SYNOPSISStranger Things meets robots in this sweet story about an unlikely friendship between two boys—one human, one android.
Eric Young is an android, but he doesn’t know. He does know that he’s just moved to Ashland, so it’s important to make the right kind of friends—the kind that would be interested in skateboarding and the new Slick sneakers his Uncle Martin sends him.
Danny Lazio doesn’t have any friends, but he doesn’t care. Even if his classmates don’t accept him, he still has Land X, the online role play game that he’s actually really good at. But then Eric takes an interest in Land X, and suddenly Danny thinks he might have found a real friend…if he can figure out the mystery behind Eric’s sudden disappearances and strange lifestyle.
It becomes harder to ignore the weird events that happen only around Eric. But uncovering the secret behind Eric’s identity is an act that might cost them both as powerful forces soon move in around them.
This heartfelt story about friendship and what it means to be human is sure to tug at your soul—or your soul-chip if you’re like Eric.
Praise for FRIENDROID
"A timely parable for this generation of digital natives." ―Kirkus
"Vaughan presents another noteworthy sf middle-grade offering peppered with mystery." ―Booklist
"For middle-grade readers who are ready to fight the power." ―Publishers Weekly
TEN FACTS ABOUT FRIENDROID
1. Originally, I wrote Friendroid completely from Eric’s perspective. It was only on advice from my editor that I rewrote it so that the story alternated between Eric and Danny’s PoV. It was the hardest edit I’ve had to do but I’m so glad that I took my editor’s advice – I think the story is so much better as a result.
2. It took me two years to write Friendroid; about half of that was spent planning, and the other half of that writing (and rewriting).
3. Eric’s nickname is Slick as he’s always talking about how much he loves his Slick sneakers!
4. The androids in Friendroid are called Canny Valleys. They are named in reference to the uncanny valley concept, which describes the unsettling feeling of being in the company of a robot that is eerily similar to a human.
5. The developer of the androids in Friendroid, is called Carter Harluck. This is an anagram of the legendary sci-fi writer, Arthur C. Clarke. I think I might have actually whooped out loud when I came up with that!
6. Ashland is a fictional town in Friendroid, but I had the town of Cazenovia, NY (where my dad has lived for over 25 years) in mind as I was writing.
7. Although I’m definitely not a twelve-year-old boy, I have some similar interests! I have always loved computers and gaming, which is why technology features so heavily in my stories.
8. My favorite chapter to write was the one in which Eric gives Danny a gift – much to Danny’s horror (he didn’t get Eric a gift). For me, it was the moment that Eric truly became ‘human’.
9. I wrote Friendroid as a stand-alone story, but I enjoyed writing it so much, and have so many different ideas of the story that could follow, that I think I’ll probably end up writing a sequel at some point.
10. Of the five books I have written, Friendroid is the one that I’ve most enjoyed writing. That’s not to say it was always easy, but it never felt like chore. Quite the opposite.
I Absolutely LOVED this story!! So I feel that if I loved it so much, Middle grade kids are going to devour it and learn a lot about friendships.
Danny is a loner who doesn't have any friends. He spends his time playing an online game which he is really good at. You learn more about Danny through the story, which twists your heart because you know so many other kids go through the same thing.
Erik is the new kid, trying to make friends the the cool kids. He realizes the only way to fit in is to be involved and like all the things the cool kids do. He is told not to be friends with Danny.
However, Erik realizes he has a lot in common with Danny, and comes to the conclusion that he can reinvent Danny so he can become a cool kid too so he can hang out with Erik and his new friends.
Danny invites Erik over. Danny's mom is just over the moon that Danny has brought someone over. As a mother, I felt this mother's relief and hope.
So the friendship starts to grow, and Danny starts to realize that everything about Erik is literal...everything he hear and says is literal....and this is kind of confusing to Danny.
This story was SO FUN to read. It was a joy to watch Danny and Slick's (aka Erik) friendship grow. With several twists, the story kept you guessing, even after you find out that Erik is an android. It is a story full of emotions...and I will have to say that I shed a tear or two. It has a surprise ending that I thought was absolutely brilliant. BRILLIANT! A fast paced read for sure, with lots of lessons to be learned. I have always told my children, it's not the quantity of friends you have but the quality, and if you have just one great friend, that's all you need. This story teaches that lesson and so much more. With online gaming, social media, and the struggle to find friends, I think that story just fits perfect with the world today.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. When you think about a book days after you finish, that's a good book that needs to be shared and enjoyed by all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The daughter of South American parents, Monica Meira Vaughan grew up in Spain before moving to London at the age of five where she learnt English by watching Sesame Street and reading every Roald Dahl book she could get her hands on. On leaving school, and after a brief stint in public relations, Monica decided to train as a primary school teacher. She spent over ten years working in special needs, mostly with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, before becoming a full time writer.
Monica loves writing after midnight, building cardboard cities and playing Lego with her daughter. She lives in London, UK.
PHOTO CONTENT FROM M.M. VAUGHAN
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