Blog Tour: Renegade by Debra Driza

Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins)
Genre: young adult
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher/TLA conference
Status: Book 2 of the Mila 2.0 series

Summary: There is no one left for Mila to trust. Except for a boy she barely knows.

But Hunter has no idea who—and what—Mila really is. She can’t bear to reveal her secret, even though he’s unwittingly joined her search for Richard Grady, a man who may know more details of Mila’s complicated past.

Yet the road to the truth is more dangerous than ever. With General Holland and the Vita Obscura scouring the earth for her whereabouts, Mila must rely on her newfound android abilities to protect herself and Hunter from imminent harm. Still, embracing her identity as a machine leads her to question the state of her humanity—as well as Hunter’s real motives.

What I like best about the Mila 2.0 series is that it is a sci-fi story that had a baby with a contemporary romance. Much like how Mila is a mix of human and manmade parts, this story takes two opposing genres and mixes them beautifully. On one hand, Mila is an android, a superweapon created by the military, but on the other hand, she's a teenage girl with a crush on a cute boy and parent issues. I think it's so cool how Debra mixes these elements, creating action and intrigue but balancing it with the sweet, tender moments of a fledgling romance. By doing this, Debra is able to take a highly improbable high science concept and make it relatable by nature of making Mila a more sympathetic character. She may not have human skin and bones, but her human emotions help me to empathize with her. And, as you all know, any time a book makes me feel something, I'm 100% more likely to enjoy reading it.

I really like Mila as our protagonist because she's so relatable. She's almost too human, which I know is by design, and makes the reader root for her all the more. The entirety of Mila's conflict, both internal and external, is based on the fact that she feels like a human, but her android side–and those who consider it her only side–won't let her ignore that she isn't human. This does drag up the debate of what the term human truly means, and I think that is exactly what book three is going to explore so I won't get into it right now. I will simply state that I think the overwhelming presence of Mila's emotions will not be suppressed, and that the fact that she feels sorrow, guilt, and love so deeply make her more human than people I know in my own life.

I really enjoyed the first part of Renegade because of the way it explores Mila and Hunter's relationship. Before, they were kids with a connection. Now, they're fugitives, bound by their growing feelings and even the lies they're keeping. I chose the excerpt I did because it so clearly demonstrates the sweetness of their romance while also hinting at the dangers lurking around them and in their own minds. This is the dichotomy of the series that keeps me interested, and I LOVE the fact that it is reflected in the overarching plot, in the romance, and in the characters.

I don't want to give too much away about the plot of Renegade because there are more than a few twists and turns. Holland! Lucas! Hunter! VO! Three! Mila! All I will say is that there are only three characters I trust, and nothing–and no one–is what is appears to be. Many of your questions from Mila 2.0 and it's dramatic ending will be answered...but naturally, you'll have more because guys. CRAZY THINGS HAPPEN.

Overall, I'm really enjoying the Mila 2.0 series. It's a sophisticated sci-fi with plenty of straight-up science to interest hardcore sci-fi fans, enough action and intrigue for fans of spies-and-lies tales like The Bourne Identity and Gallagher Girls, a butt-kicking android with a heart of gold that'll make any feminist fist-pump, and a romance that'll have contemporary lovers sighing dreamily. Bring on number three!

But not, like, Three three because I think she's scary.

"Where are you going?"

My hand was on the doorknob when I heard Hunter's voice, a little roughened by the bit of rest he'd had. A part of me wanted to stay here with him, but everything was closing in on me. I needed to get out of this motel room.

"I couldn't sleep. I thought I'd take a walk, tire myself out."

"I'll go with you."

"You don't have to."

"Mila, it's late. I'm not letting you go out there by yourself."

His protectiveness touched something deep inside me. If there were any dangers out there, I was better equipped to handle them, but he didn't know that.

"Besides," he added, "you still owe me a date."

I couldn't stop myself from smiling. Our little trip to the carnival a few weeks ago had been met with continual interruptions, including horrific memories of a past I didn't know existed. As much as I wanted to be alone, I also hoped maybe this time our date would be normal.

Hunter shut the door behind us and tested to make sure it was locked. Then he stepped up beside me and threaded his fingers through mine. "Let's head down to the boardwalk."

As we walked along, a little orange dot blinked on a map before me, showing my trajectory and every street option nearby. I was thankful that my internal GPS system had finally kicked in again after conking out for a while post-escape. Not that I needed the GPS right now. Hunter was guiding me.

We reached the boardwalk. The fragrance of the salt air seemed heavier, and a cool breeze surged off the ocean, whipping my hair into periodic bursts. An almost-full moon dominated the sky, lighting patches of inky water with a sof, silvery glow.

"Thank you for coming out here with me."

Turning his head slightly, he met my gaze. "That's why I'm here."

As if summoned by his sincerity, the truth bubbled up in my throat. Right here, right now. I could end the subterfuge. I wanted to. Desperately.

"Hey, you're shivering," he said.

"Little cooler than I expected it to be out here." Another lie.

In a gesture as natural as breathing, he slipped his arm around my shoulders, brought me in against his side. I put one arm around his back.

Suddenly, everything seemed so very . . . effortless.

We continued on down the boardwalk, the planks reverberating and echoing our footsteps. I could see the stationary Ferris wheel again.

"Shame the amusement park is closed," he said.

"I don't know. Our last date at the carnival didn't turn out so good." It had been going well—up until I recalled torture inflicted at General Holland's hands.

A devious grin crawled across Hunter's face. All of a sudden, he removed his arm from around my shoulder, closed his hand tightly around mine, and started jogging down the boardwalk toward the amusement park. I was able to keep up easily, could have outraced him, but all I wanted was to stay near him.

"What are we doing?" I asked.

"Finishing our date from before."

Book Buy Links:

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About the Author:

Debra Driza is a member of the teen lit blogging groups the Bookanistas and The League of Extraordinary Writers, and a former practicing physical therapist who discovered tormenting her characters was infinitely more enjoyable. These days you can find her at home in California, adding random colors to her hair and wrangling one husband, two kids, and an assortment of Rhodesian Ridgebacks (most of them naughty).

MILA 2.0 is her first YA novel in a planned trilogy from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. It's currently in development with Shondaland production company (Grey's Anatomy) to become a TV series for ABC.

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  1. I love Debra Driza's books so much! And I love Mila so much! Thanks for the great books and amazing review!

  2. So so bloody excited for Renegade!!! Eep :) Mila 2.0 totally surprised me.

  3. Once again I am happy I read this blog review because the cover doesn't portray the correct content of book to me. I love Scifi.

  4. I love Mila 2.0 and I can't wait to read Renegade!!!