“Jonah’s breath came fast and shallow. I reached for his hand. He turned his face to me, his eyes wide with panic. Two frozen ponds. A boy screamed and pounded on the surface, trapped under the ice. Panicking. Trying to break through. But his screams faded, his fists flailed, and he slipped away into the dark. The boy was gone. Nothing left but the ice, clear and smooth enough to skate on.”
Beatrice is the new girl in town. She’s, in a word, quirky – a trait seeming to have been passed down to her by her mother. She’s also a robot, at least in the sense of the word. Bea doesn’t feel things like other people, doesn’t think like other people. She half-expects to one day discover her heart is only a ticking clock inside a metal body. So when she arrives at school and meets Jonah, the guy whose classmates have labeled “ghost,” it’s only natural that this Robot Girl and Ghost Boy should be friends. Well, friends in the way a ghost and robot would be friends. At first Jonah is standoffish toward Beatrice and her nosy, naïve personality. But as the two bond through a rich-in-conspiracy-theories-and-lonely-insomniacs talk radio show called Night Lights, their weird friendship takes flight, and answers to the mystery behind Jonah’s ghostly self begin to surface.
I have to admit, I almost didn’t finish this book. It was an interesting, quirky read (how many times can I say quirky in this review? ;)) but nothing really held my attention until halfway through the story. How To Say Goodbye In Robot starts off weird, attention-grabbing in a good way. Did I think about putting the book down more than once? Yeah. But I didn’t. I stuck with it to the end. And boy, my heart would have been spared a lot of sadness if I hadn’t finished because this book turned from a happy and quirky to quirky and dark with a light at the end of a tunnel.
Hold on, I need to go grab some tissues real fast. Just in case.
Ok, good. Back to the review.
Beatrice was crazy, and I loved it. She did things we only think about – like disguising herself to get past hospital security, or trashing rolls and rolls of toilet paper in order to sneak into her best friend’s father’s office. Okay, maybe we don’t think about doing those things, but you get the idea. Bea is brilliant and insane at the same time, and the amazing thing is that it works! I had a lot of good laughs at all of her harebrained ideas.
But Jonah, he was my favorite. There’s just something about moody, secretive boys that makes me want to give them hugs and let them know they’re wanted. Jonah lost his mother and twin brother when he was a little kid, and his dad is pretty much heartless and refuses to acknowledge his son’s desire for fatherly love. He’s a Ghost Boy, melancholy, wandering without end, a bit frightening to those who don’t take the chance to really know him. His whole story is heartbreakingly beautiful.
I loved the mix of Bea’s carefree spirit and Jonah’s restless soul. They’re both searching for something, even if they don’t quite know what it is. Bea is a weirdo, and Jonah is a total outcast. They are relatable in a strange sort of way. Their relationship is odd and wonderful, and I enjoyed their story.
But wait! Didn’t I say I almost put the book down? Well, almost is the key word here. There are some stories that one should stick with, even though they seem mediocre and slow, just to find the best part was saved for last. How To Say Goodbye In Robot was not the most amazing book I’ve ever read, but it was still worth the read. I almost needed tissues at the end. I almost wished I was a robot with a clock for a heart so I wouldn’t have to feel all the feels. I almost wanted to find some quirky (there’s that word again) local Night Lights-esque radio show to call in to so I wouldn’t feel lonely and heartbroken anymore. Well, almost. Let’s not get too crazy here.
How To Say Goodbye In Robot is a melancholy, strangely honest read. Sometimes things don’t turn out perfect and sunshiny at the end. Happy endings can be a little sad too, and that’s okay.
My rating: 3 Stars
Infrequent cussing, teen drinking at parties without parental supervision, brief adult themes. Recommended for 15+.