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Willful Machines

Review

Willful Machines

Tim Floreen’s debut young adult novel WILLFUL MACHINES is full of thrills, romance and a journey about discovering what makes life worthwhile.
 
In the near future, laws must be passed in order to keep humans distinct from robots, particularly robots called 2Bs and not 2Bs. One of these life-forms is an Artificial Human called Charlotte. One day, Charlotte escapes from her containment, kills one of the scientists who created her and uploads herself onto the internet, where she terrorizes the public.
 
Lee Fisher is the closeted son of the U.S. president who attends Inverness Prep, a school for kids who want to become elites in America (which Lee does not). All he worries about is keeping his crush on a new student, Nico --- as well as his dad’s status --- a secret. The more that he and Nico get to know each other, though, the more Lee finds himself committing dangerous acts that could reveal his identity and land him on the front page of the news. However, when Lee’s robot creations attacks him in the robotics lab, many believe that Charlotte was behind it, and that she plans to control all robots on an attack against the First Son. Security around Inverness increases, making it harder for Lee and Nico to spend time together without being caught. As Lee tries to protect himself and Nico, he discovers the truth about Charlotte, Nico, his family and what it means to be human.
 
This book would be great for those who enjoy plot twists and suspenseful reads, as it will keep them on their toes for the entire 368 pages.
 
I have never read anything remotely similar to WILLFUL MACHINES --- it is so unique in the YA world. I appreciated that even though the protagonist is the President’s son, Lee chooses to keep his status a secret in order to maintain a normal life. Lee’s dad pushes his son to excel in his academics, creating a wedge between them. Even though many teens aren’t the offspring of government leaders, they can relate to being pushed (a bit too much) to do their best. I also loved the unexpected turn of events during the last few chapters.
 
One thing I didn’t enjoy as much was how fast Lee and Nico’s relationship developed. I understand that this book is a standalone (as far as we know) so Floreen didn’t have time to develop their relationship over several books, but it just seemed forced. I may not read very many romance books, but when I do, I like the relationships to develop slowly to make it seem more realistic.
 
I recommend WILLFUL MACHINES to fans of stories about robots integrating with or taking over human society, like the movies I, Robot or The Terminator. This book would also be great for those who enjoy plot twists and suspenseful reads, as it will keep them on their toes for the entire 368 pages.

Reviewed by Asia, H., Teen Board Member on October 27, 2015

Willful Machines
by Tim Floreen