Before I turn over the site to AUTONOMOUS author, Andy Marino, I have to give you all a little bit of my opinion on this book. First, I don’t typically read YA books but, considering we’re a little backed up with some amazing titles, I took one for the team and *I* actually read this one! Of course, I was pulled in by a few things that made it appealing to me to do so… the Breakfast Club angle, the social media invasion angle, and a wicked cool self-driving car who reminded me of Kitt from Knight Rider but a VERY jacked up version. I was not disappointed at all and read half of it in one sitting.
I thought the characters were well-developed, the storyline pulled you in from the very beginning, and everything was a believable indicator or where our lives are going as we continue to reveal more and more of ourselves to the data-eating machines we know as social media.
Now a little bit about Andy:
Andy Marino was born and raised in upstate New York, and currently lives in New York City with his wife and two cats. He’s also the author of Unison Spark, Uncrashable Dakota, and The Door. You can visit him at andy-marino.com or on Twitter @Andy_Marino.
Could you please put together a playlist for your book, AUTONOMOUS?
In AUTONOMOUS, the driverless car’s artificial intelligence uses the digital history of its passengers—social media posts, blogs, and some things they’d rather keep hidden—to get to know them. While taking the four main characters on an epic road trip, the car responds to emotional moments by playing songs—some of which become running jokes throughout the book. This playlist includes some of the songs that actually pop up in the story, along with a few more that I think Otto—the driverless car—would like.
William, It Was Really Nothing – The Smiths
One of the main characters is named William, and this song is actually an inside joke in his family that the car picks up on. It also happens to be one of my favorite Smiths songs—it’s two minutes long and basically all chorus, with that spiky-sweet guitar part ringing out underneath.
Story of My Life – One Direction
This song becomes a running joke on the road trip, as Otto keeps playing it for some reason nobody can figure out. One of the passengers, Christina, has a particular aversion to it. Personally, I think it’s a pretty solid 1D song, and it also sounds like it could be in an overly emotional automobile ad, like where a father gives the keys to his daughter for the first time or something.
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
Otto tries to soundtrack a super emotional moment with this one. Everybody agrees it’s a little too on-the-nose. Nice try, Otto.
Dark Horse – Katy Perry
This one’s blasting when they’re getting chased down the highway (although I don’t think it’s referred to by name—it’s just what I had in mind during the scene). One of the passengers, Melissa, has a fairly extensive Katy Perry road trip playlist, which is a source of severe annoyance for Christina. Those two characters represent two sides of my own music-listening pretty well—mainstream pop music and weird, proggy metal.
I Saw the End – Pallbearer
This is the kind of stuff Christina is into, which drives Melissa crazy. Sludgy and distinctly melancholy played at just the right tempo for withdrawing into yourself.
Cars – Gary Numan
Otto spends the entire book trying to develop a more sophisticated sense of humor, with mixed results. He would probably get a kick out of songs about cars, which makes sense—we like songs about people.
Just What I Needed – The Cars
Okay, Otto, we get it.
One Headlight – The Wallflowers
This one’s tragic, if you’re a car. What happened to the other headlight?
AUTONOMOUS by Andy Marino (Freeform | On Sale: April 3, 2018) Combines social media stakes with jaw-dropping, high-tech action for a road trip saga like no other. The Fast and the Furious meets Stephen King’s Christine in this YA novel about a group of friends and a cutting-edge driverless car (OTTO) that taps into their online profiles, unlocking deep secrets that put the entire group in danger.
Every kilobyte of this group’s digital history is used to entertain (or threaten) them. AUTONOMOUS speaks to the dangers of too much information on social media, and the hype over driverless cars now entering the marketplace.