by John M. Cusick
From Back Cover:
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 "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 to her, knowing that she isn't real. With Charlie's help, the ideal"companion" is about to become her own best friend.
This book was so much more than I thought it would be. It goes back to the old saying-never judge a book by it's cover! I really thought it was going to be a light and fluffy good time read. It was definitely way deeper than that!
The story starts with a suicide witnessed by several people over the Internet, including David, who watches a girl die on his computer screen and does nothing to intervene or help. When David's parents find out they become concerned that he may have Dissociative Disorder and immediately order him a robot companion named Rose. She is the newest thing in technology built to provide unconditional love, a real relationship and constant companionship.
The story then becomes Roses as she grows closer to David and starts to develop human tendencies. She lives to please David and their relationship starts to bloom. Until David discovers that his relationship with Rose can only go so far. Then he abruptly ends things and kicks her to the curb. Enter the quiet, loner Charlie who comes to Rose's rescue in more ways than one.
Charlie might also have Dissociative Disorder but for reasons very different than David. The story then becomes Charlie and Roses.
This story has so many elements and is really about three very different people who lives end up intertwining. The end is bittersweet but felt right. I think John Cusick hit the mark.
Certain parts of the story reminded me of Feed by M.T. Anderson. Dissociative Disorder felt a little to real in our technology hungry world.
A big thank you to Candlewick Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I'll be passing this book on to the winner of a contest.