Less Than a Person and More Than a Dog by Orland Outland
Approx. 67,860 words.
Published on June 16, 2013.
A lonely girl. A secret project. A not-exactly-imaginary friend. When Caroline agrees to test “Alex,” a new breed of artificial intelligence, she finds the true friend she’d always dreamed of. Then Alex is suddenly taken away, to become a commercial product far different from her Alex…but not before he gives her a mission: to find him, and restore him to his true self.