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You know what, growing up is hard, especially when you’re dealing with friendship troubles and family issues. But it’s just as hard when you’re an android. ‘Slick’ is a novel that doesn’t shy away from the issues that affect modern day kids, and tells a satisfying tale of friendship and mystery.

M.M. Vaughan tells this story from two interchanging viewpoints; Danny, the socially uncomfortable kid who isn’t the shining definition of ‘popular’. And Eric, who lives something of a well-off life, with his parent’s hosting fundraisers, and regular gifts of shoes from an uncle. Together the pair of them are very contrasting, however, circumstance brings them together and a friendship based on computer games and the need to unravel the mystery surrounding Eric is formed.

In the beginning of Slick, Danny lets the reader know that Eric is a model of android that is being tested in society. With this knowledge, the remainder of the book allows the reader to pick hints and draw connection with the benefit of hindsight that usually wouldn’t be available in a mystery story. Perfect for a younger reader.

As you can expect, the writing style changes per chapter depending on which of the two boys is narrating. Both viewpoints are very enjoyable and make for seamless reading. Eric behaves and thinks in the ways you would expect of an optimistic and slightly clueless android; he’s often compiling bullet points of data, drawing up probabilities and recording statistics. It all makes for a lovable and charming character.

Similarly, Danny also operates with a likable charm and has a manner prone to overthinking situations and sometimes letting a bit of insecurity cloud his thoughts. It makes for pleasant reading when they can both help each other out. Seeing into their heads is amusing and really lets you get to know them.

I appreciate the fact that this story deals with real life issues, neither of the boys have it perfect – despite Danny initially being envious of Eric. Danny has to deal with a deadbeat dad, and his family don’t have a whole lot of money. His overbearing mother also accounts for a lot of his social awkwardness. Eric, on the other hand, is living a lie – and is constantly lied to, his “parents” aren’t often there with him either, and he realises a lot of these things. The way the boys handle and react to their situations is maturely handled.

Slick is a rewarding read, and provides a good story with satisfying friendships. A teenager or even a younger reader would enjoy this book with the storyline very relevant to that age, incorporating many suitable elements of our current, technological age.

Author M.M. Vaughan
Publisher Alma Books
ISBN 978-1846884597
Distributor Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Released July 2019