Book Review: MILA 2.0

MILA 2.0, Debra D (Katherine Tegen Books, 2013, Book 1 of a trilogy, 470 pp.)

A dark-haired girl, with part of her skin drawn as blocks drifting off to the right
Book Cover

At the time of this review (3/14/2019), the book holds a 4.1-star review on Amazon with 251 reviews.

Young Adult, mystery/thriller with a sci-fi edge

Book Obtained By: Won as part of a YA basket of books donated by Editor Lydia Sharp of Entangled Publishing, at the NEORWA Cleveland Rocks Conference, Sept. 2018).

My Chocolate Rating on Scale of 5: 4 Ghirardelli Salty Caramels (just shy of perfection)

From the back cover

“Mila was living with her mother in a small Minnesota town when she discovered she was also living a lie. She was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was never supposed to remember the past—that she was built in a computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much, and a mysterious group who wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology.

Evading her enemies won’t help Mila escape the cruel reality of what she is, but what she’s becoming now is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own . . . and that just might save her life.”

Spoiler-Free Review

Get ready to cheer for Mila as she struggles to find herself after making the earth-shattering discovery that she was created in a lab. Her mom has a lot of explaining to do, but Mila’s not ready to hear much of it. She’d rather chase after the boy who’s caught her eye.

One by one, the stories she knows about herself fall under her analytical gaze. What and who can she believe, trust? That cute guy teases against everything her mom has taught her. This is YA, so with that hint of first love, I know it’ll play a role in the book. Driza sets a fast, tense pace, filled with teenagers you’ll love and hate.

You’ll disappear into Mila’s slightly off world. BFF Kaylee pops from the page with her rapid-fire talk and her boy-hungry eyes. From homeroom to wandering the halls to hanging out after school, or home with her mom-vet at the place they’re renting, Driza sets up this cool girl who doesn’t quite fit in, but who does when you’re the dreaded new girl at the school? Just wait until Driza reveals more of Mila’s background, building us to the impending tipping point in Mila’s life.

Those discoveries ratchet up the tension. Who wants her back, and what will they do to Mila, her mom, her friends, if they find her?

As Driza introduces characters, I connect with some and dislike or hate others, all for the right reasons. Driza shows me the world through Mila’s eyes, and I trust her view. When she senses a person’s off, I believe it because Driza has shown me that through the character’s actions. Some of these characters I hope to see redeemed. Others, I’m fine if they turn out as dark as they seem, and Driza has me rooting for them to get the end they deserve.

By the end of the book, Driza ties off the story lines so that this stands as a complete novel, but I know more is coming since this is a trilogy. All the books have been released, along with prequel. Towards the end Driza introduced another character and gave me clues hinting the character is NOT the fully in-control person she thinks herself to be. I’m betting she’ll be in a future book, and if so, it’ll be fun seeing where Driza takes her.

I enjoyed this strong debut (the first book the author has released). I gave it a 4 rather than a 5 because it was easier for me to put down versus the books that allow me to set aside what I’m supposed to be doing in favor of a few more chapters. Mila’s a smart girl, but there were places where I figured she should have “gotten” something before she did. Writers like to give us readers the chance to figure it out, adding the tension as we ache for the character to make the same connection. While I didn’t find the book predictable, no plot twists took me totally by surprise.

All in all, and enjoyable read. While I do want to continue her story, I have so many books on my shelves, I’ll turn to them. I do intend, someday, to either borrow the rest of the series from the library or ask for them for as birthday gifts.

About the Author

Learn more about Debra Driza at her publisher’s page.

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