Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Title: How to Say Goodbye in Robot
Author: Natalie Standiford
Year Published: 2009

Genre: YA Fiction
Pages: 276
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2013 Google Reading map): USA (Maryland)


FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Icelandic hairdressers are the happiest people in the world. Bea is not an icelandic hairdresser. Neither is Jonah. But together, they might find something approaching happiness.

New to town, Bea is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. You know the type: very cheery, very friendly, very average. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet observer who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. He's not a big fan of people in general...but he's willing to make an exception for her. Maybe.

Bea and Jonah are not going to have a friendship like other people have a friendship, where it's all based on gossip and parties and what everybody else thinks. Instead, their friendship comes from truth-bound conversations, shared secrets, daring stunts, and late-night calls to the same old-timer radio show. They help each other and hurt each other, push away and hold close. It's not romance, exactly--but it's definitely love. And it means more to them than either one can ever really know....

Review: What an interesting book and so not what I thought it was going to be. This is a case where I judged the book by its cover and was duped, but not in a bad way. I saw pink (the cover is pink, the page numbers are pink, the chapter titles are pink, and the pages separating months are pink) and assumed one thing. A bit of fluff YA literature, nothing too serious, etc. Wrong. There is a lot going on in this book that gets way beyond pink and the book's exterior.

Beatrice is a senior in high school and new to her school. I like that she is a mixture of not caring about the popular crowd and what they think, but still pleased when she is included in their parties and plans. I think that is realistic; we all have multiple sides to our personalities. She is also a little quirky without being totally weird.

Jonah is an interesting character. The death of his twin back in third grade has made him sad and wary of friendships and other people. He does let Beatrice in and their friendship is a really nice one. I especially like that they are a male-female friendship that doesn't go any further; they love one another, but aren't dating.

The story seems a bit slow at first and I wasn't sure where it was going, but about half way through the threads all come together and some shocking revelations take place that spin the story in a direction I didn't expect. And that's a good thing.

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