By M.M. Vaughan
Age range: 9–11+; Book Band Y6/P7+; Dark Red A; Mastery
Shortlisted for the 2020 Brilliant Book Award
Shortlisted for the 2020 UKLA Book Award
Shortlisted for Shrewsbury Bookfest Big Book Award 2020
Shortlisted for the Hampshire Book Award for 2020
Eric Young is the first child android to be trialled in society, but he doesn’t know that. He does know that he’s just moved to Ashland from London, so it’s important that he makes new friends. Not just any friends, but the right kind – the kind that would be interested in skateboarding and the new Slick trainers his Uncle Martin sends him. He’s already growing his social media presence, but he knows it’s important to make friends in the real world too.
Danny Lazio doesn’t have any friends, but he doesn’t care about that. He would rather not be friends with someone like Eric, who’s had seemingly everything handed to him. But when Eric takes an interest in Land X, Danny’s favourite game, Danny thinks he might have found a real friend… if he can figure out the mystery behind Eric’s sudden disappearances and strange lifestyle. As their friendship grows it becomes harder to ignore the weird events that happen around Eric, from weekly “dentist” appointments to inexplicable medical mishaps. But uncovering the truth is an act that might cost them both, as powerful forces soon move in around them.
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.
A timely parable for this generation of digital natives.
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
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. She has over ten years’ experience as a teacher, working mostly with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Monica loves writing after midnight, building cardboard cities and collecting notebooks. She lives in London with her daughter and their cat “Toto From-Kansas”.
Read an interview with M.M. Vaughan here