How to Say Goodbye in Robot
by Standiford, Natalie
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Book list The hot pink cover featuring a telephone dangling by the cord fairly screams teen romance! but might give the wrong impression of this quirky novel. Bea, the new girl in a school where most of the kids have known each other since kindergarten, befriends Jonah, an outcast deemed Ghost Boy after a cruel middle-school prank. She finds herself torn between normal highschool activities and spending time with Jonah, listening to the bizarre but engaging Night Light, a radio show haunted by some of Baltimore's loneliest weirdos. Theirs is not a budding romance, but a tumultuous, hot-and-cold friendship; they love each other, but should never even think about a relationship. Credit is due to Standiford for the delicate portrayal of Jonah's home life, which could have veered into soap-opera territory, especially with the reappearance of his long-thought-dead, mentally disabled twin brother. The heart of this novel is neither cold and metallic nor full of romance and delusion. Instead, it's very human.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Because of her father's academic career, Beatrice Szabo's family has moved multiple times, most recently from Ithaca, NY, to Baltimore. In order to protect herself from the emotional fallout caused by the constant moves and her parents' troubled relationship, she has invented a cold, emotionless persona for herself called Robot Girl. When she begins her senior year at a small private school, she enters a class where the students have known one another since kindergarten. She finds herself drawn to outcast Jonas Tate, aka Ghost Boy, who introduces her to the Night Light show, a local late-night radio show. They form an intense friendship, complicated by Jonas's obsession with his mentally disabled twin brother, whom his father had told him died in an automobile accident years before. When Jonas discovers that Matthew is actually alive and in a local institution, events gradually spiral out of control as Jonas plots to liberate him. Beatrice begins to realize that her deep love and friendship for Jonas cannot help him overcome all of his emotional difficulties. This is an honest and complex depiction of a meaningful platonic friendship and doesn't gloss over troubling issues. The minor characters, particularly the talk-show regulars, are quirky and depicted with sly humor. Teens will identify with the intense emotions of Beatrice and Jonas, the reasons they are drawn to each other, and the ups and downs of their relationship. An outstanding choice for a book discussion group.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly By the time she's a senior, Beatrice Szabo is an expert at emotional detachment, having trained herself not to consider "the houses we lived in as my house, or the street we lived on as our street." Her biology professor father, constantly following grant money to new positions, has now brought the family to Baltimore. Bea's former best friend-her mother-is coming unhinged, miserable about moving and her deteriorating marriage. So it comes as a surprise to Bea that at her new, small private school she forms a near-instant bond with Jonah Tate, a boy with a past so tragic his withdrawal was probably inevitable. Bea and Jonah's relationship is platonic but intense-two kids drawn to each other by joint recognition of the intelligence behind the robotic facades they wear to get through high school. Bea's darkly comic sensibility carries the story, and Standiford's minor characters-including the over-50 callers on an all-night radio show Bea and Jonah listen to faithfully-provide more humor. There's no happy ending, but that, too, will give this first novel resonance with anybody on the fringe. Ages 13-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved