. Athena's Books: On the 2nd Day of Christmas...How to Say Goodbye in Robot
Friday, December 10, 2010

On the 2nd Day of Christmas...How to Say Goodbye in Robot

On the 2nd day of Christmas...well, you know the tune.

My pick for today is How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford. This is one of those obscure books (like Eva Underground) many don't get around to reading. It just can't compete with all those paranormal and fantasy and series books out there. I mean who is Natalie Standiford and why does it have a weird title ...that's not my thinking, but possibly that of typical teen or any other reader.

But the title pretty much tells you this is going to be one of those books without the necessarily pretty ending...but ohhhhh...the ending is satisfying...it kind of makes your heart feel heavy and tight but hopeful.

Here's a little bit to get you going. There is a quiet, loner guy but he's not all James Dean or anything. Classmates call him Ghost Boy though Bea also knows him as Jonah. And Bea is Robot Girl. Ghost? Robot? Obviously, with names like that, they are what some people may judge as being emotionally distant.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot features an unconventional romance based on human connection rather than physicality. Ghost Boy and Robot Girl have a long way to go, but if they can have one truly human relationship with each other, even if it seems impossible, wouldn't it be worth it in the large scheme of things?

Quote...to show you how it's different from other YA.

(This is Bea thinking)

I turned a corner and came to a small church. There was a head-stone near the path leading to the church's wooden doors. I stepped closer to read the headstone. It said FOR THE UNICORN CHILD.

That is so cool, I thought. What a funky town this was. I imagined a neighborhood Legend of the Unicorn Child, about a one-horned little boy who'd died tragically, hit by a car or shot by a mugger or maybe poisoned by lawn pesticides. The story of the Unicorn Child was so real to these people they'd erected a stone in his memory.

Then I read it again. The stone didn't say FOR THE UNICORN CHILD. It said FOR THE UNBORN CHILD.

Summary From Booklist:

The hot pink cover featuring a telephone dangling by the cord fairly screams teen romance! but might give the wrong impression of this quirky novel. Bea, the new girl in a school where most of the kids have known each other since kindergarten, befriends Jonah, an outcast deemed Ghost Boy after a cruel middle-school prank. She finds herself torn between normal highschool activities and spending time with Jonah, listening to the bizarre but engaging Night Light, a radio show haunted by some of Baltimore’s loneliest weirdos. Theirs is not a budding romance, but a tumultuous, hot-and-cold friendship; they love each other, but should never even think about a relationship. Credit is due to Standiford for the delicate portrayal of Jonah’s home life, which could have veered into soap-opera territory, especially with the reappearance of his long-thought-dead, mentally disabled twin brother. The heart of this novel is neither cold and metallic nor full of romance and delusion. Instead, it’s very human. Grades 9-12.


NatalieSap said...

Thanks for posting this book - I picked it up over the summer for a beach getaway, but my sister got to it first. Will have to try again soon!