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How To Say Goodbye In Robot Paperback – December 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
It's not what I'd call a plot-driven book... the story is about a girl, Bea, who's family has just moved for the millionth time. It's her senior year of high school and Bea is definitely a bit on the unconventional side; for fun, she and her mother put on costumes and pose like characters from old movies and then photograph themselves.
At the new school, Bea meets Jonah, known to his classmates as Ghost Boy in part because of his pale hair, flour-white skin, and eyes that are "gray as pond ice." As the story progresses, Bea gets to know Jonah, Jonah gets to know Bea, and they share a number of slightly surreal adventures together.
Part of what makes this book so good is that it avoids all the easy cliches that one so often encounters in this genre. Neither Bea nor Jonah are popular kids, but we aren't subjected to scenes of high school humiliations; it's their senior year of high school and everyone has sort of outgrown that kind of cruelty. Also, author Natalie Standiford manages to maintain a fine balance between the bleak and the fun.
Here's a brief excerpt to give you a sense of the writing:
I turned a corner and came to a small church. There was a head-stone near the path leading to the church's wooden doors. I stepped closer to read the headstone. It said FOR THE UNICORN CHILD.
That is so cool, I thought. What a funky town this was. I imagined a neighborhood Legend of the Unicorn Child, about a one-horned little boy who'd died tragically, hit by a car or shot by a mugger or maybe poisoned by lawn pesticides.Read more ›
there's really not much plot there. Girl moves to new city. Girl's parents are having trouble. Girl meets boy - ROMANCE DOES NOT DEVELOP.
OK, maybe that's different. Usually, these teen books involve that aspect of the relationship. The main character is Bea, AKA Robot Girl, who's just moved with her family to Baltimore. The other main character is Jonah, the 'Ghost Boy.'
The girl and boy become very close friends. In a strange way, it reminds me of the relationship between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen in Lost in Translation, but these are teenagers, not adults.
This book is heavily character driven. Most of the characters are very well developed, even the minor characters. We get to see depth in the other kids in school, parents, even the circle of friends that develop around a late-night radio talk show.
There is a tragedy, parents separate, butmanage to get back together. An important character dies. The Bea/Jonah relationship is tested.
I am not sure how to classify the ending. Persoanlly, I think it ended well. The 2 main characters never 'hook up,' as young people like to say. There are some references to sex and both of the main characters (HS Seniors - minors) drink alcohol (quite often). There is a reference to an extramarital affair. A major character runs away from home.
I think the book is positive. It shows that young people can have important, emotionally significant and meaningful relationships with members of the opposite sex that do not involve romance or sex.
The story How to Say Goodbye in Robot is painfully realistic at some points, but that just makes it hauntingly beautiful. I loved the old-timer radio show that Bea and Jonah listen to - it made me want to turn on the AM radio and find my own quirky insomniacs to help guide me through tough times.
There was something about Bea that I found easy to relate to. Before she found that late night radio show, Bea fantasized about death - not suicide - just the comfort and relaxation of being separate from life. I may not have been quite as instense as Bea, but I've often wondered about death as I lay awake an night too. Bea struggles with showing her emotions; she is afraid to grow attached to people and places because she often has to pack up and move as soon as she makes connections. I undestood Bea's confusion and her ability to accept the fact that, maybe, she is a robot: cold, unfeeling, and hard.
I loved Jonah. He was one of those characters that will draw a reader in like a moth to flame. He is so perfectly broken - I can see why Bea would be drawn to him in her own broken state.
How to Say Goodbye in Robot is not a love story, but it is terribly romantic. Jonah and Bea have so much chemistry and truly love one another, flaws and all. I found the sappy teenager in me yearning for them to be together as a couple. But Jonah and Bea are never a couple - they are so much more. To me, this novel emphasizes how important connections other than the physical are - and how those ties can run so much deeper.
I simply cannot write a review that will do this novel justice! It is one of my absolute favorites that I'll have on my go-to list for recommendations. How to Say Goodbye in Robot is a must read for 2009!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love it, been wanting a hard copy for two years now and I finally have it. The end makes me cry but it's a wonderful book over all!Published 5 months ago by Marcia Lashley
What a sad, depressing, even obscene book. I don't know why Scholastic--of all entities--published this, or even how they got away with publishing this. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mace Windex
This was one of the most original books that I have read, ones specifically written for young adults. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Icelandic wanderer
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Natalie Standiford’s realistic young adult novel “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” centers around Beatrice Szabo, who just moved to Baltimore, MD and has... Read more
The book "How to Say Goodbye in Robot" was a highly odd book. Beatrice seems to be very confused about her new friend Jonah, who the whole school calls Ghost Boy. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Viola Sims
How To Say Goodbye In Robot is not a perfect novel. There are slow bits, awkward transitions, and other problems just as most books have. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jessica Lasman
I just love this book. it's hard to explain why. it's incredibly well written, and sad in a bittersweet way. it's true to life and it makes you think. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Lindiwe Mayinja
How to Say Goodbye in Robot is adorable, different, and cracked my heart. It didn't quite break it, but it would have if the ending had gone in the direction I feared it would. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Angie