Pink cover of How To Say Goodbye in Robot, with a black phone hanging by a cord

About the Book

Title: How to Say Goodbye in Robot
Published: 2009
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

BFF Charm: Yay! Mostly.
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Whedonesque
Bonus Factors: Midnight Radio, Mysterious Loner Dude
Relationship Status: Sweethearts

The Deal:

Bea has just moved to Baltimore from Ithaca. It’s the latest in a long line of moves, since her dad, a college professor, keeps hopping from campus to campus. (This reminds me of my own father, whose dad was an economics professor. They moved around a lot – my dad always told me it was because my grandfather hated to publish and therefore never got tenure; my grandpa told me it was just because he enjoyed skipping out on the rent.)

While attending her first day at her new school, fate and the alphabet conspire to sit Bea next to Jonah, known to everyone as Ghost Boy. Jonah doesn’t talk much to most of the kids in school, but he starts paying attention to Bea. Soon, they’re doing everything together – listening to talk shows on the radio, going on adventures, and trying to solve the mystery of Jonah’s family. Nothing can break their bond . . . except maybe Jonah himself.

BFF Charm: Yay! Mostly!

Yay BFF Charm

Can I be BFF with Bea AND Jonah? Cause I want to do everything with them. I want to fly on the magic carpet over Baltimore! And drink in dingy little bars that have crack addicts in the corner! And dress up in costumes and stage photos of old movies!

But if I WERE BFF with Bea, I’d sit her down and Get Real with her (and this is where the “mostly” part comes in). Bea! Pay more attention to your mother. She’s cracking up! Stop being so self-absorbed sometimes! And don’t let your dad be so mean to her, either.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Bea and Jonah aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend. They don’t exchange smoochies under the bleachers at school, and they don’t go on dates, exactly. But they’re in love, and their bond runs deep. And that’s great, but it doesn’t lend itself to any romantic palpatations. Sadly.

Talky Talk: Whedonesque

You know how, on Buffy, everyone talked really funny and, even though you never hear people say “major whiggins” in real life, the characters on the show always sounded really authentic, cause they were speaking your life story? (well, metaphorically, anyway, I haven’t dated any actual vampires. Yet.)

How to Say Goodbye in Robot is a lot like Buffy. I don’t always believe the words the characters use, but I always believe what they’re saying.

Bonus Factor: Midnight Radio

A vintage wooden box radio

Jonah turns Bea on to a late night talk radio show, which they listen to almost every night. The host and callers of the show are characters in their own right, and I cared about them just as much as I did Bea and Jonah. I want a local late-night call-in talk show on the radio!! Only instead of late-night, I actually want it to be at 3 pm. Because I’man old lady who is usually asleep by 9 pm.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Jordan Catalano, a hot brooding stoner, in My So-Called Life

Jonah’s totally a mysterious loner dude! Only, instead of looking/acting like Jordan Catalano, he looks and acts more like Brian Krackow. Hey, maybe he’ll proof-read my love letters!

Relationship Status: Sweethearts

I don’t mean that this book and I are sweethearts (although we certainly can be). I mean that I feel about this book how I feel about Sweethearts. And in a lot of ways, they’re very similar books – two friends who are so in love that their relationship defies words like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” A whole mess of family issues. And a heartbreaker of an ending that leaves me crying like a banshee while clutching the book in question and wailing, “Come home, Cameron Quick/Ghost Boy!!”

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails in exchange for this review.