Published by Scholastic on October 2009
Genres: Contemporary YA
Beatrice moves to a new town in her senior year and ends up sitting next to Jonah, the outcast whose classmates have named him Ghost Boy, in Assembly. There’s all sorts of rumors about him and it’s a known fact that he has no friends — he’s just kind of invisible. Something about him intrigues Beatrice and she finds herself in this unexpected friendship with Jonah — a friendship that consists of late night radio shows, secret missions and more. She learns what happened in Jonah’s past and she so desperately wants to help him as she deals with her own messy and complicated family issues.
How To Say Goodbye in Robot is definitely going on my “WTF! Why is this not more popular?” shelf. I REALLY loved it. I read a lot of contemporary YA but this is one of those that completely breaks you out of the mold of the typical stories — it just had an entirely different feeling. It didn’t feel like anything I’d ever really read before or characters I’d ever met! It’s offbeat and quirky and, man, my heart at the end. WOW. I totally did cry at a part at the end. I think that the quirkiness of the characters might not be everyone’s thing but it was DEFINITELY mine.
I always kind of love books about two misfit kind of characters finding each other — find love, some sort of solace but especially finding friendship and that is exactly where How To Say Goodbye In Robot excels. It’s a wonderful book about friendship that just made my heart soar. They’ve both got their own familial issues that they are struggling with and they both don’t really fit in and they just come together for this strange and wonderful friendship that I enjoyed watched develop even if my heart completely broke at the end. The love that they had for each other makes me tear up just thinking about it but I appreciate that this wasn’t a romantic sort of story between them.
This was one of those books that just had a whole host of excellent characters — even the ones I didn’t LIKE and wanted to hate were just real and vivid and integral to the story. I loved the character who called in to the radio show that Jonah and Beatrice listened to every night. They made me laugh and broke my heart and GOD I LOVED THEM. Jonah’s dad, Beatrice’s parents, and some of the classmates made me SO angry but I thought they were all so believable and I had my own sort of sympathy for some of them in ways.
I loved the writing in How To Say Goodbye In Robot and think Natalie Standiford is incredibly talented. It’s subtle, powerful, sparse yet lush and everything was just so perfectly paced in the story. Where she nails it is in the emotional details. I felt a light through it as I watched their friendship grow but I also felt so much sadness that so subtly nestled itself into my chest…only for the end to completely wreck me but also leave me feeling hopeful in ways that are hard to describe.
God, I loved this book. If you are looking for something in the contemporary YA realm that feels DIFFERENT — add this to your TBR. It’s hard to explain the specialness of this book but once you read it from start to finish you’ll find out. I loved this story of friendship and it emotionally kicked the shit out of my heart by the end. It’s quirky and offbeat (maybe not everyone’s thing but so mine) and there’s a whole cast of vibrant characters within the pages of How To Say Goodbye in Robot. TRULY an underrated book for sure!
contemporary YA that’s a bit quirky and unique, stories about friendship, flawed characters, vivid characters you’ve never met before, books that subtly break your heart along the way (for different reasons) and then completely hit you in the FEELS at the end.
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you feel similarly or differently than me? I didn’t see that ending coming actually…did you? My poor heart!