The book: I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen
The music: Black Violin
Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations. Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power. Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?
This YA book is a good look at what makes us human – is it our ability to think, or is it feeling, or is it something more? When creating emotion through music, what are the limits and who sets them? Are there limits?
Those are questions Black Violin tries to answer. Made up of two classically trained violinists, they “meld highbrow and pop culture, ‘Brandenburg’ and ‘breakdown,’ into a single genre-busting act.” They tour tirelessly, bringing music to schools and venues across America with the message that you can be whatever you want, regardless of where you live or what color your skin is, as long as you can dream it.