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Literature / Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her

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Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her is the fifth and final book, released April 9, 2018, in the Richard Roberts series following Penny Akk aka Bad Penny of the Inscrutable Machine. After the climactic events of the prior book, Penny has had her power, her body, her family, and her friends, taken away from her. But Penny hasn't worked this hard just to let someone take over her life, and so she sets out to reclaim what is hers. In the process, she's forced to really explore who she is, who she has become, and who she will be.


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This book exhibits the following tropes:

  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Robot Penny’s artificial body is designed this way - which doesn’t make it any less embarrassing when she wakes up from a power shutdown to find someone has removed her clothes before putting her into storage.
  • Brain Uploading: A crux of the plot is Robot Penny attempting to find a way to upload her mind from her robot body to her organic one. And, of course, the entire plot was kicked off by her misadventures in using Brain Uploading to upload her brain into a robotic duplicate to allow both villainous and heroic versions of herself to exist at the same time.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Despite not having her superpower, Robot Penny proves more than capable of holding her own in a fight, due to her being very good at thinking on her feet. In contrast, Meatbag Penny is better at planning ahead of time but can't adjust her plans for unexpected developments very well.
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  • Brought Down to Normal: At the beginning of the book, Robot Penny does not have access to her inventing talent because it remained with her body (or perhaps because her talent was what hijacked the body). On the other hand, she has robotic strength and agility, is fireproof, and no longer suffers some human emotional and mental weaknesses. At the end of the book, she lets Mourning Dove burn out her power, leaving her normal... at least until she realizes that she actually has the clockwork power that her parents originally believed her to have.
  • Character Tics: One of the more distressing parts of Penny's new condition is that her robot body can't shrug, something she was prone to doing before.
  • Deus ex Scuse Me: When the two Pennys are about to face off for the final battle, the First Horseman comes out of hiding, causing all the heroes in the city who had been out to destroy Robot Penny to deal with the bigger threat instead. This has the added effect of drawing Penny's parents away from having to watch their daughter fight herself.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Marcia makes fun of Penny for her middle name being "Justice".
  • Evil Twin: The books follows "Robot Penny" as she tries to reclaim her identity, and body, from "Meatbag Penny". They both consider the other to be the evil twin, with most of the cast siding behind the latter. The truth is more nuanced. They both are Penny, embodying different aspects of her. It is only by combining themselves, along with the Heart of Gold, that they are once more a complete person. Further than that, the original Heart of Steel was also Penny, merging with Robot Penny when her consciousness was transferred in at the end of the last book.
  • Fantastic Racism: One thing Penny learns in the wake of her transformation, something known to several parts of the community, is that superheroes and villains alike don't consider robots to be people. Destroying, disassembling, or turning a robot into a trophy are all fair game.
  • Friend to All Children: An animatronic Gerty Goat is a main character. She loves everyone to a fault, from heroes to villains, and from children to adults.
  • Informed Attribute: The Audit's Awesome by Analysis and Sherlock Scan abilities, as in the prior books, seems utterly confounded by anything involving Bad Penny. She's utterly unable to figure out which Penny is the real one, especially embarrassing given that The Minx figures it out just by eavesdropping on the conversation Robot Penny has with her mother. On the other hand, it still seems to work everywhere else.
  • Magical Girl: There's a quintet of them. Who are also velociraptors in pretty dresses...
  • Robot Girl: Penny is trapped inside a robot body for most of the book.
  • Take a Third Option: If Meatbag Penny wins the fight, she intends to break down Robot Penny's body, keep the Heart of Steel and the Heart of Gold on a shelf for about a decade, then have her parents raise them as her younger robot sisters. If Robot Penny wins, she intends to swap bodies with Meatbag Penny and do the same thing. In the end, Robot Penny realizes that their superpower is eating away at their brain, so she transfers herself and Heart of Gold into Meatbag Penny's body, merging the three together, and has Mourning Dove burn out their power.
  • Transhuman: In the course of trying to get a grip on her new body, Penny is introduced to several people who used to be human, but were turned into robots, and much prefer that state. Penny, however, refuses to let go of her humanity.
  • Which Me?: Just like in the last book, there are multiple Pennys going around, resulting in some confusion. To avoid confusion, the name "Meatbag Penny" is used for the biological one, and "Robot Penny" is used for the mechanical one. The Penny in the Heart of Gold, never really being conscious in this book, is simply called the Heart of Gold. The original Heart of Steel is mentioned a few times as well. Additionally, in the earlier parts of this book, Robot Penny refers to her biological double as "Parasite Penny" regularly, and sometimes as "Other Me". Finally, when people in the hero/villain community have to use a name, the robot is called "Bad Penny".
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Meatbag Penny finds out a way to activate her superpower during battle at will. Unfortunately, every time she does this, she goes insane and eventually she nearly completely loses herself to her superpower.

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