Girl Parts by John M. Cusick. Pub. Walker Books, 2011.
David and Charlie are as different as chalk and cheese yet the day Nora Vogel took a lethal cocktail live on the net they are both watching. So are 748 others but David’s very rich and computer literate father decides it is is a weird thing to do. He sends David to a shrink who decides that David has disassociated himself from the real world.
The solution is to get David a “Companion” who is all a boy could want. Her name is Rose and she is part girl part robot and she is absolutely gorgeous and indistinguishable from the real McCoy. Her purpose is to discourage dehumanising behaviour and encourage healthy human interaction. Wow!
Rose has an Intimacy Clock inside her that dictates how she behaves under emotional and physical pressure from David. If you go too far you are zapped. David is mesmerized by Rose but really all she is really doing to him is regulating his lust.
One night at a party David is pushed to the limit and gets Rose to strip for him. What David sees changes everything.
It’s important to note that Rose is programmed to David, is totally devoted to him, but after the party things change and she comes in contact with the geeky but totally understanding, Charlie.
A very appealing plot, well told, literate and titillating in the extreme as it exposes teenage boy sexual behaviour.
It reminded me of the robot girls in the films Cherry 2000 and Bladerunner. Just incredible.
Grow Up by Ben Brooks. Pub. Text Publishers, 2011.
This book will evoke a number of emotions and responses, but you will not be bored. The language is coarse, the subject compulsively interesting and the idea just short of brilliant. It is for Secondary school students and young adults and particularly boy readers.
Jasper is obsessed with sex and the female body. He fantasises about sex all the time. He takes drugs, he parties hard, he has friends who are just as crazy as he is, he is sitting important exams and he is growing up.
Important issues are brought up in the novel such as the role of the easy access of porn on the Internet in teenage lives, teen suicide and the use of images to embarrass others on Youtube.
The dialogue is strong and realistic and you will find yourself snorting with laughter and cringing with horror.
Ben Brooks is only 19 years and as a writer he is brilliant beyond his age. Reluctant boys and insightful girls will enjoy this, but go careful it is dynamite.
Rich and Mad by William Nicholson. Pub. Egmont, 2010.
The power of the novel derives from the questions it asks it’s target audience of teenagers. What is love? Will I fall in love? How will I know? Is love the same for boys and girls? Are love and sex the same thing? and most importantly will someone fall in love with me?
Maddy and Richie know each other from school but they are never in their respective sights when it comes to a relationship. Both have more attractive targets and both are barking up the wrong tree. They go through the angst and the embarrassment and learn a lot about the questions asked above.
William Nicholson has taken up a challenge with this topic and I think he has done ok but you may think different. He certainly blows the cover on male sexuality and has some hard hitting things to say eg. boys equate love with sex because they can feel sex and it happens to them without the need to know anything about the other person. Tough stuff.
There are a couple of pages that will make your blood curdle especially towards the end where he deals with the topic of pain and sex. Some will think it is over the top and i guess in a way it is. But overall not a bad story and how else are you going to learn about all this without getting badly hurt?
Definitely secondary and young adult in appeal although junior secondary students will climb over each other to get at it.