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The Different Girl Hardcover – February 21, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The Different Girl centers around four identical androids who have different colored hair to differentiate between them. They are looked after by their caretakers Robbert and Irene. The androids are Veronika, Caroline, Isobel, and Eleanor. The story is told from Veronika's point of view. And I must say it is interesting to read a book from an android's point of view. Especially when the android believes that they are human, and their lives are normal. Now unfortunately for the reader, we never find out what the purpose of the androids were. We never find out why or even how they were created. This was a major letdown.
This book is probably not really for your average young adult reader, and I'm not even sure it's for your average sci fi fan. There is a mix between sci fi and contemporary, and personally I don't think it worked out very well for this novel. I think that it gives a good message about friendship, and accepting people for their differences.
My favorite part of the book was Veronika's interactions with May. May is a human girl who found herself on the island that the androids were on after her ship was wrecked. May's reactions to the androids were probably what your average person's would be. First there was fear, then anger, then a mild curiosity, and finally acceptance. It was very entertaining to see her relationship with Veronika evolve.Read more ›
Unlike the rather baroque steampunk-ish Victorian fantasy world of the Glass Books, The Different Girl takes place on a mostly deserted island. The outer world seems both remote and, somehow, dystopian. The sense of the island and the characters is quietly effective. My daughter noticed that the narrator, Veronika, while possessing self-awareness, also "thinks" and analyzes like a computer. She is subtly alien.
While some of the more critical reviews have commented that they've seen similar ideas in 1950s SF, I think that's kind of missing the point. Manmade humans as a concept date back to Frankenstein, while robots date back to the Czech play R.U.R. The Different Girl flips the traditional narrative by making the machine the protagonist and giving her her own bildungsroman.
Because the novel is quite inward, it's not really for the 10-and-under set, no matter how precocious. I'd put it more at middle school and up. While it's not a hard read, it is best suited to kids who want to think about ideas than, say, worry about whether Bella Swann and Edward will ever, ever get together.
The narrator, Veronika, is one of four "girls" that inhabit a remote island with two adults (Robbert and Irene) that act as their caretakers and instructors. The girls are identical in every respect except hair color. They live a highly regimented life, constantly instructed by their caretakers with a focus on perception and awareness of surroundings. We know from the start that we are dealing with a very unusual situation, as the author drops little hints that eventually lead us to an understanding of the nature of the girls and their relationship with Robbert and Irene.
The story increases in complexity with the arrival of a shipwreck victim, a girl named May, who is quite different from the other girls. The interaction between May and Veronika and the intervention (both anticipated and realized) of the outside world form the basis of the remainder of the work.
This novella is easily read in about three hours. While it is highly unusual, and maintained my interest, I must say that for long stretches of the story, very little if anything happens. Much time is spent describing and analyzing very mundane situations and natural occurrences as seen through innocent and naïve eyes. Were this story much longer, it would soon become quite boring and pedantic. I have seen the book described as a great "middle" in search of a beginning and end, and I cannot disagree. Perhaps a prequel and sequel are on the horizon. If so, I'm not sure I'm a customer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overall the book was slow at getting to the point. The book is about teenagers that are on an island and it seems to me that they are robots but that's not explained or told in the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Brett Davis
The author asks intelligent questions about human consciousness, the soul, "artificial intelligence," suicide, sacrifice, family, society, life... Read morePublished 8 months ago by jmhr
I got this from the library and I've very glad I did. This is supposed to be 'mysterious and evocative'. To me, it was just boring. Read morePublished 13 months ago by K. Knight
Veronika narrates her story of life on an island in the middle of nowhere with her adoptive parents Irene and Robbert, and her friends Caroline, Isobel and Eleanor. Read morePublished 15 months ago by SunshineRose
I honestly enjoyed this book and look forward to the story this author intends to write in the same time but different setting and characters. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Naomi Weneck
"At Eleanor's feet lay a fresh smear of dirt and grass, which might have come from Irene's sandal or Robert's sneaker if it hadn't been topped by the dusty dots of small round... Read morePublished on July 28, 2014 by Cornelia Amiri and Maeve Alpin
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I just finished reading this and I'm not really sure what to say. Read more
I would recommend this book to a reader who likes intellectual puzzles and who can accept some uncertainty. The back cover description is true: "You will have many questions. Read morePublished on July 4, 2013 by bookaunt
Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Nope. Nope. Oh gosh, this was... pretty bad. I don't think I could write a real review on this but I still think it deserves to be talked about so you guys... Read morePublished on June 16, 2013 by Alise (Readers in Wonderland)