When I first heard about Mila 2.0
, I was really excited - the blurb made it sound like a book with a lot of potential.
The blurb did not lie. Mila 2.0
did indeed have a lot of potential. Unfortunately the book did not quite deliver, not the way I'd hoped, and most of that potential was left unfulfilled. This doesn't mean it was a bad
book - I think many of the target group will find it great, adrenaline-filled fun! - but it could have been so much better.
I have to admit I really struggled with the first part. Mila, our protagonist, was not by any means a particularly dreadful "typical" teenage girl, but she was... well, a teenage girl, and the first part of the novel was very much focused on teenage girl daily life - school troubles, brand name dropping (oh dear, the brand name dropping and the descriptions of clothes), crushing on a cute boy pretty much at first sight...
And this brings me to one of the things I really disliked - both about this book and a trend in girl-protagonist YA fiction these days in general: there are very rarely any other girls, apart from the protagonist, who are in any way allowed to be cool, decent human beings. Nope - we have our awesome protagonist, and then we have the mean, bitchy girls who only care about parties and clothes and boys and can't wait to stab other girls in the back. (Oh, and if there are any other girls, they're the mousy, pointless, useless wallpaper, just barely existing.) Unfortunately this was one of the many, many
tropes and clichés in this book.
Things did get more interesting once the actual plot turned up in part two, and while I found the plot itself really rather ridiculous (really? if you were in charge of a military project to make a super-high-tech human-looking android for military intelligence purposes, would you really make it look, act and behave a 16-year-old girl? okay, yes, I get that no one would suspect a 16-year-old girl of being an android superspy or whatever the MILA project's purpose was, but in how many circumstances can a 16-year-old girl realistically be used for gathering that military intelligence? ), there was a lot of fast-paced action and some occasionally nice introspection from Mila to make for some reasonably exciting reading.
On the other hand, I was somewhat irritated by the inclusion of yet another trope - the dreaded love triangle. Well... I suppose it didn't quite materialise, but considering the numerous times we got to read about Lucas's gold-tipped eyelashes (while Mila appeared to have almost forgotten about her high school insta-crush Hunter), it was clearly meant to be there to make the reader wonder. The only saving grace for both the insta-crush and the budding love triangle was that both Hunter and Lucas were, if not particularly fascinating characters, then at least not unappealing.
All in all, I think this is a book that may appeal to the actual target group, i.e. teen girls who also want some action and adrenaline in their reading, but I'm not at all sure of its crossover potential to adult readers.* ARC of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley. Thanks!