MILA 2.0: Renegade

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
MILA 2.0: Renegade Book Poster Image
Fast-paced, violent sequel has android on the run, in love.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Being a sophisticated android, Mila knows a good deal more than the average teen. There's little formal education going on amid the fast-paced action (which takes place over a school vacation), but plenty of science and tech are in play as the story unfolds.

Positive Messages

All your emotions are important, and no good comes of trying to suppress them. Also, there are strong messages about the importance of courage and self-sacrifice for the sake of your loved ones.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Being part killing machine and part teenage girl, Mila is often deeply conflicted, and she lies, steals, and attacks people in desperation, but she struggles to do the right thing. Mila's love interest, Hunter, and her friend Lucas show courage and kindness in trying to help and protect her. Mila and Hunter break into an amusement park and take an illicit ride on a Ferris wheel. Mila's loving, protective "mom," who died in Book 1, continues to be a powerful influence and role model.


Engineered as a high-tech killing machine, Mila does a lot of damage: Under orders from her manipulator, she shoots and kills a helpless man. While she's on the run, she sees a mortal enemy behind every bush and acts accordingly, which sometimes does stop or kill a would-be killer but just as often gravely injures innocent bystanders and Good Samaritans. Mila herself is on the run from people who want to destroy her and who don't care how many people they kill in the process. Several people die as collateral damage.


Mila and love interest Hunter share a couple of brief but intense kisses. They also share a motel room when they're on the run but don't sleep in the same bed. One of the characters makes a rude remark about another's breasts not being large enough.


Occasional "f--k," "s--t," and "damn."


Many brand names, such as the Dairy Queen where Mila and Hunter met, are part of the scene-setting, as are car makes and models and sports teams (Mila remembers Phillies games).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one scene, a character administers ketamine to another character as an anesthetic; groggy conversations follow.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that MILA 2.0: Renegade continues the intriguing saga of Mila, a teen girl who discovers she's actually an android -- a state-of-the-art war machine -- and that her creators want to find and dismantle her. A number of characters, good and evil, meet violent ends by gunfire, explosions, car crashes, hand-to-hand combat, and more. Mila herself kills some, not always in self-defense. Innocent bystanders and Good Samaritans suffer android attacks when Mila's paranoia runs wild. Along the way, she grapples with ethical dilemmas -- she's in love with her classmate Hunter but afraid to tell him the truth about what she is, even when they're on the run together. Offered the chance to remove the emotions that cause her so much pain, she wavers about what to do and struggles to understand what she really is. One of the factions trying to recruit or capture Mila is a hacker organization that steals technology and resells it to the public at a much lower cost than the owners charged.

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What's the story?

After the traumatic discoveries and violent events of Book 1, android killing machine Mila, who up until a few days ago thought she was a normal teen from Philly, is on the run from her creators and other dark forces who want to dismantle her for her technology. With her is Hunter, the boy she's in love with -- and to whom she can't bring herself to tell the truth about who and what she is. In their quest to get Mila to safety -- and in Mila's search for the truth about herself and the right thing to do about it -- the two encounter friends masquerading as foes and sometimes vice versa. Amid the suspense and violence, they can't really trust each other either.

Is it any good?

The book's fast-moving plot takes readers through one hairpin turn and vertical drop after another. "Right now, the truth seemed nebulous at best. A never-ending journey where, just when I thought I'd finally struggled my way to the end, the pathway took a sharp turn, once again plunging me into darkness," Mila reflects at one point.

Mila's constant emotional turmoil and efforts to find herself will hit the sweet spot with some readers and probably annoy others, but they help define her as a struggling-to-be-human character. The constant thread of distrust and violence is necessary to the plot but may make for a story that's too dark for some.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why robots and androids are such popular subjects for stories. Do you find them more likable or more scary as they become more like humans?

  • What do you think of the hackers who believe all technology should be free? Do you agree or disagree? What do you see in today's world that makes you think this?

  • How would you feel if you discovered that something you'd believed all your life -- because people you trusted had told you it was true -- was a lie? How would your life change? Has this happened to anyone you know? How did they cope?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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