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Willful Machines

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,030 ratings  ·  396 reviews
The closeted son of an ultra-conservative president must keep a budding romance secret from his father while protecting himself from a sentient computer program that’s terrorizing the United States—and has zeroed in on him as its next target—in this “socially conscious sci-fi thriller to shelve between The Terminator and Romeo and Juliet” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published October 20th 2015)
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Tim Hey, thanks for the question! WILLFUL MACHINES is a complete story, but there's definitely more to say about Lee and Nico. My next book, which comes o…moreHey, thanks for the question! WILLFUL MACHINES is a complete story, but there's definitely more to say about Lee and Nico. My next book, which comes out from Simon Pulse in 2016, will not be a sequel to WILLFUL MACHINES, but I do look forward to getting back to these characters and this world in the future.(less)
theStorykeeper Are you referring to Charlotte? I would argue that as an AI, she can be considered neither female nor evil.

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Wendy Darling
Thoughtful scifi thriller + sparky boy/boy romance! One of those boys is nerdy, nervous, and makes fantastic little robots. The other one is daring, good-humored, and quotes Shakespeare. (view spoiler)

Probably a bit more at some point when it's not 3 am, but don't leave this off your list this year. It's terrific. THERE HAD BETTER BE A SEQUEL
C.G. Drews
Well, HI, I'm a wilful bucket of torn emotions. Because on one hand this book was freaking ADORABLE and the characters were complex and marvellous perfection. But that ending???? THAT ENDING??? Apparently this is a standalone and that is the most "I Need A Sequel" ending I've ever received omggggg.

BUT I LOVED THE BEGINNING SO MUCH SO I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO HERE. Maybe just cry. Give a vague pterodactyl screech too, perhaps. (Okay it wasn't THAT bad. But I wanted closure!! Ahh!!)


Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Wasn't sure what to expect going in. Ended up really enjoying it.

Lee Fisher is a pretty typical nerdy teen. But his life is not an easy one. First, he's enrolled in an elite boarding school full of the future leaders of the world. His father is the current, ultra-conservative President of the United States of America and is currently fighting a war against a terrorist AI.named Charlotte. To make matters worse, Lee is gay. As you can imagine, he's in the closet, deep-deep in the closet. But when

Shaun Hutchinson
This is one hell of a great book. It's exactly the kind of book I wanted as a teen, and even though I'm not a teenager anymore, I still loved it. The relationship between Lee and Nico feels real and sweet—the power of first love is on full display in this book—but it never overpowers the awesome sci-fi story. There's just so much to love about this book, and Tim Floreen has done an amazing job.

I can't wait for everyone to read it.
Brigid ✩
Willful Machines is a near-future dystopia, in which an artificial intelligence called Charlotte is terrorizing America. Lee, the closeted gay son of the US president, is more worried about other things––like covering up his relationship with a new boy at school named Nico. But Lee soon finds out that he and Nico may both be pawns in Charlotte's sinister plans.

What I liked:

• Honestly, what really drew me to the book was that it has a gay main character (and a central gay romance). Lately I've b
KL (Cat)
(after reading)

A solid 5 stars from me! A more detailed review up tomorrow, but let me quickly point out some of my observations.

1. Lee is gay, which is lovely as we need more LGBT protagonists in the YA genre.

2. The writing superbly evokes an unsettling atmosphere.

3. Okay basically I want to hug Lee for the rest of my life and tell him everything will be okay while feeding him good food and buying all the mechanical parts that exist in the world.

4. Same goes for Nico, my poor baby, but he
Grace Galinski
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone and Everyone.
Wow. Just wow. I can't even begin to express how much I enjoyed this book. Once I started it, I never wanted to put it down. It's just one plot twist after another, and it was amazing. There was definitely some major foreshadowing, which really kept me wanting to read more. One of the biggest plot twists though, I kind of saw coming after putting some things together. (If you decide to read this book, keep in mind the temperature of Nico's body, and you'll end up putting two and two together and ...more
Gemma ♕ antari.and.the.books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Well, this is frustrating. I love the concept and story of this book. Robots-with-feelings is seriously one of my favorite tropes of all time. And honestly, brace yourselves fellow goodreaders, I genuinely don't have a problem with insta-love. When it's written well, that is. If a writer is able to make you believe that two people have fallen deeply, desperately, life-alteringly in love in a very short amount of time or even instantaneously, then they've done their job as a storyteller. The
Elle (ellexamines)
DNF at page 55. This book is not that amazing, first of all, but probably more important is the fact that the main character has made at least ten stereotyped, racist comments about his Chilean love interest. And he's not called out for it, either. I want to pick this back up sometime to see if he ever is, because the premise of this book is really good, but honestly, who knows. ...more
Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a free DRC

I've never been good at waiting to review a book, especially one I'm excited for. So, once I was approved for this, you bet your ass I read it. I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into when I started, in fact the only thing I really knew about it was that it was a sci-fi LGBT novel. That in its self is grounds for excitement, but after reading Willful Machines in its entirety, I should have been eons more excited, as should everyone who intends
Wow. Just. Wow. This. Book.
I think I got something in my eye as I read that ending.
It is better for the world if there will be a sequel.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing



Ok let's start this. Many people may be wondering; "Kate, you hate YA, why the heck did u like this book so much?" Basically, besides being YA and having characters a bit too young for me to relate to anymore, and a couple stereotypical YA tropes, this novel tic
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019
Didn't like this anywhere near as much as Tattoo Atlas. Felt a bit too 'YA' for me. Not that there is anything really wrong with that. But I just don't seem to gel with YA anymore. I prefer my books to have a lot of grit and misery. Tim Floreen does write really well though. And if you want some queer sci-fi YA then he is your man! ...more
Jessica Folded Between the Pages of Books
Everything about this book was just okay. The characters weren't awful, but they were forgettable. The world building was almost believable, but just not that interesting. There was nothing horrible or offensive about this book, but there was just nothing really good either. Honestly, this book was so meh that I really can't think of anything else negative or positive to write about it. :/ ...more
Arch Bala
It’s very difficult to write a review about this book. There are many things that I could say about it – mostly positive and maybe some philosophical shit but I’ll try to incorporate the notes I’ve written while reading it. First thing you need to know – this is one fucking lovely book! I don’t find the premise too original but I find it very unique. Huh? I know right? It is unique because the author decided to use LGBT young adult characters and that is what I loved most about it. The author co ...more
| Sarah
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars This needs another book!

So, first, two things:

It has a lot of philosophical things that make you think about the line between human and machine. (Though machines are far from being advanced as the one depicted in the book, they may be one day.)

All of the characters are really likeable and have great back stories including the 'villians'.

Overall, a very good book. It had a lot of action but good character development and plot. Again, it needs another book!
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Willful Machines builds and showcases a fascinating world filled with technology, robots, and sabotage. A world being terrorized by an artificial human who escaped her creators. Throw in two adorable boys and well….you get my full attention. :D

When Lee Fisher, our blushing, brainy robotics wiz, meets Nico, the new boy at school, all kinds of sparks and trouble shake loose. You see Lee is the U.S. President’s son and apparent target of Charlotte, the A.I. threat. When Lee is attacked, questions a

i liked the idea of this book because i am a sucker for AI and robots stuff and I go pretty much crazy when it's evil AI and robots stuff. It also featured a cute gay couple (where one teenager is closeted WHY ARE THERE CLOSETS IN THE FUTURE) bur I couldn't enjoy it because it was insta-romance and it ruined everything for me D: I liked the characters though (even despite cringy quoting of Shakespeare) but I wasn't into this stuff at all.

The mystery is OK here, plot tw
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'’[…] My question is this: How are human beings any different? My dad’s always talking about how 2Bs don’t have true free will, like humans do. But aren’t our choices determined by our programming too? Our genes and our environment and all? Aren’t we basically just robots ourselves?’’ – Lee Fisher (p. 216)

Lee Fisher ist der Sohn des Präsidenten der Vereinigten Staaten der Zukunft – und ein totaler Versager. An der Inverness Prep High Scho
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, where do I start with this review? I LOVED Willful Machines. Everything about this book is phenomenal, from the writing to the characters to the story that was perfectly paced and ready for you to highlight and tab. It's SO quotable.

Usually when I saw a grin that big on people, it made me want to shake them and ask them what there was to be so damn happy about. But not with Nico. His grin just made my knees feel squishy.

This book makes me knees feel squishy. ANYWAYS. Willful Machines stars L
Lukas Anthony
A good step in LGBT fiction

LGBT fiction has seen a bit of resurgence lately, especially in genre circles. While contemporary used to hold a lot of sway, I find that more and more genre defined books are being aimed at an LGBT audience, especially within the YA community.

Take this book for instance, ‘Willfull Machines’ is a sci-fi novel about robots, government conspiracies and a sort of a future dystopia. It does this however with a gay character in the lead, which maybe helps make the book be a
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was exceptional! Full review to come.

**Thank you so much to SimonPulse for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!**

I was extremely eager to begin reading Willful Machines, as I've been spending a lot of my time reading contemporary this year. It was therefore a very refreshing read for me! The story follows Lee, who is son of the President of the United States in the future. In this future, the world has kind of gone backwards a bit. Girls and women have lost some righ
Mónica BQ
4.5 rounded up

I live for books like this one.

Willful Machines is the coming-of-age story of Lee, told in a futuristic/sci-fi world. But it's about a lot more too. The book basically asks the question of "what makes us human?". While we are told the story of how Lee- the President's son- is slowly falling in love with the new kid-Nico- we also get the story of how his dad became President- a conservative, right wing, anti-AI life, President. And all throughout the book you get incredibly thoughtf
This was very cute, and a really interesting spin on a "coming out" story. Sci-fi is not generally my thing but this worked for me just fine, and I definitely plan to pick up Tattoo Atlas. ...more
Really liked this and really hoping for a sequel!
Hannah M.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My overall rating is 4.9 stars

The only reason it isn't a full 5 stars is because it took a little while for me to get into the book, I didn't really start getting into it until chapter 6. But after that, it was amazing.

I was totally hooked to the storyline, and the characters were incredible too. Honestly, there were tons of plot twists, and I didn't see any of them coming. Especially the end.

The end. THE END!! I couldn't even comprehend it. I literally read the last 40 pages during ELA, and I
This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved...


I have very mixed feelings about Willful Machines . On the one hand, there were parts that I loved and that I think were really, really strong; and on the other... there were parts that I definitely did not love. Unfortunately, the parts I loved were in the beginning, and the rest were at the end, so ultimately... I'm left feeling rather disappointed.

Most of my positive feelings stem from th
I'm also reading Illuminae right now, so comparing the two books regarding their different ideas of what will happen if an Artificial Intelligence gains sentience and comes to life was really interesting. The final take of me from these two books is this: AI = War.

Anyway, I kind of like this book. It was short and didn't draw it out where it didn't need to. The pacing was perfect. However, the plot was predictable in parts. I saw a lot of things coming from miles off, but some parts caught me b
Halley Hopson
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
3.75 stars.

I was rather bored for the first half of this; it mostly felt like a YA contemporary romance for awhile but once the sci-fi elements became more pronounced and the big reveal happened, the plot took off like a bullet. I loved the robotic aspects to this story and though Lee got on my nerves a couple of times with bouts of his teenage l I'm-right-you're-wrong attitude, I really enjoyed his character for the most part.

I loved the small focus on Shakespeare and the quotes of his which t
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***Tim loves hearing from readers but doesn't spend much time on Goodreads. If you'd like to message him, visit his website:***

Tim's debut novel, Willful Machines, is out now from Simon Pulse. His follow-up, Tattoo Atlas, will be released on October 18, 2016.

One of Tim's earliest memories involves sitting in front of the television and staring in awe at a raven-haired, star-spa

Articles featuring this book

If you like books about queer kids falling in love and having adventures, you're in for quite the treat this month. June brings a great...
48 likes · 38 comments
“The first guy asks the second guy, 'Do you believe in free will?' The second guy answers, 'I have no choice.” 4 likes
“I don’t think I chose to be gay, if that’s what you mean. In fact, I didn’t choose a lot of things. Like being the son of the president. Or coming to Inverness. Or even being in the closet, really. All in all, I’d say I have about as much free will as an espresso maker.” 3 likes
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