How to Say Goodbye in Robot
*"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unstable mother after she fails to manifest sufficient heartbreak over the death of their gerbil, Bea meets pale, withdrawn Jonah, maliciously called “Ghost Boy” by their peers.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. Standiford has crafted a darkly whimsical tale filled with details that will be recognizable to teens truly existing on the fringe, complete with references to John Waters films and outsider musician Daniel Johnston. Bea’s original first-person voice will draw readers in, and the unexpected plot will keep them engaged. A decidedly purposeful not-love story, this has all the makings of a cult hit with a flavor similar to Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999)."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
*"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 Jonah, 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
--School Library Journal, starred review
" . . . evocative, moody, and thoroughly delightful . . . . Standiford, to her great credit, resists romantic cliches and a pat ending in favor of something more complex, nuanced, and heart tugging."
--John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine
" . . . the beauty and fragility of Bea and Jonah’s relationship is finely wrought in quiet, confident prose that renders Bea’s desperation to hold Jonah close achingly tangible, and her ultimate ability to let go a hard-won wisdom."
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Standiford realistically depicts both the social intricacies of a small school and the emotional nuances of two dysfunctional families. Her characters are unusually true-to-life as, caught up in the intensity of their present, they fumble toward fully formed identities and fulfilling relationships."
--The Horn Book Magazine
"The heart of this novel is neither cold and metallic nor full of romance and delusion. Instead, it’s very human."
— Courtney Jones, Booklist
"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."
"I bought this novel last year at Grand Central Station because I loved the title and needed something for the train. All the way to Poughkeepsie I kept thinking, Stop it. You can't cry here. But I just couldn't stop reading it. Still can't."
--Rob Sheffield, author of LOVE IS A MIX TAPE and TALKING TO GIRLS ABOUT DURAN DURAN, in The Week Magazine
" . . . one of the most satisfying young adult novels in recent memory."
--John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine
A Junior Library Guild Selection
The LA Review of Books
A great list of favorite idiosyncratic YA novels by David Levithan
To find out more about the places, songs, and movies mentioned in HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, go to the Mystery Page