Book Review: Willful Machines by Tim Floreen

Willful Machines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Point of View: First Person (Lee)
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQ, Science Fiction


In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public.

Charlotte’s attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets.

But when the attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he’s Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too.

As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive … and what makes life worth living.


“This stranger who could do handstands and quote Shakespeare from memory, this goof with the huge grin and inappropriately loud but nevertheless charming laugh: how like an angel, how like a god.”

One of the goals as a writer is to hook you on the first page, even more on the first paragraph. Rare is the writer who captivates you since the first sentence. Willful Machines had my attention since then and then my need to read it cemented two pages later, from an enticing phrase.

Willful Machines kept me on the edge of my seat until it’s last word and even then it left me hanging. If that’s not a continuation cliffhanger then I’m going to have some serious words with the author and publisher. Despite that abrupt, but opened ending, this book was full of intrigue and hope and love.

“Adversity can either destroy you or make you stronger.”

This book has everything I want in modern day YA and we need more LGBTQ+ YA books for teens to read diversity and for teens to relate and enjoy. This book despite being science fiction, had so many topics I loved how related it was regardless of the machines and robots. Even the president’s speech is from words in the constitution (fun fact).

One word to entice you to read it: gay robots, guys!

The way Floreen set out this world kinda makes me want to have some pucks. I completely loved each of Lee’s machines, well…..before. Especially Rapunzel who might have helped from my two story house, might have been why I never snuck out. But Gremlin has my heart, I need a little one to tug my ear every now and then.

I don’t want to spoil anything, because I really think this book is amazing and it definitely took my out of reality when I needed it the most. Nico and Lee were adorable together and I definitely want to see what happens after the ending of Willful Machines, like I need it.

Willful Machines is a book full of intrigue, willful machines, romance, betrayal, heartbreak, and hope.

PS. Still don’t like Stroud and Lee’s father. Need to make my decision of Dr. Singh

I can’t recommend it enough, and I’m glad I got to read this when I did, so I hope it takes someone out of reality and makes their day a little brighter.

“To be or not to be.”

*Advance Reader’s Copy Provided by Publisher*

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