“A deeply smart, potentially unnerving, but unrelentingly
funny sci-fi story.”
FRIENDROID / SLICK
Stranger Things meets robots in this sweet story about an unlikely friendship between two boys--one human, one android.
“A 12-year-old loner makes friends with a popular classmate—who just happens to be an android.
Danny introduces Slick’s story by telling readers how it ends: Slick is dead, he was murdered, and he was an android.…Slick (real name Eric) thinks he’s a regular kid: He’s focused on how many friends he has on Kudos, enthralled with his many pairs of Slick sneakers and his Oldean T-shirts—he is so brand-obsessed he sounds like a present-day social media influencer—and ignored by his equally popularity-hungry parents. But he bonds with Danny over the one thing he loves that isn’t popular: the online game Land X.
Their friendship is a first for both of them: Danny’s first friendship at all and Slick’s first friendship that isn’t just about popularity. But can they keep Slick safe from his creators?
The satisfying revelation of Slick’s strangeness contrasts engagingly with the absurd humor of this odd-couple friendship, and Vaughan executes her satire effectively for an audience that may not be accustomed to it.
A timely parable for this generation of digital natives.” (Kirkus Reviews)
A Peek Inside…
“I want to be with my friends.” ”They are not your friends.” ”Yes they are.” ”No, Eric, they’re not. You can’t have friends, because you’re a robot. Robots don’t make friends. You’re just programmed to think you have friends, and to think you like people. But these things aren’t real, not for you.” ”I know what I am, and I do have friends. Real friends. Maybe I was just a machine at the beginning, but I’m not that now. I know what I feel and think and I know that I am real - even if I’m not actually human.” Mr. Harluck sat back and stared at me for a moment, and then he laughed again. “I have to tell you, Eric - I’m enjoying this conversation very much.” I narrowed my eyes. I had never hated anything before. I hadn’t even known what hating something felt like, not until now.
Meet Slick on Instagram…
“…this is not just a story of an android or the dangers of excessive advertising; it is the story of one boy moving past his anger and finding a best friend. It is the story of what it means to be best friends, and how that meaning is predicated on the ability to share emotions…This book could easily go into the hands of a young person who is struggling to fit in, or who is struggling with how to care about others.”
(School Library Connection)
“Vaughan presents another noteworthy science-fiction middle-grade offering peppered with mystery…With notes of Flowers for Algernon, Eric and Danny’s story of friendship transcends genre to have wide appeal.”
Vaughan (Six) imparts sophisticated social commentary in this tale of friendship with a futuristic twist, told alternatively in the voice of 12-year-old Danny and in the journal entries of his friend Eric, nicknamed Slick. Danny immediately conveys that Slick is dead, having been murdered six months earlier, that Slick was an android, and that Danny is publishing his journals to lead to Slick’s killers’ capture. Slick mostly befriends popular kids when he moves to town, but he and Danny gradually bond over an online game, Land X, as well as Danny’s work building a computer. Danny finds many aspects of Slick’s life unsettlingly odd, from his perpetually smiling parents to his weekly dentist appointments and extreme sleep habits, but it still comes as a great surprise to both when they learn that Slick is a robot. The android’s stilted dialogue adds to his convincing character portrayal, and his journal entries reveal obsessions with certain brands and Land X, both of which hint at the hidden agenda behind his creation. Along with expected messages about choosing friends wisely, Vaughan offers a critique of consumerism for middle-grade readers who are ready to fight the power. Ages 8–12. (Publishers Weekly)