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

Publisher: Scholastic
Date: 1st edition: October 2009
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 978-0545107082

Format: Paperback, 228 pages
Description: (from Goodreads)

New to town, Bea 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?

First line: Goebbels materialized on the back patio, right before we moved to Balitmore, and started chewing through the wicker love seat.

The first thing I'm going to say about this book is something very important so you should pay attention. Are you paying attention? If you are looking for a book that goes like this: 

Boy meets girl. They hate each other. They kiss & fall in love. They fight. They share a great big moment of awww and live happily ever after. The End.
Then this isn't the book for you. Seriously. BUT if you are sick of all that stuff or don't care or want to read a well-written book with great characters and stands out in the crowd--then look no further. ROBOT is for you. 

Bea has just moved to a new place and she meets Ghost Boy, real name Jonah. (The people in his life call him that because he's pale and you never really notice him.) Bea notices him--or he notices her--and unlikely friendship is formed, bonded on being an outcast and a late night talk radio show. The whole story is their journey through the school year. The movement of their friendship from unlikely friends to lunches and dates (with other people). They deal with lies and truths and secrets and less-than-perfect families. They deal with pain and heartbreak, loss, fear and love. And don't forget the late night talk show. When it's thrown into the mix, things always get interesting.

I love many things about this book. I love the way their stories are so different, yet the same. Both have been kept in the dark about a major event. Both have “crazy” parents. Both are given nicknames they don’t like but end up defining them. (Ghost Boy and Robot Girl, if you wondered.) Both enjoy art. Both want something more than they have right now. These are the things that make them friends. That, and they are both so very lonely.

I love the way their friendship develops. It's full of emotions and laughter and inside jokes. It's a discovery that they go on together to figure out who they are individually. Life wasn't meant to walk alone--and until they meet each other, Jonah and Bea were doing exactly that. I love they find something they were missing in each other—and it wasn’t romantic. Everything is romantic, like people sometimes forget that teens can have best friends that are boy/girl and it doesn’t end in kissing.

This is an a-typical YA novel. There’s quirky talk show characters (whom I adore). The parents are around, even if they make big mistakes. The love is deep and real and platonic and you see it happen. Everyone grows together: parents, friends, crazy talk show character, Jonah, Bea. It’s all in different ways but it’s there. It’s lovely. As soon as I finished ROBOT I had to sit there. It was so amazing, and my heart was breaking. It was good kind of heartbreak, mixed with a bad kind. And when it was over, I wondered what was happening next but I was content with not knowing. I think that’s a really
great thing—the not knowing.

I have this new theory that I just developed yesterday (it’s still in development*). I’m calling it the Hororux-Reading Hypothesis Metaphor (or the HRHM.) The HRHM basically is this: Voldemort has horcruxes, items which he’s chosen to store a piece of his soul, and they keep him alive. Books are like a horcrux*. Really. We read a book that speaks to us (which is definitely not every book we read) and then it becomes part of us. It steals a little piece of our soul and whenever we open the book again, we’re alive. Whatever we were looking for is found in that book. HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT is one of my horcruxes; it will always have a piece of my soul.

*I realize this is not a foolproof hypothesis/metaphor, but all break down at some point. Just go with it.
 **Of course, there are other factors to this, like murder, which we luckily do not and should not participate in. Yay us! Maybe Voldy should’ve read.


  1. I love you theory on books as horcruxes. Not only do they live within the reader forever, but they are a little piece of the author as well. I enjoy many books, but there are only a handful become my horcrux. As it probably should be.

  2. May I rewrite my review to say "Just go here. Danielle's review is 10,000x better!"

    Perfection, love! And the HRHM? You just put what we all feel, into words. Amazing. How To Say Goodbye is one of mine, too! :)

  3. Thanks Kari! It was a shot in the dark and my bff didn't like it at first so I'm glad it worked!!! Feel free to use it. :)

    And Courtney, of course you can. haahh. :)


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