30 May 2009

How to Say Goodbye in Robot; Natalie Standiford

How to Say Goodbye in Robot How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

Poor Beatrice - moving every few years, always starting over, never feeling really part of any school or clique. And then there's Mom, who seems to be losing it (the emergence of The Pinch, for example, or getting really, really upset when PeachesGoebbles dies). Leaving Ithaca for Baltimore (and Cornell for Johns Hopkins, for her biology professor Dad) isn't great, but there's only one year left of school so it's manageable. The fact that she's so calm, seemingly emotionless leads Mom to call her Robot Girl.

Beatrice meets, and sort-of makes friends with, Anne, AWAE and others but really becomes friends with Jonah Tate, aka Ghost Boy. Back in 7th grade, the Class Lothario decided to throw a funeral for Jacob and then pretended that the (still-living) body was, in fact, a ghost. Turns out, Jonah embraced that identity, much as he embraced the guilt that his twin brother had suffered birth defects to that Jacob could be normal.

Jonah introduces Beatrice to Night Lights, an on-air radio show peopled by the lonely, the cruel, the slightly off-center (and the occasional time-traveling alien). There, and outside school, the two bond over their outsider status. However, when Jonah learns that his twin, Matthew, is still alive (and not dead, as he'd thought for years), things start going awry.

Jonah takes the Ghost Boy persona to a degree that to me suggests some much needed counseling/therapy - removing all traces of himself from the high school yearbook, for example, refusing to take a photo and generally distancing himself from everyone, including Beatrice. That degree of alienation may cause teens already on the edge to emulate him; I would hope that they'd realize how extreme he's been.

I enjoyed this book, with the above caveat noted. I think teens will, too.

ARC provided by publisher

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  1. checked the book twice... the guy's name is jonah..

  2. You're right. Thank you for pointing that out.