He wasn't. He had moment where I thought he was going to be okay, but he was still very much a jerk inside. Although I maybe feel a little bad for him.
I really liked Rose. She was interesting, as I thought she would be, because of how she's programmed for these things but then how things change for her and so she changes and becomes kind of a person. I liked how she responded to things that had to do with human contact, it was very fun to read. I also liked May, she was a very interesting character.
I was thinking the plot line would be like the other stories I've read with a robot character like in this one, so I wasn't expecting most of the things that made this one different. (I haven't really read or seen very many though, besides the manga Absolute Boyfriend.) I wasn't expecting Rose to meet Charlie like she does, or how David would react to Rose being gone. Especially not what happens to Rose later in the book after her and Charlie meet May. I quite liked that turn of events, though.
How the plot line starts, with the David going to the counselor and finding out about Sakura and then getting Rose was actually a good plot line. It was interesting, and I liked the down fall of it and how all of it was connected.
The ending I am a little confused by, and I feel like I wanted more of an explanation as to what happened with Rose. And Charlie. I pretty much understand what happened with David.
This was pretty much a surprisingly good read. I wasn't expecting most of the things that happened in it, and some of them give me a bittersweet feeling while others I liked.