Who wouldn’t want a French-speaking, beret-wearing robot for a brother?
When a peculiar package arrives from France, 12-year-old Matt unpacks a robot. He is not all that surprised to learn that his father and uncle, both genius computer scientists, have created two robot children and plan to have them live as members of their respective families for a year before revealing their existence to the world. Matt adapts quickly, dubbing his new brother Norman and helping him to get used to life in America and the routines of school and family life. It’s not all smooth sailing, though—Matt’s mom is disturbed to discover how much Norman looks like a child she lost years before, Norman suffers from a computer virus and suddenly a couple of strange men seem to be paying too much attention to Norman and Matt. Written in Matt’s clever, casual and funny voice, this is a page-turner filled with fun, intrigue and suspense that sneaks in some important and timely questions. What does it mean to be human? How far should science really go in the name of preserving, protecting or even recreating life? How does profound grief affect our decisions and relationships?
Equally entertaining and thought-provoking, this one will appeal to science-fiction and suspense fans as well as those readers who tend toward more character and relationship-focused selections. (Science fiction. 9-12)