How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Length: 276 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Library Availability: 4 copies at Ramsey County; 9 books, 1 ebook, and 1 audiobook at Hennepin, 0 at St. Paul Public Libraries.
Summary: Starting at a new school isn’t easy, and Beatrice, whose favorite hobby is pretending to be dead, isn’t expecting to make any friends. But then she meets Jonah, aka “Ghost Boy,” who is also a caller on the bizarre late-night radio show she listens to. Against the odds, the two form a friendship deeper than anyone expected, but nothing like a romance. Even when secrets from Jonah’s family start coming to light, Bea is feeling more real than ever as Jonah starts to fade away. Can Bea hold on to her first true friend? Or will he be torn away from her by his past?
Note: Although no characters are explicitly stated to be asexual, the main relationship is explicitly non-sexual and non-romantic.
Content Warning: The story involves the death of a disabled character to further the plot.
” . . . 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
Potential Discussion Questions
Have you ever had a friendship like Bea and Jonah’s? How was it similar? How was it different?
Would you consider the relationship queerplatonic? Did the author do a good job of portraying that?
Do you read either Bea or Jonah as asexual? Why or why not?
What do you think of the ending? Was it a good choice on the part of the author, or could the story have ended another way?
Both Bea and Jonah bond over obscure and bizarre interests. What are some of the weirder things that you’re interested in?