When Sarah's parents buy her an android, a Troofriend 560 Marj IV, she's not really happy about it. She'd rather have a dog, and she makes this clear to her parents. Needless to say, the original meeting between Sarah and her new "friend", whom she names Ivy after the Roman Numerals "IV" on her arm, isn't very positive. Sarah thinks it's weird and a little annoying to have something like Ivy in the house.
Then Sarah realises that her school is having a "Bring Your Tech to School" day. It's the perfect chance for her to show off Ivy to the popular girls, the inner circle she hopes to join. Maybe having an android friend won't be too bad after all.
Meanwhile, Sarah and her parents are acutely aware of the persistent news stories about this model of android. Protesters have camped outside of the manufacturing plant, demanding that the androids be set free due to the theory that they have developed human feelings. Then other stories emerge, stories about the androids getting out of control, even hurting humans around them. There's also the buffering, Ivy has started to stutter, whirr and experience a strange feeling in her chest. She sends error reports to company, but they become more and more frequent as she spends time with Sarah. As the protests gather strength and the pressure from her concerned parents grows, Sarah must come to terms with what it truly means to be a friend.
Trooffriend is a really amazing novel that touches upon several important issues like friendship, bullying and the ethics surrounding AI. We exist in a time when AI will be integrated into society one way or another and Troofriend captures the hope, anxiety and fear around this topic for ages 9+ in a truly seamless matter. I really loved this novel, fans of Slick my M.M. Vaughan will want to have this in their hands asap!