Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Title: How to Say Goodbye in Robot
Author: Natalie Standiford 
Published: 2009
Source: Local Library 

New to town, Bea 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? (taken from
I wanted to love this book, I really did. Everything about it made me think I'd fall head over heels. I'd heard it described as "the greatest romance novel of all time," and I immensely enjoyed Standiford's novel The Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters. To be honest, all of the reasons that I didn't care for How to Say Goodbye in Robot were matters of personal preference. 

For instance, I am a sucker for deeply romantic stories, even if they are tragic. How to Say Goodbye in Robot 
doesn't really count as a romantic story, in my book. It was a story of boundless, all-consuming friendship, not of passion and true love. Or maybe it is a kind of true love- a love shared between two people who were never meant to be together.

On some level, I have to admire the deep message of the novel. Still, I would have preferred a happier ending and more romance. But, like I said, that is just my personal preference. Many other readers would probably be thrilled to find such an original, fresh novel. The characters were relatable and defined, and Jonah and Bea's fascination with radio shows added something to the tale. 

This book's title fits the story flawlessly. If you are looking for a fairytale type book, then this isn't the right read for you. It is a story of heartache and goodbyes, of self-discovery and letting go. While I didn't care for the story, I would recommend giving this well-written book a shot if you don't mind unhappy endings. 

1 comment:

Amber said...

I'm one of those who fell head over heels for this novel. I thought it was such a realistically touching story and there was some hope there at the end. I can understand your reasonings for not falling in love though. Thanks for the great review!