In a near-future world of drought and rising seas, a young dog lover learns to question what it means to be humane.
Genetic experiments on man’s best friend have gone awry, with disastrous results for their temperaments requiring mass canine euthanasia. While the Mechanical Tail Company is perfecting increasingly lifelike robot replacements, Dog Island, off Florida’s coast, offers a Ruffuge for a handful of remaining Organics (natural dogs). Nano Miller, one of three teens living in this quirky community, tests new robot dogs, offering feedback on upgrades and trying not to mind when her robotic pets are replaced annually with newer models. Meanwhile, Nano must grapple with the mysterious disappearance of her older brother, Billy, and the intense emotions accompanying first love with Wolf—her lifelong friend and fellow resident. When Nano discovers a live puppy that wags its tail—a trait bred out of dogs during the scientific tinkering—she impulsively decides to hide rather than euthanize it. Plunging into an unexpectedly dangerous world of intrigue, Nano questions the dogma and motivations of those around her, including trusted adults like their sanctuary’s humanitarian founder. Full of plot twists, puns, and a sometimes-disconcerting blend of serious and silly, the novel explores the gap between human intention and impact. A white default is assumed.
A provocative reflection on humanity’s increasingly damaging effects on the natural world. (Dystopian. 14-18)