Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Beatrice has moved once again. This time to Baltimore where her father has started yet another professorship at yet another University. It sucks to be the new person all the time and Bea has pretty much figured out how to survive on her own. So much so, in fact, that her mother has dubbed her “Robot Girl” for her seeming lack of emotion. Then she meets Jonah, Ghost Boy, someone who’s also retreated from interacting with people altogether and they strike up a friendship. It will change everything.

There is much to like in How to Say Goodbye in Robot. I loved the quirkiness in the story, the late-night call in talk show, the strange regulars who believed in time-travel and Elvis and magic carpet rides. I loved the jaunt to Ocean City and the anti-prom. And I especially loved Bea’s mom who is obviously on the edge of a breakdown and is trying to save herself with chickens (for dinner, for curtains, for shirts, even for rear-view mirrors). And hello! The author included references to John Waters’ films, a must for any book set in Baltimore.

I was terribly wrong about the direction the book was heading. I was convinced that Jonah had completely made up his twin brother, that he was an evil manipulator that was going to hurt Bea. When this turned out to be not the case, I still couldn’t shake my distrust of him. I started disliking his and Bea’s friendship – it was uneven, he treated her poorly. Yes he was hurting, and on one level I understood this, but on the other I wanted to shake him (after an equally hard shaking for Bea of course).

I had such a hard time connecting to the characters. I think partly this may be that I’m just burnt out on reading and need to take a breakso that I can fully dedicate myself to watching the rest of Battlestar Galactica (I. Am. Obsessed.). Whatever the reason, I had to make myself finish. Many other people seemed to really love this title, so'd I'd recommend giving it a go if you think it sounds up your alley.

Book Source: Publisher Review Copy

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