The Different Girl is one of those books that sounds kinda cool in theory, but in practice, mostly it’s just boring. Short version? Don’t bother. Long(er) version? See below.
The Different Girl is short, barely 200 pages. It takes place entirely on a small island, location unkonwn, but presumably in the Caribbean somewhere, in the distant future. The protagonist is a young girl who lives with her three ‘sisters’ and a man and a woman who ‘take care’ of them. I use the quotation marks because it’s pretty obvious right away that the four girls aren’t really girls, and the man and woman aren’t really their caretakers so much as people assigned to study and protect them as the expensive and revolutionary technology they are. They’re identical androids, their only distinguishing characteristics being different colored hair. In isolation on the island, the man and woman are teaching them how to think and act and process the world around them. (You’ll notice I’m not using names, and that’s because I can’t remember them.)
Their lives are interrupted when a girl washes ashore from a shipwreck. She’s the different girl of the title, and her presence on the island causes upheaval in the girls’ lives both physically and mentally.This sounded like a really intriguing premise to me, but in execution, like I said above, I just found it really boring. The main character in theory is interesting as she learns to become more herself (not necessarily more human), but in actuality, she’s dull as fuck. You also have to work really hard to read between the lines because she’s such an unreliable narrator, and that wouldn’t be a problem by itself, but the rest of the story is so unengaging that reading between the lines becomes a chore instead of something rewarding.
Surprising and weird fact? This book is supposedly YA, but I don’t think any young person in their right mind would actually enjoy it. And even you’re not young, and your brain is fully developed, and it enjoys philosophical meanderings, I still wouldn’t recommend this book. Go read I, Robot or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or The Mad Scientist’s Daughter instead.