How to Say Goodbye in Robot - Review

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Publication date: October 1, 2009
ISBN 10/13: 0545107083 / 9780545107082

Category: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover--and I have to say, the book designer did a bang-up job--it's one of the most gorgeous books I've ever owned. If you're not normally a hardcover buyer, splurge, just this once--it's deliciously well-put together.
Keywords: Realistic but fantastic, friendship, family, moving, growing up, loneliness, death, grief

Find the synopsis on
How I found out about this book: It was already on my radar thanks to the Ingram catalog, and then Alybee told me that even though she doesn't normally read realistic fiction, she really enjoyed it. When it appeared front and center on the IndieBound shelf at Mrs.Nelson's where we were attending a signing, I could resist it no longer. And it's so... pink!

Quickie: 01110010 01100101 01100001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100010 01101111 01101111 01101011 00101110 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01110010 01101111 01100011 01101011 01110011 00100001

Oh what, you can't read binary? I said, "read this book. it rocks!"

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My review: Er, er, ooh er. (Um, that was me, pretending to be Bea pretending to be a robot.)

Love, love, loved this one. Bea's dry sense of humor and Jonah aka Ghost Boy's strange, angsty personality made them the right kind of misfits--people I would have felt right at home with in high school. Standiford handles the awkwardness of that age almost like she followed sixteen-year-old-Me around for a year, taking notes, with some sort of magic feeling-scope that identified my every weird emotion, then wrote a book about it. Shivers.

Bea's mom accuses her of lacking feeling, giving rise to her Robot Girl persona. I am sure this is something which my mother said to me when I was about that age. It's hard to admit to that strange focus of adolescence, that unaware self-centeredness that the teen years bring. The tense friendship that Bea & Jonah share in this book will turn you in, turn you out, and hopefully, help you see a little more into relationships than just what meets the eye.

I read somewhere that this is expected to become a cult hit, and I can totally see it happening. Playlist? Check. Staged photos a la old movie stills? Check. This even got me to put a John Waters movie on my Netflix list, and if you know me, you know I don't do John Waters. Check.

Now all we need is a movie.

Who should read this book: Did you love Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist? (I did.) Then you'll probably love this one, too. There's some passing mention of drugs and a bit o' drinking. I'd have been ok with this at about age 10... but that's me. I probably would not have had a real appreciation for the emotional aspects of the story until age 13 at least (ohhhh, Jonas Salk Middle School! the beginning of the end...), but I would have enjoyed the book.

Author photo from

How to Say Goodbye in Robot is Natalie Standiford's 7th YA novel.

Find the author at, on Twitter @natstandiford

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What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!)