Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

It's Bea's senior year and she's new in town.  Her mother is acting incredibly strange and her father makes sure he's home as little as possible.  Bea figures she'll just drift through senior year, but then she meets Jonah, know to others as Ghost Boy.  Jonah does not like people much, but for some reason Bea if drawn to him.  The two begin to create an unusual friendship, which involves both caring for, and hurting each other.

I really enjoyed reading this, but was so frustrated!  But I was frustrated because I really cared about Bea and was angry on her behalf how people were treating her.  In particular, her parents and Jonah.

I wanted to shake Bea and say, "You're in an abusive relationship and you don't even know it!  You are better than this!"  I did not like how Jonah treated Bea at all.  I understood why Bea was drawn to him.  She felt like an outsider, and Jonah was an outsider too.  Bea felt like Jonah understood her like none of her other friends.  As things got more and more difficult at home, she needed that.  But Jonah, quiet frankly, yanked her around and treated her like crap.  He didn't like her hanging out with other people.  He would punish her by not speaking to her.  They weren't dating, but seriously, it had all the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship. 

Bea and Jonah's non-romantic relationship was an interesting one.  Jonah was clearly not in love with Bea, but was Bea in love with Jonah?  I wasn't sure.  I don't think she was.  I think she thought she had finally found a kindred spirit.  A true friend.  Someone who understood her flat, emotionless outside.  Bea didn't want to lose him.  She dreamed about them going to school in New York together and sharing an apartment.  But I don't think it was romantic.

Jonah situation was beyond terrible.  The deception from his father was awful, and it's no wonder Jonah did what he did.  But it hurt Bea in the process.

I was dying to find out what was going on with Bea's mom.  She was clearly depressed.  She was acting strange, childlike, irrational.  I understood that, but it didn't change that I was angry with her for being so mean to Bea!  Bea's mother kept telling her she just didn't understand, she didn't feel anything, she was emotionless like a robot.  What a horrible thing for a child to be told by their mother.  Bea's mother was dealing with her own issues clearly, but Bea was suffering because of them.  And her father, while caring, did nothing to help Bea or her mother and did his best to be out of the house as much as possible so he wouldn't have to deal with it.

The way it ended was really best for Bea.  It would allow her to move on.  But her relationship with Jonah was a special one, and she will never stop looking for him.

I am being purposefully vague because I don't want to spoil anything.  Read it.  It was excellent.

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