Paperback, 218 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Walker Books
Description via Goodreads:
'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. A strong boy read that girls will love too: sexy, hilarious, high-tech, and full of pop-culture nods to everything from Blade Runner to Buffy.
My thanks go to Walker Books for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Girl Parts has such an original, strong and fascinating premise! I loved the idea of reading about extremely life-like robots (known as Companions) living and interacting with humans. The plot wasn't all that bad either - a Companion named Rose is given to a boy named David to treat a so-called 'dissociative disorder' that his school counsellor has diagnosed him with. When David rejects his Companion, Rose seeks solace in an outsider, named Charlie.
Rose is a David's companion which means that she has been programmed to be his ideal partner - there is only one problem and that is that she doesn't have 'Girl Parts'. These Companions have not been built as sex toys - if their partners try to touch them too soon, they'll receive a nasty electric shock. For David, this is a huge problem as he is desperate to have sex. As you can imagine, because of this, there's quite a lot of sex talk (though not explicit) in this book. It's not completely unnecessary but a lot of the actions in regard to sex are irresponsible and frankly, a bit stupid, and so may not sit well with a lot of readers.
The characters were well formed. I really disliked David (as a lot of people will), but he definitely earned that dislike - his actions didn't seem unrealistic, but they suited his self-centred personality. Charlie, the kind outsider, was lovely. He wasn't confident in himself, but he did what he thought was right and had what seemed to be a nice personality. I thought that the introduction of another girl, Becca, was interesting and I would've liked to hear more about her - she seemed like a complex character, but we didn't get to hear enough about her. Rose was the star of the book though and I really felt for her. She may have been a robot, but she was able to think for herself and had human emotions. Naturally, it was difficult for her to understand everything that was going on around her and even though it's what she was built for, it was particularly hard for her to understand relationships. I found the time that Rose spent with Charlie the most interesting, especially when she went to the chop shop in order to attempt to get herself modified.
The main reason why I have rated this book quite low is the ending. Nothing at all seemed to have been resolved. Throughout the book there were mentions of several things that could've been sub-plots or catalysts for other events, but I was left with nothing from them. There is mention of a suicide throughout the book, but we're told practically nothing about it. Something is revealed about the school counsellor in the book, but we don't know what happens about it. Most frustratingly, we have almost no idea what happens to any of our main characters. I believe there's some hopeful ending for the boys - or at least thats what I gathered, but I have no idea of Rose's fate. Unfortunately, this poor ending really tarnished the book for me.
Overall, it was a fantastic idea and a decent enough plot. I felt as though the author did try to include too many things in at some points, without resolution, and so the story felt a little jumbled and cluttered. The problem for me was the very inconclusive ending. I do think Cusick has some good ideas, but this book didn't overly impress me.