Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford


Tags: YA, friendship, quirky, love, family secrets

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Summary

High school senior Beatric Szabo has never really been normal. Her family has moved around so often that she’s never had actual friends, and her own mother often calls her a “Robot Girl.” Then, in Baltimore, she strikes up an odd friendship with Jonah Tate, a quiet, friendless guy in her class who has the unfortunate nickname of “Ghost Boy.” Bea and Jonah strike up an intense friendship, to everyone’s shock. Bea learns about learns about Jonah’s past, and certain events that made him who he is today, but even she cannot comprehend him sometimes, or predict what he had been planning to do for a long time…

Review

This first standalone book by the author of the Dating Game series is odd, but definitely heart-wrenching. With a cast of unusual and quirky characters, it’ll bring out the subconscious desire in all of us to explore all of our eccentricities.

Bea is a wonderful narrator, caught in between troubles at home, the cookie-cutter Barbie girls at school who try to draw her into their folds, and Jonah. She considers herself inhuman, lacking in human emotions—that’s why she calls herself “Robot Girl”—and yet we’re able to empathize with her and still root for her. Jonah may seem like your average high school misfit, the one no one wants to talk to because he’s that antisocial, but somehow we still care about him and want to help him be happier. Standiford creates characters that are flawed but still sympathetic, which never ceases to be an incredible accomplishment.

However, I had some difficulty believing in Bea and Jonah’s relationship. It seemed to me to start really quickly and suddenly transform into an inexplicably intense and life-transforming friendship. Pray, where was the development of the relationship? Why are Bea’s feelings for Jonah so strong when he constantly treats her cruelly? I liked Bea and Jonah at separate characters, but I was never able to figure out how they were supposed to work as a platonic “couple.”

Nevertheless, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT is a read that will stay with you because of its defiance of conventions in YA lit. It’s not your typical romance, it doesn’t have your usual kinds of characters, and it certainly does not have an ideal ending. And yet it all works. HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT will leave you with your heart clenched and fists pressed against your eyes to prevent the tears from coming out. It is truly original and poignant in all its weirdness.

Similar Authors
E. Lockhart
Jaclyn Moriarty (The Year of Secret Assignments)
Laura Ruby (Good Girls)

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - All that pink doesn't really appeal to me, but I saw a finished copy, with a much more muted, matte pink, and it doesn't look that bad! It'll attract the attention of girls, for sure, but I'm afraid a small portion of its ideal audience will miss it for the excessive girliness.

Scholastic / Oct. 1, 2009 / Hardcover / $17.99

Thank you, Scholastic, for sending me a copy for review!

33 comments:

  1. I am now more than curious to find out more about this book! The title is great, and I am glad you found it quirky :)

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  2. I'm definitely looking forward to this one. Nice review!

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  3. Agree with you on the cover. That pink was what made me decide against pre-ordering it earlier this week. It's shallow, but it's true. And great review! I might actually have to get my hands on this book now...

    booksatmidnight@gmail.com

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  4. I love the title for this one. In fact, it's why I wanted to read the book in the first place. xD

    I HATE unbelievable relationships, oh my gosh. Now you make me worry for when I finally get around to reading this one.

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  5. Sucks to hear that the relationship isn't believable but I like the fact that it doesn't have an ideal ending.

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  6. Wow it really is heart-wrenching? Then I've got to go read this book!! :) Thanks for your review!

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  7. I got this today and it sounds brilliant! Glad you liked it :)

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  8. I agree, I thought that Bea and Jonah were better apart or just as friends. Their relationship was just too intense too quickly!

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  9. This was a really good book, and while the relationship between Bea and Jonah was a little weird, it's still a really good read.

    The cover looks so much better in person, it's just so overwhelmingly pink online!

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  10. I didn't realize this was the same author as the Dating Game series! I read the first 3 or so of those and remember liking them.

    Although, I don't really like relationships that develop out of nowhere. I think I might pass on this one for now.

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  11. I think one of the biggest weaknesses in YA fiction is the development (or lack thereof) of relationships. I often finish a book feeling a little unsatisfied with this aspect, but I'm glad you still managed to enjoy this one. The premise definitely sounds interesting. Thanks for the review!

    Natalie @ Mindful Musings

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  12. Thanks for the review. I've seen this one around, but another book keeps popping up that I want to read more.

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  13. This book sounds really interesting. I like the pink cover!

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  14. This is a book that's up at the top of my wish list and has been there for awhile now. I really like not only the cover but the whole idea of the story.

    Thanks again for another great review.

    -Lisa

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  15. I didn't realize this book wasn't about an actual robot. I just wanted to read it because of all that pink that doesn't appeal to you. :-)
    The "robot" sounds interesting. . .

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  16. Im very curious towards this book. Its very interesting.

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  17. I'm not good with "poignant"; half the time I find myself not 'feeling' the book the way I'm supposed too. But this one sounds non-cliched.

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  18. I've seen this book around but haven't had the chance to read it yet.

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  19. I just bought a copy of this and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail. I don't care for the cover too much or the title. I'm hoping the writing let's me see past that.

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  20. This is the first I have seen of this book, it certainly looks interesting! Thanks for the review!

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  21. I've seen this linked before, but what really makes me interested is the girl-boy friendship aspect. there are too many romances out there and I really want to try out something that's not so lust-driven. thank you for the review though, I'll consider it fair warning for the suppressed skeptic in me XD;

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  22. Looks quirky but cute, I think I would like it. :) Thanks for the wonderful review!

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  23. Seems like a good read based on your review I'd like to find out what is so weird about it. It definitely sounds like a mysterious book that leaves you with questions.

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  24. Great review, seems like a good book!

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  25. Great review! I love quirky books. I can't wait to read this.

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  26. It's my first time hearing about this novel but I'm intrigued now. Definitely going in my tbr pile. :)

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  27. I wasn't sure if I would be interested in this story but it sounds very interesting. It's always nice when an author can make you truly care about the characters. I'll be looking for this now!

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Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!

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