By Mary Eisenhart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Teen girl finds she's an android in tense sci-fi tale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
MILA 2.0 is more techno-thriller than educational, but it's heavily populated with scientists and robot/humanity issues, and it stars an unabashed pro-smart-girl heroine.
Courage, resourcefulness, and empathy help characters in life-threatening danger. There are also strong messages about adapting to fast-changing circumstances and learning from your mistakes.
Positive Role Models
Mila's mom risks her life to keep Mila safe when she becomes convinced that the girl is more human than machine. Mila starts out with typical teenage transgressions -- disobeying her mom's rules, sneaking out to see a boy -- but, as she's faced with unknown horrors, she becomes a strong, heroic character who's still a terrified kid, all of which forces a boy who works in the lab to see her as something more than a mere robot.
Violence & Scariness
Actual violent deaths are rare, but one of them happens to a beloved character. The whole premise of Mila as a sophisticated war machine who discovers more of her capabilities as the story unfolds involves many scenes of gunplay, hostage-taking, captivity, and hand-to-hand combat. Mila has strong, inexplicable flashbacks to a scene of a girl being tortured in a laboratory.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a strong attraction between Mila and Hunter, the cute new guy in school, but Mila is whisked away before they even kiss.
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Products & Purchases
Fast food brands (McDonald's, Dairy Queen), car brands (e.g. Camaro, Explorer, Suburban), guns (e.g. Sig Sauer), clothes (Vans, Carhartt), etc. are named, but it's more scene-setting than product placement. A TV series based on the book is in development, which is likely to make MILA something of a franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that MILA 2.0 is the first book in a planned trilogy about a teen girl who thinks she's human but is actually an android designed to be a sophisticated war machine. There's constant tension with many scenes of gunplay, hostage-taking, captivity, hand-to-hand combat, and chase scenes. Violence is ingrained in the plot but not glorified -- Mila and her mom are pursued by bad guys bent on killing them or worse; Mila is troubled by recurring memories of a girl being tortured; she's literally an engine of destruction; some characters (including one very sympathetic one) meet a violent death. The story is being developed as a TV series for ABC.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
Sixteen-year-old Mila Daily is grieving for her dead father; she's also dealing with the fact that her mother has uprooted her from Philadelphia to rural Minnesota, where the formerly homeschooled teen is just getting used to high school. Out of nowhere, she's confronted with the revelation that everything she knows is a lie, and the childhood and family she remembers never existed: In reality, she's a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, developed in a military lab for sophisticated covert operations, and her protective \"mother\" is the scientist who stole her when she started displaying human emotions. Now the two of them must go on the run, not just from Mila's creators -- who want to terminate them both -- but also from a shadowy organization that wants to sell Mila to the highest bidder.
Is It Any Good?
Hefty at 400+ pages, MILA 2.0 is a well-paced, suspenseful, heartstring-pulling drama, putting appealing characters in terrifying peril. Like much science fiction, it raises lots of questions about big issues, such as the nature of humanity, through the story's events and conversations.
Mila and her mom, who are front and center for most of the book, are complex, flawed, and compelling. Some of the supporting characters are more shallow and cartoonish, although some who appear only briefly here seem likely to return and develop further in the rest of the planned trilogy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about other stories about robots and androids. How does MILA 2.0 compare to them?
When Mila, who thinks she's human, falls into the hands of people who think she's not, how does she feel about the way they act toward her? How might this compare to the feelings of other people in groups who've been marginalized?
If you had powers like Mila's, how would you use them?
- Author: Debra Driza
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: March 12, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 480
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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