Your Robot Dog Will Die

Arin Greenwood's Your Robot Dog Will Die uses the near-extinction of humankind's best friend, dogs, to show how one person's utopia can be another's dystopia.

"About twenty-five years ago, some scientists... thought making a couple of little tweaks to [dog] DNA would make... dogs and their progeny even more useful than they were." But the experiments backfired, creating "a laboratory full of dogs who really hated humans." Somehow, "the changed DNA spread... from the unlucky lab dogs to all dogs," un-domesticating them. The dogs became aggressive, and humans decided to euthanize them all. All, that is, but the six Organics who live in the "Ruffuge" on Florida's (pun-loving) Dog Island. The Dog Island sanctuary is a commune for people dedicated to giving all animals a pain-free existence. The vegan inhabitants also act as test owners for Mechanical Tail, a company working to replace all Organic dogs with robot dogs.

Seventeen-year-old Nano Miller has always lived on Dog Island. Last year, her older brother, Billy, left the island and she hasn't heard from him since. This loss has opened Nano's eyes, making her wonder why her brother would leave a place that is doing such important work. When Nano finds a puppy--an impossible, happy, tail-wagging, seemingly domesticated puppy--in the Ruffuge, she begins to wonder if everything she's been told about Dog Island and how to keep Organic animals safe is true.

Greenwood (Save the Enemy), an animal writer and former lawyer, forces readers to ask themselves difficult questions with Your Robot Dog Will Die. It's an intense read, sure to leave an impression, and readers will likely have difficulty getting Dog Island--and its "May Dog be with you" salutation--out of their heads. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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