May Book Club: How to Say Goodbye in Robot

This May we will be reading How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, a quirky realistic fiction title for young adults that has been featured on many 2009 “best of” lists. Here’s a brief description of How to Say Goodbye in Robot from the starred review in Kirkus:

Surprising everyone at their private school, a sardonic loner befriends the new girl in this unusual story of an intense platonic relationship between two misfits. Dubbed a robot by her emotionally unstable mother after she fails to manifest sufficient heartbreak over the death of their gerbil, Bea meets pale, withdrawn Jonah, maliciously called “Ghost Boy” by their peers. Almost immediately, she realizes that she has more in common with Jonah than with the catty, insular girls that surround her and begins to rely increasingly heavily on him even as she discovers more about his tragically strange past.

Please add your comments about May’s pick here, and we welcome you to revisit past discussions of our other great reads to add your thoughts.

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4 Responses to May Book Club: How to Say Goodbye in Robot

  1. chris says:

    Thank you for the invite to read this book. I will grad my copy from nypl ASAP. It sounds very good.

  2. CGibson says:

    Ugh. Did your blog just eat my comment?
    Well, here goes again:
    This book sounds very good. I’m not a huge fan of YA lit, but I will read this one.
    I’ll grab my copy from NYPL.
    Thanks for the post.

  3. Sara says:

    This book reminded me heavily of my high school experience in Raleigh, NC, a similarly hip southern city with a bunch of crazy old timers (for me it was the hippies that hung out at Sadlacks (a sandwich and beer joint) or the Paper Plant (a poetry bookstore and papermaking studio). There were always strange conversations to be had, wild movies to watch (like those of Baltimore heavy John Waters), and people who were awake and searching. I love the subtle way she edges away from her mom, her truest childhood pal. The friendship forged between Jonah and the plain, but smart narrator (what’s her name?) more than verges on co-dependent. They rescue each other from painful social circumstances, and the way she finally edges away from him surprised me. I didn’t think she would or could, but she did. It made me hopeful. She moved on, but quietly, gracefully. I loved this book and mourn the fact that none of the urbanites that I serve in my library would remotely enjoy this book. What do you do when the books you love the most you cannot recommend to your students? Ugh.

  4. Melissa A. says:

    I agree with Sara that there is something very frustrating about liking a YA book that you doubt your students will enjoy… like some pent-up evangelism? I really liked these offbeat, almost crotchety teens and the world they’ve created for themselves.

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