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How to Say Goodbye in Robot

How to Say Goodbye in Robot

4.5 51
by Natalie Standiford

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From bestselling author Natalie Standiford, an amazing, touching story of two friends navigating the dark waters of their senior year.

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


From bestselling author Natalie Standiford, an amazing, touching story of two friends navigating the dark waters of their senior year.

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)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.06(d)
HL560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Natalie Standiford does not speak fluent Robot, but she knows Maryland like the back of her hand, having grown up there and coming from a long line of Marylanders. How to Say Goodbye in Robot is her first novel for Scholastic Press. She lives in New York City.

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How to Say Goodbye in Robot 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a cryer. I am never a sobber. At the end of this book, i was balling my eyes out. I cryed when i read casper on the radio show. I felt so bad for jonah and bea. It was a wonderful book. It reminds me of the song "the one that got away." If you want heart and to feel the characters life, read this book!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for something a little different for your next reading experience, pick up a copy of HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT by Natalie Standiford. Bea is used to moving around. Her father, a college professor, is always on the lookout for new challenges, so they have moved from one college town to another over the years. This move is a bit more unsettling since it's Bea's senior year, and for some unknown reason, her mother is acting strange. After basically deciding to just coast through this final year of high school and just bide her time until she can head off to college on her own, Bea is pleasantly surprised when she actually makes a few friends. One of the most interesting people is someone everyone calls Ghost Boy. His name is Jonah, but since elementary school his quiet manner and pale complexion have made him the target of ridicule. A friendship begins to develop between Bea and Jonah when he leaves her a note suggesting that she tune in to a late night radio talk show called Night Lights. As Bea listens to the odd characters who call in every night, she imagines Jonah in his darkened room listening, too. They find they have more and more in common and both feel comfortable when they are together. As they grow closer, Jonah confides in Bea and tells her about his twin brother, killed years before in a car accident along with their mother. He is convinced that Matthew is really still alive and asks Bea's help in the search to find him. There are many unique twists and turns to keep readers interested. Both Bea and Jonah have parent issues. Bea's mother's behavior is increasingly bizarre, which both annoys and worries Bea. Jonah has lived with his unemotional father all these years, but now emotions are running on high as Jonah questions the truth about his long-lost twin. Scattered throughout the narrative are glimpses into the Night Lights radio program in the form of dialogue sections highlighting the callers' comments and questions. Overall, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT is a captivating book just unique enough to make it stand apart from the usual adventure, drinking/sex party, vampire romance books that seem to be filling the YA shelves of late. This book is a worthy addition to any library, classroom, or personal collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story hit me so hard. I was crying towards the end. Reminds me of me and my bestfriend....
bookwormxoxo More than 1 year ago
I read this book in a day. I checked it out from the school library at 8:40 AM and finished it at around 11 that night. It was fantastic, and yes, it made me cry. The strangely complex--yet at the same time, perfectly simple--relationship between Jonah and Bea was beautiful and sweet. Bea with her feeling of having lost all emotion, yet deep down knowing that she really hadn't, was easily relatable. And Jonah... I related better to him than most probably did. My brother's like Matthew, and it was haunting to read about Matthew knowing that in some alternate reality, that could be my brother. The unique circumstances of both Bea and Jonah made the story more realistic and quirky and fun and sweet and tearful than any I've read in a long time. I would say I HIGHLY recommend it.
chelsea manuel More than 1 year ago
No matter how many times I read this book I still smile and cry becaue it is that good
Chloe Wellins More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! There were so many moments when i felt the emotions of characters in this story. You have to buy this book!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone kept saying this book would make you cry. Those people were so right. I cried and cried. I just didn't believe it. This book was amazing and just stood out in it's beautiful way. I would tell everyone to read this book if i knew that many people. I'm a sucker for stories like this. Unlike young adlut novels that are far fetched and just plain unrealistic, this book just comes close to the heart. STOP READING REVIEWS AND BUY THE BOOK ALREADY! Trust me, you won't be sorry.
A_Jam More than 1 year ago
This book had me depressed....but I loved it!!
Mirka Portillo More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to read! It is so real,well, in my opinion. It is sad and funny. It is so wonderful with all the little things. The quirks of the characters are cute and funny. If you are a sucker as sensitive as me, this book will make you feel like you're riding a rollercoaster. Happy, funny, and beautiful at times, but sad and horrible( making you feel that way. The story isn't horrible in any way). So, read it! It's not a waste!
Kristen Wiggins More than 1 year ago
I only have one word: UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book while I was browsing through the store, and once I started reading, I couldn't put it down!!! Bea's odd way of looking at the world pulled me in, and Natalie Standiford's clever writing kept me there. It was really easy to relate to the characters and their problems.I recommend that EVERYONE reads this book. You will be glad you did!
----SOBBY_love--- More than 1 year ago
i thought this book was pretty good. I loved Bea and Jonah and i hated everyone else. And the book itself made me want to tell all of my friends about it after i finished it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is most definitely one of my favorite books of all time. It's really unique and wonderful. I couldn't stop reading it. Definitely not like any other book I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I read it pretty quickly and while I was resding it it was all I thought about. I do have to sdmit, I would have liked a bit more detail. I felt like there were gaps between sections and the characters emotions changed very quickly. I could not predict how this book would end and I have to say that the rndng made me frusturated and sad but still, I thought it was the best part of the book. The title may sound kind of strange but I wouldn't hestitate ti pick this book up because it was overall amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book does not have the recognition it deserves. Beautiful, tear-jerking, beyond lovely... this book is poignant and has lived with me ever since I have read it. I told all my friends about it and I hope they will read and love it as much as I have. This is a book that I have come to be protective of in the strangest of ways. Please read this. I promise, I swear, you won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I when I end up crying, the story is powerful. I have literally cried over a book 4 times and this was one of them. I highly suggest this book and remember to be on a look out for ghost boy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much. The ending really made me cry but this book is truly something amazing and beautiful. I beg you just to take some of your time to read this book because you really won't regret it. One of my favorite books of all time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay, I really love Jonah why Jonah why!!!!?? :'(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a great book, but it's so SAD! T_T This WILL make you cry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. Most amazing book I've ever read. It teaches you so much about friendship and how much it can mean to one single girl named Bea. I cried, felt joy, felt heatbroken of the friendship thar Bea and Jonah had.
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earthtokarina More than 1 year ago
this book has an amazing plot & amazing characters. there is NO way you can begin to read this book & put it down. It has it's romance, it has the family issues, the adventures, everything. This book is probably my number one book. i suggest that every teenage girl should read this book.