Girl Parts by John M. Cusick
This is a cute story with lots of deeper meanings. Though it has a lot of innuendos and funny moments, it expresses a lot about the struggles of connecting, loneliness, and depression. It begins with a suicide of a young girl and ends with both main characters getting back into the groove of things after Rose vanishes from their lives.
Publisher’s Description: “Hello, David. My name is Rose. It’s a pleasure to meet you. We are now entering minute two of our friendship. According to my Intimacy Clock, a handshake is now appropriate…”
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 to encourage healthy bonds and treat “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious red-headed Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock.
Severed 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.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Kat Mandu says…
Charlie could be considered the “loser” type, the one not on the popular list because he’s smart and poor. David is the opposite, with lots of money and friends. Rose, a Companion-robot, comes into both of their lives and changes them. Charlie becomes more confident and willing to communicate. David becomes more confident too, though he’s a stubborn asshole throughout most of the story. Still, his perspective is somewhat sad and you can tell he’s struggling. Rebecca is a side character and she too, learns and grows after meeting Rose.
Rose herself changes. She begins as the usual Companion – leading her life based on the programmed rules in her head. But after being submerged into the lake, some of her programs are short-circuited and she finds herself able to do all kinds of things. In a way, she becomes real – able to feel things her fellow Companions aren’t able to. She even undergoes a “procedure” that gives her girl parts – and there’s a hilarious scene after where she discovers said parts.
All in all, this is definitely a coming-of-age contemporary where characters are able to mature and find themselves. It’s a shorter book than I thought but it gets to the point quickly, while maintaining a wonderful story in the process. I’ve never been a huge contemporary fan but I loved this!
If you like this book…
If you like stories with a little bit of contemporary and sci-fi, you should try Being by Kevin Brooks. For stories with a little less contemporary and more robots, try Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza and the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.