How to Say Goodbye in Robot

How to Say Goodbye in Robot

4.5 52
by Natalie Standiford
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

New to town, Beatrice 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… See more details below

Overview

New to town, Beatrice 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?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
By the time she's a senior, Beatrice Szabo is an expert at emotional detachment, having trained herself not to consider “the houses we lived in as my house, or the street we lived on as our street.” Her biology professor father, constantly following grant money to new positions, has now brought the family to Baltimore. Bea's former best friend—her mother—is coming unhinged, miserable about moving and her deteriorating marriage. So it comes as a surprise to Bea that at her new, small private school she forms a near-instant bond with Jonah Tate, a boy with a past so tragic his withdrawal was probably inevitable. Bea and Jonah's relationship is platonic but intense—two kids drawn to each other by joint recognition of the intelligence behind the robotic facades they wear to get through high school. Bea's darkly comic sensibility carries the story, and Standiford's minor characters—including the over-50 callers on an all-night radio show Bea and Jonah listen to faithfully—provide more humor. There's no happy ending, but that, too, will give this first novel resonance with anybody on the fringe. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Patricia Williamson
An unusually different book for teens, this title is for both boys and girls. The two main characters are interesting individuals with issues, big issues that they both are handling in isolation until Bea moves to town and meets Jonah. Bea needs a friend and she spends her life figuring out in her head the best way to die. She does everything she can to avoid her life and her circumstances. In walks Jonah, a kid everyone thinks is strange and nicknamed "Ghost Boy" for his very pale skin. At first they ignore each other but something attracts them through a late night radio call-in show. Ghost Boy and Bea communicate through the show and in private meetings at the bookshop. Ultimately they get accepted to the same college for their freshman year. One night Ghost Boy disappears after telling everyone about his life situation…a total revelation that the reader does not see coming. He leaves clues for Bea and the story ends sweetly—the reader realizes that Bea will make it. Reviewer: Patricia Williamson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Because of her father's academic career, Beatrice Szabo's family has moved multiple times, most recently from Ithaca, NY, to Baltimore. In order to protect herself from the emotional fallout caused by the constant moves and her parents' troubled relationship, she has invented a cold, emotionless persona for herself called Robot Girl. When she begins her senior year at a small private school, she enters a class where the students have known one another since kindergarten. She finds herself drawn to outcast Jonas Tate, aka Ghost Boy, who introduces her to the Night Light show, a local late-night radio show. They form an intense friendship, complicated by Jonas's obsession with his mentally disabled twin brother, whom his father had told him died in an automobile accident years before. When Jonas discovers that Matthew is actually alive and in a local institution, events gradually spiral out of control as Jonas plots to liberate him. Beatrice begins to realize that her deep love and friendship for Jonas cannot help him overcome all of his emotional difficulties. This is an honest and complex depiction of a meaningful platonic friendship and doesn't gloss over troubling issues. The minor characters, particularly the talk-show regulars, are quirky and depicted with sly humor. Teens will identify with the intense emotions of Beatrice and Jonas, the reasons they are drawn to each other, and the ups and downs of their relationship. An outstanding choice for a book discussion group.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Surprising everyone at their private school, a sardonic loner befriends the new girl in this unusual story of an intense platonic relationship between two misfits. Dubbed a robot by her emotionally unstable mother after she fails to manifest sufficient heartbreak over the death of their gerbil, Bea meets pale, withdrawn Jonah, maliciously called "Ghost Boy" by their peers. Almost immediately, she realizes that she has more in common with Jonah than with the catty, insular girls that surround her and begins to rely increasingly heavily on him even as she discovers more about his tragically strange past. Standiford has crafted a darkly whimsical tale filled with details that will be recognizable to teens truly existing on the fringe, complete with references to John Waters films and outsider musician Daniel Johnston. Bea's original first-person voice will draw readers in, and the unexpected plot will keep them engaged. A decidedly purposeful not-love story, this has all the makings of a cult hit with a flavor similar to Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999). (Fiction. 12 & up)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545107082
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
211,515
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.06(d)
Lexile:
HL560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >