Watchdog

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A pile of garbage.  That's where thirteen-year-old Vick and his twin sister, Tara, are sinking their arms deep into rotting food, stinking diapers, and hungry flies.  They're searching for anything that looks like a tossed aside piece of broken technology.  It could be an arm, a leg, a motor or even the teeth of barber scissors and pawning it just might get them enough food for one good meal.

Ever since Mom lost her job to a robot and then lost her life, Vick and Tara have been on their own living on a rooftop in a lean-to and lucky to have a tin of something to eat for dinner.  Tara has autism which can send her out of control.  She likes things to stay the same and make her feel safe. Her world is anything but that.  So, it's on Vick to keep Tara safe and he is pulling on everything he can remember of how his mother handled Tara to get them through the hard times.

It's Tara whose genius with technology will lead them into danger.  As she sifts through the garbage she finds a chip she can use to enhance her robot dog, Daisy.  Suddenly, Daisy is taking high-functioning commands and able to fix herself.   Turns out the chip she stumbled on by accident in the garbage pile is the target of a well-funded, ambitious woman, Ms. Alba.  She has deployed her flunkies to find the chip that someone threw away by accident and no one is going to stand in her way.

When Ms. Alba and her troopers figure out that Vick and Tara might have gotten to the chip first, the gloves come off and the twins are captured and  held virtually prisoners in a research lab/factory where watchdog robots are being designed and constructed.  With the power of that special chip, Ms. Alba plans to make piles of money and she doesn't care who gets hurt or even gets killed while she's getting there.

Vick and Tara are on the run in a world patrolled by watchdogs with superpowers and super strength.  Can one girl with autism and her twin brother escape from and outwit these adults and the robots they are unleashing to find them?

A dystopian world of the future filled with dominant robots and greed comes alive for us as we run from the adults who will do anything to make their fortunes and establish their spheres of power.  Enough darkness, a good dose of tension, and twins who are good at heart and willing to stand up against the powerful forces who want the world designed  on their terms give this story heart, adventure and some thrilling suspense.

Fast-paced, great robot world, excitement, battles raging... this is a satisfying science fiction story for those readers not quite ready to step into the YA world of dystopian novels.  We need more of these.

182 pages           978-1524713843             Ages 8-12

Recommended by  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

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Thirteen-year-old twins Vick and Tara have built an incredible machine—a loyal robotic watchdog named Daisy. But, when local crime boss Ms. Alba schemes to add Daisy to her robot army, Vick and Tara must go to great lengths to protect their prized pet. Because Daisy is more than just any robot—she’s their constant protector, and together the three make a great team.

Vick and Tara are determined to stop the mob from tearing their little family apart. And they might just succeed! Sure, the evil Ms. Alba has more robot watchdogs, but none are as smart—or as faithful—as their Daisy. Plus, if things get too dangerous, Tara could always upgrade their pet. With her mechanical skills, she could make Daisy bigger, stronger, and a lot more intimidating!

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"Engaging, suspenseful, and with nearly all the vivid fighting confined to robots, this gritty tale is perfect for a younger audience than most post-apocalyptic stories." —Kirkus Reviews

"This compelling drama with cool tech themes and bad guys getting their comeuppance is a winner." —SLJ

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