Ever wanted to replace a sibling with a better, more polite robot version? That is exactly the hook fro David J. Nalman's The Finest Lies. I found both the idea and the execution enjoyable. It is clear that David had fun developing the story, which arose from a creative writing prompt his own children did.
At the time of this posting, it is actually free with Kindle's program.
Here is the "blurb:"
High schooler Nicole Hallett has just about had it with her brother Jay, so when a mysterious man appears with an offer to replace him with a better one, she doesn’t hesitate. Nicole has always been impulsive, but this time, she finds herself in predicament far worse than anything she’s experienced. Just like that, an average snow day—usually filled with hot cocoa and snowball fights—is commandeered by the stranger, who forces the siblings into a dangerous game.
Confronted by past reflections, tested by present complications, and threatened by future possibilities, Nicole has until the end of the day to disentangle the riddle of her life.
This suspenseful, yet winsome novel by award-winning author David J. Naiman explores the power of family and forgiveness. But take heed. The truth can cut like shards of glass, especially for those who’d rather avoid it. Sometimes, only the finest lies will do.
And here is my review (also posted on the Zon and goodreads). It is a fun, easy read that reminded me a bit of Freaky Friday with the deadline to fix everything ( Goodreads )
The story opens with the great line (for any of us with kids at least) “If her mom hadn’t already left for work, she would have called Nicole dramatic—and said it dramatically, bathing in that classic parental brew of irony and hypocrisy.” With such a personality, it is only natural Nicole would call the number on her TV promising a brand new brother, an upgrade from the one she was so annoyed with. From there we encounter various swaps, though the desire for a ham sandwich to be thrown into the bargaining falls flat. Turns out, whoever is producing robot versions of kids doesn’t have many ham sandwiches. The story reads at a fast pace with enough similarity and differences between the characters and their robot selves to keep you engaged. That said, my favorite character is probably the dad who may not always know what is going on but is willing to make snowballs at any time.
The story came to the author out of his own kid’s creative writing. The afterward was a nice personal touch to the overall story which is a fun read.