Accompanying her exo-archaeologist parents on an EsKay dig, seven-year-old Tia becomes afflicted with a strange neural disorder that leaves her totally dependent on a mechanical life support system.
Unlike McCaffrey's fantasy works, this story is based on believable technology. It's a good adventure in our familiar universe. The characters are warm, complex, & interesting - some people I liked instantly, and other people who grew on me during the story.
This was an easy weekend read, and left me feeling good.
She is tormented both by her inability to touch anyone, since she grew up in a loving family (not selected at birth like the other Brains) and the need to find the source of the virus that got her. Acquiring an unorthodox "brawn", off she goes on her career as a courier, with an unannounced agenda of her own.
The book is episodic, but leads to a very nice conclusion that my wife predicted but I didn't. Oh, yes, the "bear" is Theodore Edward Bear, a childhood keepsake who is the center of a charming but strange "marriage" ritual.
If you read only one BB book, make it this one.