Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Publisher: Scholastic
Release: October 1, 2009
Source: Library 
New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?
Within 30 seconds of reading How to Say Goodbye in Robot, I was struck by the voice in which this story is told and realized I was in for a remarkable book. Witty, offbeat, and one of the most memorable characters of all time, Bea is the perfect narrator for this story. Her thoughts, sometimes deep and insightful, sometimes light and hilarious, make How to Say Goodbye in Robot much more thought-provoking than originally expected. Perhaps because she is so out of the ordinary, I had a hard time connecting to her, but I didn't mind at all. I preferred to read this book as someone from the outside looking in, because it allowed me to appreciate every little detail that much more.

Even though I couldn't relate to Bea personally, Standiford does a great job of portraying the characters' relationships with each other. Bea and Jonah have the deepest, most unique connection, which is fascinating to watch develop. Although I thought they became friends a little too fast and wish that I could have seen them grow closer a bit more gradually, the two of them have gone down in my mind as one of the best YA literature duos ever. The book isn't just about Bea and Jonah though; the family aspect is really played up. Bea's unraveling mother and distant father will resonate with all readers, and Jonah's family issues are intense, real, and emotional.

This book is more emotion-and-relationship driven than plot-driven, which is just how it should be. If you read How to Say Goodbye in Robot, be prepared to find yourself in tears one minute and laughter the next. More than anything, be prepared to reevaluate every person around you, what you mean to them and what they meant you.

Quirky, witty, and surprisingly powerful, How to Say Goodbye in Robot is a one in a million kind of book.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review. I hadn't heard of this one, but I'm adding it to my tbr list right now.


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