Title: Girl Parts
Author: John M. Cusick site
Format: Hardcover, 218 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press
“What happens when a robot designed to be a boy’s ideal “companion” develops a will of her own? A compulsively readable novel from a new talent.
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 uber connected world.”
Set in the near future… It all starts when a girl named Nora Vogel kills herself on a live web cam over the internet for all to see. David is just browsing the web when he sees it and watches. He thinks nothing of it until he is called into the psychiatrist’s office where he is confronted about doing nothing to stop it. He is diagnosed with “dissociative disorder”. His recommended course of treatment is to get a Companion, a robotic girl whose universe revolves around him to help him relate to others.
There was something very human about David and Charlie. David is a very popular boy who has the pick of any girl he wants. Of course he doesn’t treat them well, and doesn’t care for long term relationships. Charlie is very smart and reclusive, but is also kind of arrogant and puts himself in a league above others. Both were imperfect characters, which I always like, and they both had an air of realism about them. And Rose was very likable, and I was really rooting for her throughout the book. She’s naïve, but she really takes a stand for herself. She gains more confidence and self respect, while remaining humble.
Plot and Story:
There is a kind of ease and disconnected-ness about the writing. I was interested to see what happened in the story, but I didn’t feel particularly connected with the characters. It was almost like viewing them from a distance, but not exactly in a bad way. It is pretty steadily paced, and I wasn’t left bored. And although the book is only 218 pages, Girl Parts wasn’t too long or too short, it was just right. The ending of the book is unexpected. I’m not sure whether I think it’s good or bad. It was just different.
Girl Parts was a short read, but an enjoyable one. There was something distinctly different and likeable about it. I didn’t find it “hilarious” but it’s still worth reading. It was short, direct, and to the point while still being entertaining. I give it 4 of 5 stars.