The Obsoletes is a thought-provoking coming-of-age novel about two human-like teen robots navigating high school, basketball, and potentially life-threatening consequences if their true origins are discovered by the inhabitants of their intolerant 1980s Michigan hometown.
Fraternal twin brothers Darryl and Kanga are just like any other teenagers trying to make it through high school. They have to deal with peer pressure, awkwardness, and family drama. But there’s one closely guarded secret that sets them apart: they are robots. So long as they keep their heads down, their robophobic neighbors won’t discover the truth about them and they just might make it through to graduation.
But when Kanga becomes the star of the basketball team, there’s more at stake than typical sibling rivalry. Darryl—the worrywart of the pair—now has to work a million times harder to keep them both out of the spotlight. Though they look, sound, and act perfectly human, if anyone in their small, depressed Michigan town were to find out what they truly are, they’d likely be disassembled by an angry mob in the middle of their school gym.
Heartwarming and thrilling, Simeon Mills’s charming debut novel is a funny, poignant look at brotherhood, xenophobia, and the limits of one’s programming.
Simeon Mills is a graphic artist, writer, and teacher. He majored in architecture at Columbia University and received his MFA in fiction from the University of Montana. Simeon now teaches middle school English in Spokane, Washington, where he lives with his wife and two children. Visit SimeonMills.com.
"Fantastic . . . Mills creates a world where what it means to be a teenager is deliciously complicated. . . . this intelligent comedy will captivate readers."
– Publishers Weekly (starred)
“The Obsoletes is inventive, moving, and funny. A perfectly weird and weirdly perfect novel.”
– Jess Walter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins
“Curious, sweet, heartbreaking, and redemptive, The Obsoletes is a thought-provoking reminder that growing up wouldn't be any easier with a manual. These are the droids you're rooting for.”
– Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Phasma
"This weird, poignant novel will resonate with anyone. [. . .] Raw and unforgettable."
– Sam J. Miller, award-winning author of The Art of Starving
"What a debut! At turns endearing, funny, and imaginative, while always well written and always with weight. I predict great things for this book and the man who wrote it. A reminder that some stories feel good to read, even while addressing the big stuff. I love it."
– Josh Malerman, New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box
“Alternating between antic comedy, freak-out horror, and existential angst, The Obsoletes does the seemingly impossible: it makes the joys and terrors of adolescence seem fresh and new.”
– J. Robert Lennon, author of Broken River and See You in Paradise
“Crisp, laugh-aloud hilarious, and deeply thought-provoking, The Obsoletes is a clear, smart lens for our corner of history.”