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How to Say Goodbye in Robot

How to Say Goodbye in Robot

Written by Natalie Standiford

Narrated by Kate Rudd


How to Say Goodbye in Robot

Written by Natalie Standiford

Narrated by Kate Rudd

ratings:
4/5 (39 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Released:
Dec 1, 2010
ISBN:
9781441859730
Format:
Audiobook

Description

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....

For anyone who's ever entered the wonderful, treacherous, consuming, meaningful world of a true friendship, How to Say Goodbye in Robot will strike a deep and lasting chord.
Released:
Dec 1, 2010
ISBN:
9781441859730
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Natalie Standiford was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and studied Russian language and literature at Brown University and in the former Soviet Union. She has written many books for children and teens, including How to Say Goodbye in Robot, The Secret Tree, and Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She lives with her husband in New York City, where she occasionally plays bass in rock bands with other restless writers. Find out more at NatalieStandiford.com.  


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Reviews

What people think about How to Say Goodbye in Robot

4.1
39 ratings / 36 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Bea's just starting her senior year at a tiny private school. She's the new kid, and alphabetically arranged next to the Weird Kid in assembly, classes, lockers, everything. Jonah may be a little weird in his way--his classmates have been calling him a ghost since seventh grade--but he's also the best friend Bea's ever had.

    Oh man I want to give this book to everyone now, because it's the most beautiful example of friend-love, of non-romantic love, of true friendship, that I've seen in a teen novel, um, ever. It's not that it's particularly lyrical or poetic--I mean, Bea describes herself as a robot--but it's so accurate and honest and so so wonderful. Everybody should read this book. At least, everyone who's ever felt like an outcast, which is probably like 90% of us who went to middle school?
  • (3/5)
    So I read this book because it was given to me. I liked it, and I could see how it would get a certain cult following, but I didn't love it. And I don't know if that's because I don't totally understand guy/girl friendships because I've never really had any, so I can't relate to that part of the book, or the way I totally knew what was going on with the parents from the way they were first described, or whether it just wasn't right for me. I would definitely recommend it. After all, people thought Frankie Landau-Banks was one of the best books of last year, and I had a bit of a hard time relating to that one too.
  • (4/5)
    At the center or this story is the complex, platonic relationship between two misfit teens. There's no real romance (which is kinda nice). But the love that develops between these two friends is so much more meaningful and real than anything, say, Bella and Edward ever shared. I was a bit surprised by how much the later developments in the story affected me, but I guess that's what happens when characters are developed well--you care. The complicated family relationships were well-developed and authentic. And you hear everything through Bea's wonderful voice. Don't be misled by the title: there are no robots in this book, but there is a fair amount of quirkiness, humor, heart break, and humanity.
  • (2/5)
    I heard this book was awesome, but I feel like I just didn't get it. I liked the radio show and the characters they meet through it, that was really unique, but the rest of the story was just weird. I constantly thought Jonah was making everything up, but he wasn't. I really thought Bea's mother was SERIOUSLY ill, but she apparently wasn't. The whole book just seemed to go nowhere. It made you sad to read it and had a sad ending. I don't need happy endings and puppies and unicorns to make me like a book, but reading a book that's depressing throughout just isn't very enjoyable. I did happen to have a relationship like Bea and Jonah's when I was in high school, so I know what it's like, and it did seem realistic, I just don't want to read it.
  • (5/5)
    I didn't expect much from this book, but I think I can now safely call it one of the best, most emotionally evocative books I've gotten the chance to read. Many young adult novels discuss the dangers of physically abusive romantic relationships, bypassing the ideas of emotionally abusive relationships as well as abusive platonic relationships, both of which, at least from my vantage point, are huge problems in many teens' lives, and many don't even have the vocabulary for it. It's also one of the few YA books I've read featuring truly introverted protagonists. We have our fill of socially awkward penguins, but most of them do gain their energy through social interaction with others, and that's a little more blurred in this book. I'm grateful for Natalie Standiford's courage in writing an important story, and I hope it was able to bring some level of clarity to other readers as it was able to offer me. Rating: 5/5
  • (5/5)
    How to Say Goodbye in Robot is definitely on my list of favorites for 2009... if fact, it makes my favorite books ever list! With the amount of books I read, that isn't an easy feat!The story How to Say Goodbye in Robot is painfully realistic at some points, but that just makes it hauntingly beautiful. I loved the old-timer radio show that Bea and Jonah listen to - it made me want to turn on the AM radio and find my own quirky insomniacs to help guide me through tough times.There was something about Bea that I found easy to relate to. Before she found that late night radio show, Bea fantasized about death - not suicide - just the comfort and relaxation of being separate from life. I may not have been quite as instense as Bea, but I've often wondered about death as I lay awake an night too. Bea struggles with showing her emotions; she is afraid to grow attached to people and places because she often has to pack up and move as soon as she makes connections. I undestood Bea's confusion and her ability to accept the fact that, maybe, she is a robot: cold, unfeeling, and hard.I loved Jonah. He was one of those characters that will draw a reader in like a moth to flame. He is so perfectly broken - I can see why Bea would be drawn to him in her own broken state.How to Say Goodbye in Robot is not a love story, but it is terribly romantic. Jonah and Bea have so much chemistry and truly love one another, flaws and all. I found the sappy teenager in me yearning for them to be together as a couple. But Jonah and Bea are never a couple - they are so much more. To me, this novel emphasizes how important connections other than the physical are - and how those ties can run so much deeper.I simply cannot write a review that will do this novel justice! It is one of my absolute favorites that I'll have on my go-to list for recommendations. How to Say Goodbye in Robot is a must read for 2009!
  • (4/5)
    Natalie Standiford carves out a fairly unique niche in this engaging novel: platonic teenage love. Beatrice is going to be a senior in high school when her professor dad moves the family from Ithaca, NY, to Baltimore, MD, for his work. She starts as the new kid at a small, private school where everyone else has gone since they were in kindergarten. There, she is drawn to the outcast, Jonah, who most people call Ghost Boy because of his fair complexion and light hair. Jonah doesn't have any friends at school, though everyone there knows him and interacts on some level. He keeps to himself and doesn't like to socialize with anyone. Beatrice is drawn to him, and the two forge an unlikely friendship. They bond over their mutual fondness for a late-night call-in talk radio show, which is full of a cast of eccentric regulars. As they get to know each other, Jonah reveals more about himself and his tragic early life. While it help Beatrice to understand why he acts the way he does, she realizes that ultimately it is his burden to bear and he needs to face it his own way. This novel is unique in that the male and female characters share a deep, platonic love. Jonah gets jealous when she dates other guys, but, as he describes it, it's because he doesn't want to share her attention, not because he wants to date her. And that love, it turns out, can be just as heartbreaking as the other one.
  • (4/5)
    Bea is a cool, quirky little character and Jonah is heavier on the quirk. Both great characters. I loved the fact that Jonah never saw his brother Matthew as broken, only different from himself. I really liked this book. It speaks of love and how deep it runs. It challenges your thoughts on family and just who ones family can be comprised of. I had heard great things about this book before reading it. It lived up to the words of praise bestowed on it. I liked all the Nite Lights and their funny little personalities interplaying with one another. I could see a sequel to this one eventually, but have no idea if one is planned or not. The overall message I took away from this was that no matter how disabled or tenuous their grip on reality may be, you don't give up on them. I'm giving this one 4 1/2 robotic smaks!
  • (5/5)
    This particular piece of YA Fiction caught my eye, and rather than being completely put off by its garish and glaringly pink cover, I chose it out of the many from my ragtag library in intrigue. Being a young adult, I do quite like the genre. I read a vague but sentimental review from another girl who had read it. Apart from being appalled by our school system's review of grammar, I was delighted to hear that it was an interesting book. Around midnight last night, I finally read the horrifically pink book. As I finished around 5, I could barely see straight, but the pink had somehow become a warm orange. Although alarmed by my sight being comprimised, I was glad to have virtually crippled myself. The novel was exceedingly fascinating to say the least. The main character's agnst was clean on the page, no overzealous thoughts. The flow was rather well paced, and plot could never be fully predicted. I truly enjoyed the character interaction, being somewhat more realistic than I expected. There was a certain quality about the book. A certain spark of reality in the fantastical plot. The barriers and obstacles were amazingly exciting and emotional. I felt like a true part of the life and history of it. The book breathed, in a way, it had a life, and was a timeless place unto itself. There is nothing more pleasing than an understandable piece of YA Fiction, and this is a prime example.So as I wrap up this extremely long-winded review, I must insist that you should read this book. (Sales pitch insert here) It is an astonishing, albeit modest literary work, and caught my interest after the first chapter. Good reads.
  • (5/5)
    A truly excellent novel. I only wish I could write this well. A moving, thoughtful and at times both heartbreaking and lovely, book. I don't remember why I picked it up, maybe because the title is so evocative or because the book cover is so very pink. It doesn't matter now because the book was so extremely amazing. It did make me cry at the end, but I think that's more a good thing than a bad. Highly recommended.
  • (3/5)
    Bea moves to a new private school In Baltimore for her senior year of high school. There she (Robot Girl) befriends Jonah (ghost boy), although she can't quite break through the wall behind all the demon's Jonah is carrying regardless of how good a friend she tries to be.
  • (4/5)
    A platonic love story with a midnight radio connection. Humorous and poignant. About a girl coping with moving to a new town, a new school, and family relationships, and a boy coping with the loss of his twin, and his relationship with his father. Recommend!
  • (5/5)
    This book is AWESOME, well-written, and constantly interesting, but is probably the SADDEST BOOK EVER!! (not in a bad way). AMAZING book.
  • (5/5)
    A book that grabbed me from the very first page and in the end made me wonder what would happen to the characters once I set the book down and it was over...I definitely recommend it.
  • (5/5)
    When Beatrice's family moves to Baltimore in her senior year of high school, she meets a loner called Ghost Boy by the other kids in their small private school. Best friends for the year, she learns about his disfunctional family and losses, until she loses him.
  • (3/5)
    When Beatrice moves with her family to Baltimore and starts her senior year at a small private school, she meets Jonah, the boy they all call Ghost Boy. He is like a ghost, always fading into the background, never speaking to anyone, pale and frequently insubstantial. But as he opens up to Bea, he'll become the best friend she's ever had. This is the story of that friendship over the course of one tumultuous year. I don't quite know what to say about this title. It's quirky, for sure. Some teens (but definitely not all teens) are sure to identify with it mightily.
  • (4/5)
    While the premise of the book is that the main character, Bea, sometimes acts like a robot to not feel emotions as much, this part of the book seems to come and go. Bea has moved with her parents to Baltimore. She has moved so many times that she's unwilling to get close to anyone. Her mother is also very unhappy and acting strangely. At school, Bea meets some kids who are friendly, but she is intrigued by and befriends the loner boy named Jonah. Jonah's mother and twin brother died in a car accident years ago, or so he and everyone thinks. However, he learns that his father had concealed the fact that the brother, who was severely mentally retarded, actually survived the accident. He then becomes obsessed with getting his brother out of the nursing home where he was living and taking care of him himself. Jonah sometimes treats Bea like a friend, and sometimes he shuts down, so Bea is left constantly trying to help him and get back in his good graces. While much of the story is intriguing, I didn't think that Jonah's charm was convincing. Maybe Bea just wanted someone who needed her.
  • (4/5)
    This book was rather interesting. I wasn't sure what to expect from the title or the cover, but it was different. This book is about Bea, who moves to a new school and becomes friends with Jonah. They are both outcasts yet they bond as friends over much deeper things than this one common item. I could see this book being a hit with teens who can relate to the social situations of the main characters, but there are a lot of ways in which a reader could find themseleves not relating which could make this read not as interesting.I would, however, recommend this book for my library.
  • (3/5)
    I read great things about How to Say Goodbye in Robot, and was truly looking forward to getting my hands on this. Sad to say I was disappointed. The main character Bea's father is a college professor. He's dragged the family all over in search of the next great job. Bea is about to go into her senior year of high school, but is being uprooted yet again. Baltimore is their next stop. Bea worries that she's about to enter a private high school where everyone has been friends since kindergarten which will make forming friendships difficult. The first day of school she meets Jonah-or ghost boy. Jonah is the school outcast, but Bea finds him interesting. A friendship is formed. Bea's parents have marital trouble-not groundbreaking in a young adult novel. I felt the characters were flat and uninteresting, and the story farfetched. The use of radio show call in dialogue made the reading lighter, but did nothing to make the story more interesting.
  • (4/5)
    Description: Dubbed a "robot" by her slightly insane mother, Bea is the quintessential loner. At least until she meets Jonah, The Ghost Boy, a cynical loser at her new school. The two form an intense (though platonic) friendship, bonding over their dysfunctional families and love of talk radio. Just maybe, they will each be the thing that ties the other to reality. My thoughts: It's hard to say if I liked this book. The characters were just so weird that I had a bit of a hard time relating. But one thing I think just about anyone would relate to is the alienation of feeling like you are the only person like you in the entire world. And then the relief that comes when you find someone who really "gets" you. The relationship between Bea and Jonah is an interesting one. It's not romantic, but it is intensely connected in ways that many romantic couples aren't. Can one person be everything for another? Can that ever be enough? I don't think so, and the relationship made me uneasy, even as I felt so happy for them to have found each other. The story is full of references to old movies and music, many of which went right over my head. But the writing overall was very readable, and the book flowed by like the radio show Bea and Jonah are so addicted to. Some might find the ending a little unsatisfying (it surprised me, but I liked it), but I think the themes of understanding, friendship, grief, and connectness vs. aloneness make this well worth a read.
  • (5/5)
    Have you ever read a book and felt like the author was speaking directly to you? Natalie Standiford has written a book that many teens will feel like she has written for them. How to Say Goodbye in Robot is the story of Bea, the new girl in school who can have two different social lives: that of the popular clique or an outsider with Jonah, the ultimate outsider. Bea walks the line between the two with more of an emphasis on Jonah. Jonah introduces her to a midnight radio call-in show for lonely people that she feels connected to. Written in a smart, irony-drenched voice, Natalie Standiford actually writes like a teen would write. Facing many of the problems that teens face, teens will go nuts for this book. Any teen who reads the books of David Levithan (particularly Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) will love this novel. I actually felt bad that this book had to end. Yet, my experience reading has nothing short of transcendent.
  • (5/5)
    This is my favorite book for when I want to cry. It's beautiful and devastating. And it was really well told, here.
  • (5/5)
    Reminded me of Solitaire of Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. So good!
  • (3/5)
    I dunno. It just didn't make a whole lot of sense... but part of it made a little more towards the end, once we got past the unreliable narrator aspect... and of course real life doesn't always make sense so Standiford may have been deliberately choosing to give the reader things to think about (deliberately avoiding the sitcoms' crisis/explication/resolution in 22 minutes pattern). it would have been a good book to discuss in a group, but I've already, after about 3 days, forgotten too much of it.
  • (4/5)
    This was sad, and yet not too sad. Very real. I thought it touched everything just right without going over the edge. I may even want to start listening to AM radio after reading this! :) I also really liked the colored pages and ink. It really set off the different parts of the book perfectly.
  • (3/5)
    WHAT IS IT ABOUT?Natalie Standiford’s realistic young adult novel “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” centers around Beatrice Szabo, who just moved to Baltimore, MD and has to start her senior year in high school as a “new girl.” Because of Mr. Szabo’s job as a biology professor, Bea’s family never stays in one place for too long. As a result, Bea has learned not to get too attached to anything, let it be her house, neighborhood or friends. However, at the new school she develops an unexpectedly strong friendship with Jonah, a.k.a. Ghost Boy, who hasn’t made new friends since the third grade. They listen to The Night Lights, a late night radio show, share secrets, make future plans, and help each other more than they can imagine.THUMBS UP:1) Not simply black and white.In “How to Say Goodbye in Robot,” there are no heroes or villains; the teen characters are not perfect as they do dumb, mean or selfish things, but they also have some redeeming qualities, which make then realistic and often likable. For example, Bea’s classmates - Anne Sweeney, AWAE (Ann Without An E) and Tom Garber - are nice and friendly enough but, just like typical teenagers, sometimes can be rather callous. Even Bea herself is far away from perfect but she is genuine, honest and thus very likable.2) Unique.The Night Lights radio show with its quirky, unique and very lovable listeners is by far my favorite part of “How to Say Goodbye in Robot.” However, recurring radio show transcripts are not the only unique feature of this book. Bea and Jonah’s relationship is also quite unusual. In fact, it is so unusual that I am struggling to find the right word to describe it: it’s not a romance yet it’s definitely love.3) Surprising ending.The ending is nothing I could have ever anticipated: it’s messy and incomplete, infuriating and heartbreaking but strangely apt and also somewhat hopeful.COULD BE BETTER:1) Hard to connect.Although I understood the seriousness and depth of the book, and appreciated realistic and multidimensional teen characters, I had a hard time connecting with the story and relating to the characters. It might have something to do with the fact that I didn’t really like Jonah and the way he treats other people, especially Bea. I understand that the life hasn’t been easy for him, but it’s not an excuse to hurt your only friend, or anyone else, for that matter - it’s just mean and simply selfish. At times I was also annoyed by Beatrice’s attachment to Jonah - he is clearly not worth it!2) Negative portrayal of parents.Although the teens in “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” are multidimensional and realistic, their parents are portrayed mostly negatively: they are distant, oblivious and quite selfish with few to none redeeming qualities. I especially disliked Bea’s mom: all she cares about is herself! Jonah’s dad is terrible as well but at least he thinks he is doing what is best for Jonah…VERDICT: 3 out of 5“How to Say Goodbye in Robot” by Natalie Standiford is a heartbreaking story about a unique friendship, but although teen characters are realistic and multidimensional, not all of them are likable or easy to relate to. Plus, the portrayal of their parents is mostly negative.
  • (2/5)
    I did not feel a whole lot after reading this book. It was just okay. I didn't' really connect with Bea, and I really didn't like Jonah at all. I was more interested in what was happening with Bea's parents and her mom's weird behavior than with what was happening with the main characters.
  • (4/5)
    Natalie Standiford's How To Say Goodbye in Robot is a YA book for readers ages 13 & up. Published by Scholastic in 2009, this is a story of being misunderstood, of not fitting in, of friendships, and of family issues. It's not a happily-ever-after story, but there is a hopeful ending.How To Say Goodbye in Robot is a touching and slightly heartbreaking story. Beatrice struggles as the new girl in school, and Jonas is bullied and struggles to fit in as he's different and slightly eccentric. Jonas also struggles at home with a distant, almost heartless father who has kept Jonas from his long-lost, twin brother; a brother who has been hospitalized in an institution. Due to his being lied to about and separated from his brother, Jonas' unsympathetic father, his being bullied at school, and his lack of friends, Jonas struggles with an identity crisis, with depression, and other emotional distresses. Beatrice is his light in the darkness, but one person cannot possibly save someone, no matter how much they might want to help. Sadly, Jonas embraces his identity as "Ghost Boy" and at the end of the novel, enters a destructive spiral in his attempt to finally become a ghost in the world. It's harsh, but the ending isn't all sad, I promise.Beatrice has it a little easier at home and at school, though her parents are having marital issues and her mother struggles with mental illness. In a few various moments of selfishness and immaturity, Beatrice's mother calls her a robot.And the award for terrible mom of the year award goes to...Beatrice is accepted by her classmates, but she feels drawn to the lonely eccentric Jonas, who obviously is not a healthy friend to have. These two misfits find solace in their friendship, for better or for worse. Not only will teens find the social drama relatable, but readers are also exposed to an enlightened way of thinking about social connections. Jonas and Beatrice's friendship lets readers see the world from an adult's mature point of view; something that's uncomfortably missing from the parental characters in the book. It gives the reader a mature and thoughtful perspective on life.We see that Jonas isn't a good friend for Beatrice, and that she is better off without him, at least for the time being. We also see that Jonas isn't to be blamed for his downward spiral. Failing to be a good parent reflects negatively on one's children. The reader can see how one's actions, whatever the intention, can have seriously detrimental effects on a person. We blame Jonas' father for lying and for deciding to separate Jonas and his brother. We blame the other students for bullying him. Cause and effect. So many kids are bullied in school; this book brings to light some of the consequences of what is intended as teasing or as a mean-spirited joke.A wonderfully written and powerful YA novel that speaks to difficult subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, for all its emotional ups and downs. The social drama is a little like a train wreck-- it's uncomfortable, but you can't look away from the page. There is perspective to be gained here, teen readers: not all friends are good for us, and sometimes the people we want are not the people we need in our lives.4 Stars
  • (5/5)
    The pink cover is a disservice to this charming little book, as it is not chick-lit/romance/fluff. If you enjoy Rainbow Rowell and have ever listened to Coast to Coast with Art Bell/George Noory then you'll appreciate this YA gem.
  • (4/5)
    It started out slowly and awkwardly- you could tell the author tried too hard to introduce the narrator. After that, it got much better. New girl in prep school meets freak boy, strangeness ensues.