Pixels of You

Abrams/Amulet. Feb. 2022. 176p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781419752810; pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781419749575.
Gr 7 Up–A moody, meditative vignette of a relationship taking root. Indira and Fawn are both aspiring artists on the grind at a hip urban art gallery. They’re also rivals, in part because Fawn is a humanoid robot, and Indira feels haunted by the rise of artificial intelligence. One of Indira’s eyes is robotic, replaced after a tragic accident that killed her parents. Her automated eye, coupled with the circumstances of her loss, causes her ongoing distress—and she’s suspicious of Fawn. Fawn has problems, too; she faces insidious anti-robot discrimination and sometimes struggles to connect with her parents, who are robots but don’t present as humans as she does. As Fawn and Indira are forced to work together, their assumptions about each other begin to break down, and they start to care about each other and learn from their differences. But the book isn’t as didactic as it may sound—the robot/human relationship serves as a reflection on managing cultural alienation, and the girls’ chemistry is well developed, building to a surprising, sweet conclusion. Hirsh and Ota’s story is a combination of broad narrative strokes and intimate moments, and Doyle’s manga-inspired, deliciously purple and pink illustrations float with ease through a near-future New York. Indira is South Asian American, and Fawn inhabits a white body.
VERDICT Though aimed at young adults, this one will resonate with some adult readers, too. Light but thoughtful sci-fi for fans and skeptics alike.

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