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How to Say Goodbye in Robot

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  8,430 ratings  ·  1,047 reviews
From bestselling author Natalie Standiford, an amazing, touching story of two friends navigating the dark waters of their senior year.

New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third gr
Hardcover, First Edition, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press
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willaful They have an intensely emotional relationship that has no physical component, but asexuality is never actually brought up as a concept.

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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  8,430 ratings  ·  1,047 reviews

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Maggie Stiefvater
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The best favor I can do to everyone considering reading this book is to tell them that it's not a YA romance. Once you get that out of the way, you can enjoy this book for what it is: a quirky, intelligent YA novel about two lost teens finding their way back to normalcy -- or not.

While the two main characters -- nicknamed "Ghost Boy" and "Robot Girl" -- in this book are earnestly 3D, the real star of this novel is the late night radio program that both of them listen to. The quirky and sincere
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

My library copy expires from my Kindle today so I figured I better barf up a review before I lost all of my notes and highlights and whatnot. Turns out I didn’t add any . . . .

This is a story about Beatrice, a high schooler who is new to town. While “Mean Girls” stories have become the norm, How To Say Goodbye In Robot was quite the opposite. Yes, there were “mean girls” (and boys) who had been calling fellow student Jonah “Ghost
I really loved "How to Say Goodbye in Robot" by Natalie Standiford because it was so unlike other YA fiction that's out there. I thought it was refreshing that the friendship between Beatrice (the protagonist) and Jonah never turned into something romantic (so cliché and overdone). I usually hate quirky characters (because of John Green's novels, sorry, Green fans) but Beatrice was delightfully odd. Beatrice is unfairly criticized by her kooky mom for being emotionless (like a robot) when she's ...more
"If you'd only let me come by myself, none of this would have happened. Having you around makes everything worse.'
She buried her head under her pillow. 'Stop it! You're so cold! You're heartless, you little robot!' The pillow muffled her words, but they still stung.
'I feel things,' I said. 'I'm not a robot!' I stamped my foot and screamed. Then I burst into tears. I touched the wet little drops and held them toward her. 'See, I'm not a robot. This is proof."

Beatrice has gotten used to forming on
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
How to Say Goodbye in Robot starts with a strong voice and weaves into a complicated relationship that was so real it broke my heart. I got why Bea fell into this co-dependency. You have a closed-off boy who shuns everyone else and all of a sudden he wants to be your friend. Somehow that makes you special or really nice or cool or something than stands out from the masses. No matter how un-friend-worthy said boy turns out to be, you would do anything to hold up his volatile world and emotions an ...more
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I finished reading the last page.
Closed the book.
Got mad & felt sad. Then got mad for feeling sad.

Bea (Robot Girl) & Jonah (Ghost Boy) both were sweet, quirky (in a good way), innocent & naïve, being the way they were. Weaving stories, giving imaginary places names, meaningless things meaning, making the whole story cozy & colorful. Which is why I wanted to read it in the first place. The book even has a few colored pages (black, pink, blue), which makes it stand out even more than it already do
Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best YA book that I have read in a long time. The end of this book, the sadness and the wisdom of it, kind of destroyed any ability that I have to write about it coherently. Here are things that I loved about it in list form:

a.) High school is a time of insecurity, but thankfully a lot of this book is about acceptance: accepting that boys and girls can be just friends, accepting that true love is not always romantic, accepting that you don't always have to find lost things. Bea and Jonah ha
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like reading about strong, non-romantic relationships
Recommended to Agnė by: Self Respect Teen Lit Book Group

Natalie Standiford’s realistic young adult novel “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” centers around Beatrice Szabo, who just moved to Baltimore, MD and has to start her senior year in high school as a “new girl.” Because of Mr. Szabo’s job as a biology professor, Bea’s family never stays in one place for too long. As a result, Bea has learned not to get too attached to anything, let it be her house, neighborhood or friends. However, at the new school she develops an unexpectedly stron
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Blah. You'd think by the clever title and bright pink cover, it'd be about a geeky computer engineering girl who moonlights as a superhero. Actually, there's nothing geeky about this, the only "robot" in this book is the Robot nickname Beatrice's mom gives her by being an emotionless piece of scrap metal.

Setting up your protagonist to be a robot almost automatically means they're going to be hard to relate to. I understand Beatrice's constant moves because of her dad's job (he's a university pr
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book revolves around Beatrice's intense, demanding relationship with Jonah. They're not exactly dating, and their relationship is too emotionally loaded to call it simply friendship. Not that it's a great relationship. Jonah is codependent and demanding, and can lash out at Bea for things that aren't her fault. But he makes her feel special and understood when others don't. I have to give Standiford a lot of credit for writing this relationship realistically, without making Jonah a villain ...more
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
This is the third Natalie Standiford book I've read, and I believe it was her debut. I enjoy her writing style - it's direct and concise, like the journalist that she is. She also writes about quirky things and quirky characters, which I also list. But I felt like I just didn't connect with this book - even though the concept of platonic friends and self-discovery is one I usually like.

A big part of this was the characters - while they were well-developed and authentic, I personally didn't have
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How to Say Goodbye in Robot is the book that broke my heart. And by broke it, I mean, I haven't smiled or felt so much or cried so hard since I read Hold Still by Nina LaCour. I couldn't stop reading it until I'd finished it at two in the morning and then I couldn't sleep afterwards because I was thinking about it so much. That's not to say that my heart is a particularly fragile affair, but it a heart that isn't too easy to sway. So when a book takes it and gives it a big, hard squeeze, I feel ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
as of February 1st: I underestimated the power of this book because I'm still in this weird limbo of a book hangover and I keep thinking about it.

Well, this was definitely something. I just finished it not even half an hour ago and I'm mad and sad and heartbroken and I feel like drinking three cups of tea and sleeping.

First off, I'm removing all and any expectations of romance—the summary says it, flat out, that what Bea and Jonah find in each other isn't really romance (at all, honestly), but i
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is a little hard to review without giving spoilers, but the last thing I want to do is take away from your reading because you're going to want to read this one. There's just something about it... Maybe it's the fact that it captures that high school feeling of being displaced and unsettled so perfectly - displaced when you move from town to town, and displaced by things happening in your own family. It's a book about outcasts and how they can sometimes find one another and be more tha ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

If you are looking for something a little different for your next reading experience, pick up a copy of HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT by Natalie Standiford.

Bea is used to moving around. Her father, a college professor, is always on the lookout for new challenges, so they have moved from one college town to another over the years. This move is a bit more unsettling since it's Bea's senior year, and for some unknown reason, her mother i
Steph Su
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This first standalone book by the author of the Dating Game series is odd, but definitely heart-wrenching. With a cast of unusual and quirky characters, it’ll bring out the subconscious desire in all of us to explore all of our eccentricities.

Bea is a wonderful narrator, caught in between troubles at home, the cookie-cutter Barbie girls at school who try to draw her into their folds, and Jonah. She considers herself inhuman, lacking in human emotions—that’s why she calls herself “Robot Girl”—an
3.5 stars Beatrice and her family relocate to Baltimore just in time for her senior year in high school. She attends a small private school with only 40 seniors so everyone pretty much hangs out together by default. So even though the rest of the class has been together since kindergarten, there is none of that "you're an outsider" stuff here. There is one exception to this; Jonah, also known as Ghost Boy. He's been a loner since his mother and twin brother died in a car accident when he was aro ...more
Irina Elena
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is the kind of book that takes me almost two months to finish because I just cannot be bothered.

It's quirky and sad and sombre, and that's what makes it the sort of thing that should blow my mind and hit me hard, but every single emotion it tackles is so abstract and generic that the MCs never quite managed to turn into real live meat beings for me.
It's potentially interesting, but it is also very concise, and the character and relationship development are uncreative and superficial, compar
Jan 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: great-ending
I was prepared to give this book 2 stars, and then... THAT ENDING! I almost gave it 4 stars just for it!

But I couldn't... I mean, I started liking the book, but fall out of it pretty fast, this is a sad story and I couldn't empathize with the characters :/ which is strange for me... And I still don't know if it was because of the way it was written or if it was the personality of the main character... I'm still confused. Still, maybe it was just me... I've been very busy lately, and felt like I
Shani Ohana
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2014
brutally honest and absolutely beautiful. I never read anything like this and I couldn't put the book down. ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who are seeking a good friendship novel
Recommended to Kaye by: Maggie Stiefvater
Now, you probably know by now that YA contemp is totally not my thing. It's just too...real. I also don't believe that a boy and a girl can be friends without one or both of them wanting more, but that's more of a personal moral/family background than mere taste. But I was reading Atlantic Wire's list of summer reads based off YA authors' recommendations, and of course, being the Maggie Stiefvater fangirl I am, I instantly zoned in on what she had listed. In particular, I was caught by the prett ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
What a sad, depressing, even obscene book. I don't know why Scholastic--of all entities--published this, or even how they got away with publishing this. For starters, the main characters (who are 17-18 year old high schoolers) explicitly swear (even the F-word several times), smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and watch obscene movies. Peripheral characters also smoke marijuana. All of these happen repeatedly, and none of it is met with any consequences from either the adults or the narrative. Con ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was hopeful with how this books started, but so disappointed now that I am done with it.

It starts off with a girl who moves and starts a new school. She has an interesting outlook on life for a teenage girl, and a great quirky relationship with her mom. Or, so I thought.

Warning of spoilers, even though I'm not even sure if it would be spoiling anything.

She meets Jonah, who is her boyfriend-friend-not boyfriend (so confusing). The way that their relationship is written is so puzzling. Why go
Maria V. Snyder
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another great book given to me by my daughter. She's been picking my books for me this summer and, so far, she's 3 for 3.

I really liked the quirky characters in this book and the night-time radio call in show that is an integral part of the story. The radio show was interesting because as a YA writer, all the advice for writing to teens is not to use any pop culture references or dated references. This book had older characters and older music, and my daughter read it twice and loved it. I thoug
Jenna Owens
Feb 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was literal crap. How does it have such a relatively high rating? The characters were ridiculously unrealistic and dull, the plot was all over the freakin' place, and some scenes were super unbelievable. Oh, there's a bar in town that serves underage kids? That's pretty sketchy. But wait - you're telling me that they can go to any other random bar and they magically forget to I.D. them too? Ridiculous. There were so many offensive jokes in this book (including some on sexual assault, l ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
me: you know, it’s been awhile since I’ve been completely utterly emotionally ruined by a book!!

Natalie Standiford: oh I can fix that :)
Anthony Gramuglia
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
True story: I actually met Natalie Standiford before buying this book. She came to read at my MFA program, and all she read was the scene where Beatrice and Jonah go to that luncheon for the radio station. That was all it took for me to love this book.

And damn, this book is good.

Like, really good.

Maybe my standards are lower after reading the first two books of the Mortal Instruments series. Maybe I'm just surprised that a non-fantasy/sci-fi/horror turned out to be such a page turner. But damn.
Literary Strawberry
First read: sometime in 2014?
Re-read: Dec. 2016

“Sweet, sad, wonderfully quirky, and delightfully original, Natalie Standiford’s beautifully honest book made me laugh in surprise, nod in understanding, and wish that I were part robot so that my heart would stop breaking.” – Libba Bray

(this blurb pretty much sums up the book perfectly but I’m going to ramble on a bit myself now because I can)

First off, quirky. Yes. This book is so quirky. As I love quirky, it’s one of the things that drew me in in
Aug 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: vine
Icelandic hairdressers are the happiest people in the world. Unfortunately for Beatrice Szabo, no one knows their secret. And Bea isn't even a hairdresser, let alone living in Iceland in How to Say Goodbye in Robot (2009) by Natalie Standiford.

Bea is used to moving a lot thanks to her father's professional wanderlust. But moving constantly is pretty easy once you stop getting attached to things like houses and gerbils. Finding herself in the familiar position of new girl in town (Baltimore this
Books and Literature for Teens
First off-to set people strait-this book is not about robots or anything sci-fi; it’s about love but not rmance because Bea and Jonah are good friends. (If you think Bea and Jonah shared a romantic relationship then you’re probably like the rest of Canton High.) How to Say Goodbye in Robot is the bleak story of one unique friendship, a late night talk show, and too many goodbyes.
Bea and Jonah are different. Bea is the “stone child” who is slightly depressed about her parents and is tired of adju
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: How to say goodbye in Robot, by Natalie Standiford 1 15 Oct 17, 2016 04:33PM  
Described....sorta 1 8 Mar 13, 2015 10:05AM  
Will Jonah meet Bea again? 2 26 Sep 22, 2014 08:31PM  
Did they love each other not just as friends? 3 36 Aug 30, 2014 04:01AM  
love the friendship 3 24 Jun 20, 2014 08:13PM  
What's the Name o...: [spoiler] Boy leaves only one picture behind [s] 6 81 Jul 08, 2013 09:35AM  
Natalie Standiford: How to Say Goodbye in Robot 1 18 Jun 14, 2012 02:06PM  

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Natalie Standiford, author of "Astrid Sees All," "How to Say Goodbye in Robot," "Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters," "The Secret Tree," "Switched at Birthday," "The Boy on the Bridge," and "The Only Girl in School," has written picture books, nonfiction, chapter books, teen novels, an entry in the 39 Clues series, and even horror novels for young adults. Standiford also plays bass in the rock ba ...more

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