Review - House of Robots - James Patterson

House of Robots: (House of Robots 1)Title: House of Robots
Series: House of Robots #1
Author: James Patterson
Genre: Middle-Grade
Publication: November 24th 2014, Little Brown and Company
Pages: 317 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to RandomStruik for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
In this new illustrated middle-grhim himade series from James Patterson, an extraordinary robot signs up for an ordinary fifth grade class... and elementary school will never be the same!
It was never easy for Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez to fit in, so he's dreading the day when his genius mom insists he bring her newest invention to school: a walking, talking robot he calls E--for "Error". Sammy's no stranger to robots--his house is full of a colorful cast of them. But this one not only thinks it's Sammy's brother... it's actually even nerdier than Sammy. Will E be Sammy's one-way ticket to Loserville? Or will he prove to the world that it's cool to be square? It's a roller-coaster ride for Sammy to discover the amazing secret E holds that could change family forever... if all goes well on the trial run!  

I will admit, I was quite dubious when this arrived. I'd read James Patterson's "I Funny" books that were also illustrated middle-grades and they were at times slightly cheesy and not as enjoyable as I'd hoped they would be. So, naturally, I was weary. After examining the wonderful cover, I then read the blurb and I was quite intrigued. I then started reading and I was immediately swept away by this adorable, quirky story of belonging, acceptance, family and friends. I highly enjoyed this story and I think middle-graders, teenagers and adults alike will find pleasure within the pages of this novel.

House of Robots is centered around 5th grader, Sammy Hayes-Roriguez - otherwise known as Sammy, who lives in a house run mainly by robots. His mom is a PhD scientist and inventor who builds robots and has them do various jobs around the house. One day she tells Sammy that she'll be sending her latest invention to school with him as an experiment for a top secret project. Sammy is not happy about that. He and his second-best-friend (his first being his little sister Maddie) Trip are already social outcasts at school, Sammy can just imagine the flack he would get for taking an extremely life-like robot school - especially one that claims to be his brother! However, Sammy soon learns that having E (a highly-advanced Robot) around might not be such bad idea after all as E teaches him how to stand up for himself, how to always be kind as well as how to make friends. However, someone else has taken special interest in E and he is in danger of someone wanting to destroy him.

Like I said, I highly enjoyed this book! I liked the characters, I liked the premise, I likde the characters' mental growth and I liked the humor and I especially appreciated the family dynamics. I also think this book is highly relatable to middle-graders as the book deals with school bullies, struggling to fit in, trying to make friends as well as falling out with best friends. James Patterson writes middle-graders in a highly authentic manner and I can remember having thoughts similar to Sammy's when I was 8/9/10 years old.

Like I said, I really liked the characters and they were very relatable. I loved the main character, Sammy and how protective he was of his sister and how he adored his family. As I'm really close to my family, I appreciate it when strong family dynamics feature. Sammy's character really grew throughout the book and I loved that. He learns to stand up for himself (I love how he stood up for his sister when the bully taunted him. He'd take it if Cooper said things to him but once the bully crossed the line to say something about his sister, Sammy stood up to him and that was honestly so heart-warming to read about). He learns more about kindness and friendship, yet he still has trouble with some things such as jealousy and wanting to be "popular" but he has a really good heart and I think that a lot of kids will look up to him and will be able to learn from him. He's a real character that experiences real feelings and real problems that many children will feel and I think they will like to be able to relate to that. So Kudos to James Patterson for creating such an authentic character!

I also really liked E, also known as Egghead, the incredibly life-like robot that Sammy's mom created. He was kind, compassionate (she built him to have feelings), funny and extremely clever. It was an interesting process watching E interact with humans and try to speak like them and be like them. There were quite a few moments that had me chuckling and quite a few moments that made my heart squeeze with love for the robot, as he's an extremely admirable character and also one who people can learn a lot from.

I loved Sammy's parents. His little sister Maddie was also adorable. She suffers from SCID, an autoimmune disease that makes little infections highly dangerous to her, so she has to live in a sterile environment and that's actually why her mom made the robots - so that the house was completely clean all the time. I admired Maddie's positivity and bravery despite her not being able to go to school or outside like other kids her age. I loved how everyone in their family tried to help her and how they always had her best interests at heart. Like I said, the family dynamics were strong and I loved that.

I love the premise of this story. I find robots to be quite a fascinating thing and I can just imagine how fun it would be to have robots living in your house and how interesting it would be! There was a mystery element at one point with the black SUV and the disappearance of a certain character and I was hoping that it would be a twist, but I was quite disappointed that *spoiler*it was just the school bully who controlled the disappearance of E and not the black SUV, as that's what I was expecting*spoiler* - but that's really the only thing I didn't love about this book.

I really enjoyed House of Robots and I'd highly recommend it to children age 7 and up. The illustrations are gorgeous and they make the story even more interesting to read. The characters are delightful and the situations they get caught up in are quite hilarious at times. I appreciated the strong friendship and family dynamics and how the characters tried to be good people. This book was a pleasure to read and I highly look forward to the next book in the series.

I give it: 4/5 Cupcakes!