Rabbit & Robot

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Rabbit & Robot Book Poster Image
Over-the-top sci-fi tale has lots of sex talk and violence.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Rabbit & Robot explores the traits that define a human being and urges compassion for living things, human or not. It also raises questions about free will.

Positive Messages

Love and hope are what make us what we are. It's important to be who you really want to be.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cager Messer grew up in great privilege and has a skewed idea of how he should treat other people and how they should treat him in return. He is also addicted to a drug called Woz. He struggles to get sober and be a more caring person.


The robots go berserk and start eating each other. Although mostly played for humor, the graphic description of their cannibalism may disturb sensitive readers.


Sexuality is mentioned but not depicted. Billy acknowledges that he has had sex with many people of many persuasions. Parker refuses to stop talking about his constant erection. Cager is fascinated with Lourdes' panties. The main characters sometimes sleep in bed together but without sexual activity.


Readers bothered by profanity should be aware that Rabbit & Robot is filled with the use of "s--t," "f--k" and their variations. The words occur too many times to count. "Hell" and "damn" occur less frequently, up to two dozen times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cager is addicted to Woz, a substance with properties similar to Ecstasy. He eventually gets sober, only to have his friend Billy start using it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rabbit & Robot is a gonzo science fiction novel by Andrew Smith (Grasshopper Jungle). The story follows three teens as they journey through space after life on Earth seems to have been destroyed. The large amounts of swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), sex talk (but no depictions of sex), drug use (of a fictional Ecstay-like drug called Woz), and over-the-top violence against robots may be too much for sensitive readers. But the novel has a wacky sense of humor and addresses serious themes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythe_duke September 2, 2020

Think Joe's Garage but in outer space

A confusing mix of horniness and humor. You never really know what you're reading but it's very interesting. A great read for those into sci fi and... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylasershark June 25, 2019

Just Crazy Enough to be Genius

This book is just crazy enough to be genius. Smith manages to weave deep, philosophical ideas about humanity into a ridiculous story of cannibalistic machines,... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the start of RABBIT & ROBOT, teen Cager Messer, who's addicted to a drug called Woz, is taken aboard the lunar cruise ship Tennessee by his friend Billy and his manservant/adviser Rowan. Not long after liftoff, the boys receive word that Earth has been turned to ash, thanks to its 30th simultaneous world war. Perhaps the last human survivors, Cager, Billy, and Rowan try to settle into life aboard the ship, their every need attended to by a legion of sophisticated robots. But when the robots start to go insane and begin eating each other, the boys wonder whether they will be stranded alone in space forever.

Is it any good?

Sci-fi isn't always noted for its humor, but this wacky, abrasive, and genuinely moving outer space adventure will prompt chuckles, snorts, and giggles in readers primed for galaxy-spanning lunacy. Author Andrew Smith sets up an absurd situation and then expands the story to address issues of free will, sentience, and identity. Some of the recurring gags wear out their welcome, and some readers are likely to be put off by the swearing and the sex talk, but those who persevere will be rewarded by Rabbit & Robot's serious themes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Rabbit & Robot questions what it means to be human. What traits distinguish living from nonliving things? Would a sufficiently sophisticated computer have free will?

  • Cager and Billy escape Earth just before it's seemingly destroyed. Why are people interested in speculating about how the world might end? Why are books and movies with apocalyptic settings so popular? Which ones are your favorites? 

  • The characters in Rabbit & Robot talk about sex a lot. Do you think that's realistic? 

  • What do you think of the violence in Rabbit & Robot? Is it too much? Is it less disturbing when robots are killing one another? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

Themes & Topics

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