What is it about girls and cyborgery? I've picked up several of these books recently, the latest being "Girl Parts" by John M. Cusick, but I've also read the "Specials" by Scott Westerfeld, "The Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary Pearson and "Skinned" by Robin Wasserman. Apparently in this age of texting and Facebook and smart phones, there're a lot of questions about how this affects us as human beings. In typical science fiction watchtower syndrome, there are warnings about the dangers of the ultra-linked world that has already arrived in some ways. Lots of folks have reviewed the latter three, so here's my review of "Girl Parts."
"Girl Parts" is about a Companion bot named Rose, who is designed to help David Sun overcome dissociative disorder, kind of like how teens have might to carry around a fake baby for health class. But Rose is an AI girlfriend, programmed to require certain kinds of interactions before she'll allow physical contact. And it seems to be working. David spends less time with his video games, and is eager to meet Rose's requirements so that things can progress to sex. Unfortunately...well, it is a YA book. When Rose's program to please David can't be completed, she has to find her own reason for existing.
The most interesting thing about this book was what it says about real relationships, and how sometimes people can get into patterns of thinking that are very robotic. Boy spends time with girl, thus girl is obligated to do XYZ. Rose's thoughts in some places were very poignant to me, but I don't want to spoil it for you. So, I'll just say that this book was worth reading, especially if you enjoyed any of the other books above.
If you're looking for a book for your teenager, I would highly recommend you preview it first. David is very concerned with losing his virginity, and while I imagine that his motivations are fairly realistic, it's a bit detailed for my taste in some places. But, I think the consequences of his actions are worthy of a good discussion. His choices are not glamorized, and the overall message is a good one.
Girl Parts came out in Aug. of this year, and I received this ARC (better late than never!) on loan from Around The World Blogs, which you can find in my side bar. Thanks!