Warning: If you have not read “How To Say Goodbye in Robot” by Natalie Standiford, don’t read this review unless you want spoilers!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “How To Say Goodbye in Robot” by Natalie Standiford! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“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 grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It’s not romance, exactly – but it’s definitely love. Still, Bea can’t quite dispel Jonah’s gloom and doom – and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?”
This is not the first time I’ve read a book that takes place in a more contemporary/here-and-now-present real-world setting, so it was nice to pick up a book that was in that category. However, though the summary sounded interesting, I felt that there wasn’t a lot going on in the main plot other than the following:
- Beatrice and Jonah meet and bond.
- Beatrice ends up helping Jonah with finding his twin brother.
- Twin brother dies.
- Jonah disappears and Beatrice is pretty much left alone with virtually no idea where Jonah is, and no idea if she’ll ever see him again.
Though this is much more complex than what I’m overall summarizing here, I felt that this could have gone so much more in depth than it did. Instead, I felt that the sideplots of Jonah and his father not being on good terms, as well as Beatrice’s parents not doing so well (as well as the reveal that Beatrice’s mom was having an affair) overtook the entire main plot. I also thought that the radio-related sections of the story were lackluster and did not add much to character development overall.
What I also think did not help the book too well was that Jonah and Beatrice’s romance lacked in chemistry. I feel like these two would be better off as friends, as opposed to romantic interests, because they were certainly fine together as friends, and I actually liked reading their initial scenes together. However, the two of them just didn’t click once they started getting romantic with each other, which is unfortunate given that the main plot focused so much on the romance in addition to the main events that I summarized above.
As individual characters, I couldn’t help but feel horrible for Jonah given everything that happens in the book. I definitely felt a sense of sympathy for him, which I think is what the author intended. As for Beatrice, I also sympathized with her situation regarding her own family as well.
Overall, 2.5 out of 5 stars.