School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Gabe and Dover, both 15, have been friends for as long as they both can remember. Outgoing and boisterous Dover encourages more nerdy and shy Gabe to break out of his shell. One of the ways to do this, Dover argues, is for Gabe to defy his inventor father by breaking into his private lab while his parents are on vacation. The boys are unprepared when they discover Mr. Messner's latest project, the lifelike automaton T.R.I.N.A. After activating her by accident, the boys race to put her back before Gabe's father gets home. What ensues is a wild journey involving a trip to New York City, two National Security agents, and one Dr. Phil. While at times incredibly corny, this novel may prove to be the type of book that works best in luring reluctant adolescent males into the world of reading. The idea of two love-starved boys finding the perfect "woman" is hardly original, but the twisty, action-packed climax is sure to thrill readers searching for a dynamic story. While the boys resort to high fives much too often, the narrative is paced well enough that readers can forgive some of the teens' juvenile antics.—Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library
Children's Literature - Paula Rohrlick
Gabe, a computer whiz, and his perpetually horny best friend, Dover, long to be popular and attract girls; but as born nerds, the fourteen-year-olds seem doomed to be picked on when they are not being ignored. That all changes when Gabe's bullying, inventor father leaves town and the boys sneak into his secret lab. There, to their delight, they find and manage to activate a beautiful, voluptuous robot named T.R.I.N.A. (Truelife Robot Intelligence New Assailant)and she is not wearing any underwear. They end up at a high school drinking party with her, but Trina takes off to fulfill her own deadly mission, and the boys follow to try to find her, fearful of the consequences if they do not return her to Gabe's father's lab. Meanwhile, government agents are after Trina, too. There is a fair bit of action here, but also an excess of crude, sexist jokes and stereotypical characters. The cartoonish plot, the caricatures in place of developed characters, and the outdated attitudes make this novel a lot less funny and appealing than it clearly wants to be. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
VOYA - Rebecca Moore
"Don't go in the lab." That is rule one, according to fifteen-year-old Gabe's autocratic father, a scientist who regularly makes Gabe feel worthless (as if the bullies tossing him into dumpsters were doing an insufficient job). So when Gabe's mother drags his father off on a Dr. Phil-inspired retreat, Gabe's best friend, Dover, decides Gabe needs to man up and break the rule. When they do, they discover Trina, a super-realistic, sex-bomb of a robot, with no underpants (they check). Gabe manages to partially reprogram her to be attracted them, but when powered up, Trina takes off on an unknown mission. What follows is a madcap adventure involving wild parties, ruthless pursuers, pink lace lingerie, an assassination attemptand maybe a little truth for everyone involved. Gratuitous sexual crudity, female objectification, and fanservice may make this book a hard sell to parents and librarians, but boys who think like the hyper-horny Dover will eat it up. What they will get, in addition to a sexpot killer robot (with no underpants), is actually a creditable exploration of ethics, relationships, and growing up. Gabe and Dover ring as true as their arguments, and Gabe is particularly appealing; the brilliant, kind, loyal kid who needs to stand up to his father and notice that the fantasy-loving girl next door is a perfect match. On the down side, it is unfortunate that the summary on the jacket gives away a key plot point, spoiling suspense. Try with older, reluctant-reader boys. Reviewer: Rebecca Moore
VOYA - Tappan Srivastava
The Robot has a mix of action and adventure, with some humor, thrown into each scene. Yet, the story too soon slows to a crawl. The jokes become repetitive, and the plotline picks up the pace only at the climax. Though an interesting book, the dragging plotline keeps it from reaching its full potential. Due to underage drinking and other mature scenes, this book is best suited to thirteen-year-olds and older. Reviewer: Tappan Srivastava, Teen Reviewer
A wildly improbable male teen fantasy of a super-sexy robot and the two geeks who discover it only to realize too late that they are messing with top-secret government property.
Gabe and Dover establish their nerd bona fides to readers early on when they are dumped into actual garbage. The plot kicks in when they sneak into Gabe's genius father's lab and discover T.R.I.N.A., a gorgeous, biologically realistic "female" robot they are sure will raise their status out of the Dumpster.The two manage to activate Trina after first checking for underwear. There is none. The sophomoric humor is endlessly fueled by a crassly juvenile sexual focus that supposedly matches typical adolescent fantasies. Gabe finds himself thinking of Trina as a romantic partner and grows offended by Dover's single-minded obsession with sex as they first lose and then furiously chase their robot to a high-school drinking party and ultimately into a clash with top-secret agents. None of this is particularly funny, realistic or clever. However, that shouldn't keep its target audience from enjoying this fast-paced, mindless adventure.A subplot in which Gabe suffers from his father's intimidating and browbeating parenting style is similarly unsatisfying.
Equally demeaning to geeks, women and teenboys, the appeal to the lowest common denominatoris safely assured.(Adventure. 11-15)