Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review: How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

How To Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication date: October 2009
ISBN: 9780545107082
Source: Library

How To Say Goodbye In Robot

Beatrice's family just moved to a new town and she's hoping to make new friends, even if her mother thinks she is a robot without feelings.  She begins an unlikely friendship with an odd boy from school, Jonah, often called ghost boy by his classmates.  They form an unusual friendship, bonding over a late night radio show.  When Beatrice learns more about Jonah's family, she begins to understand his gloomy look on life and his desire to fade away.  Will her friendship be enough to keep Jonah around or will he disappear from her life forever?

Things I Liked:
This was definitely not your typical YA book.  I think I felt pretty torn about this one - loving it one minute and disliking it the next.  The characters are totally interesting - I love Bea and Jonah and how they interact, their emotions and relationships felt very real.  I thought their quirks and oddities were fun.  I laughed through lots of the book, even as I nearly cried over some parts of their relationship.  This is definitely not like anything I've ever really read.  I thought it was refreshing, however, to have a book about people who don't really fit in and who don't really want to fit in.  They're weird and they admit it and that's ok with them.  The story itself is also pretty heartbreaking.  You wanted to step in and try to save the characters, but it was impossible.  Unique, intriguing, different, quirky, odd, bitter-sweet.  All words to describe this book.

Things I Didn't Like:
Bea was kind of an idiot at times, particularly with her mother.  I can see that it was part of her character to be oblivious, but it bothered me.  Also, where are the parents who might be concerned when their daughter goes away for a few days with a strange guy?  Or who comes home drunk or does drugs?  Seriously, the complete unconcern of nearly every adult figure in the book annoyed me to no end.  I know that teenagers do all those things, but are parents really that blind or do they really not care? 

The only thing I could think of was Going Bovine by Libba Bray, because it is totally wacky too

s-factor: !@#$

mrg-factor: X
mostly implied or off stage

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *** or ****

Have you read this?  What did you think?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. While I loved _Robot_, oddly, the part of it that worked the least well for me was the actual Robot part of it. I couldn't really believe that Bea or her mother would, for a minute, believe that she was an emotionless freak. She never across that way to me, so why would she come across that way to herself or to her mother?

    Regarding her parents, I suspect the idea was that they were too involved in their own problems to deal with Bea's problems too. Realistic? I dunno. My kids aren't teenagers yet. :) But that's my hunch.

    Those are quibbles, though, in a book that has very much that is right with it. I'd give it all four stars, because you're right: it's not your typical YA book. It's much better than that.

  2. I haven't read it, but I have been very curious about it. So many people have raved. Thanks for the review.

  3. Jason, that's very true. You can see that she expresses and feels emotions, but I guess it is just different from how her mother expected it to be. I hope I can be a bit more involved in the parenting than they were :)

    Sharon, I'd be interested to hear what you think of it!


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