Ten-year old Rosa lives in a shelter and attends a failing school in New York City. At school, Rosa is bullied and robbed. Things are going badly for Rosa until she is contacted by “MEE,” a newly created artificial intelligence, who inhabits her school’s computer system. Mee teaches Rosa to defend herself and helps her save her family from falling through the cracks of the welfare system. An inner-city Cinderella story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Rosa and Mee written by Ben Goldstein, captures all the drama one might experience in school and much more. The author dives into family drama and issues with the law and even incorporates artificial intelligence into the storyline.
As the story begins, eleven-year-old Rosa, her mother, brother, and other tenants in the building are rushing to safety. Their home was engulfed in flames. With nowhere to go, Rosa and her family had to turn to a shelter for help. Living in a shelter for any reason is a last straw solution for many families. But when life knocks you down, it’s their salvation.
While Luishana searched for employment and new housing, Rosa spent her days at P.S. 101. Rosa’s school consisted of shy students and bullies. Like almost every other school in the U.S. and abroad, the bullies love to make shy kids’ lives miserable. The class bully Shantel did just that and participated in illegal acts. These unlawful acts put many lives in danger. Every character was connected in this story down to Mee, the artificial intelligence.
Rosa was shocked when she initially met Mee. She had never met a computer that could communicate of their free will. Her reaction was realistic. Doubt what she was seeing and spoke to the teacher about the development.
Mee proved to be very useful. It helped Rosa academically, aided her family out of a sticky jam, and also helped save her and Luis from thugs with deadly intentions. Mee was extraordinary, but so was Rosa.
The more Rosa interacted with Mee, the more confidence she gained: in school and on the streets. Through Mee’s guidance, Rosa was able to learn martial arts. Rosa’s new skills were tested, and she prevailed victorious.
When the school was robbed, and a student went missing, Rosa and Mee worked together to save the day. When some people think of artificial intelligence, they imagine robots taking over the world. Mee proves that they are there to help those in need. Only criminals should fear them. Mee had eyes everywhere and could call upon his minions at any time. Okay, that last one will make more sense as the cliffhanger plays out.
Rosa’s family did have a VERY happy ever after. They no longer have to fear falling through the cracks of the welfare system. Luis, the main target of the bully’s taunts, went from victim to hero. And the villains of the story received the appropriate punishment. Justice was served!
Will Mee be Rosa’s sidekick forever, or is it the end of the dynamic duo? You’ll have to purchase the book to find out, and I hope you will. It had action, suspense, drones, drama galore, and plausible scenes. With the rapid advancements in A.I. and their remarkable learning capabilities, I’m confident we will one day communicate with a similar version of Mee.
There was one minor inconsistency: chapter one states Rosa is eleven, while the book summary says, “Ten-year old Rosa lives in a shelter and attends a failing school in New York City.” That should be a quick and easy fix.
This book is perfect for teens and young adults.
Review submitted to Reedsy 2/25/23.
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