Boy Robot

432p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481459297.
Gr 10 Up—On the eve of turning 18, Isaak has a splitting headache. These headaches signal a dramatic physical change that occurs in all of the teens in his community, who are not human at all. They are Robots. In this near-future world, sinister, shadowy government death squads are hunting and killing Robots. The few surviving teens flee alongside their adult rescuers, hoping to find a safe place. Told from multiple points of view, this debut is a violent, dark sci-fi novel that attempts to question what it means to be human. The constantly shifting perspectives, even mid-chapter, make for awkward and often confusing reading. The mystery of why these teens are Robots is not explained until the final pages, with many plot holes still unresolved. All but one of the main characters are in their 20s. There are multiple graphic scenes of brutal bullying, child abuse, and rape. When the victims come into their powers as Robots, their retribution is violent and fatal. Between the level of violence and the awkward, disjointed point of view transitions, this volume will be frustrating for many.
VERDICT If dark, brutal sci-fi is in demand in your library, choose other titles, such as Pierce Brown's phenomenal Red Rising.

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