Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book-Crush Wednesday (4)

Woohoo! It's Wednesday! Time to talk books!

Before we get started, have you been over to WriteOnCon? Amazing things are happening over there. Crits, sessions, chats, and lots of learning. Major props to the organizers - I'm getting a LOT out of the conference! And it's FREE! Yay! So if you haven't been there...go. NOW.

OK, where were we? Oh yeah. Book-crush Wednesday. Today's crush is on a fabulous book called How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford. I read this book earlier this year and my mind was blown. BLOWN, people.

First of all, let's talk about the cover. It's PINK. Pink is pretty much the best cover ever. If I didn't think it would drive readers away, I would have an all-pink blog background with pink text, a pink header, and pink active links. Also, the chapter headers are PINK. I would like to hire Natalie Standiford's design team to work on my book, please. (Because pink is obviously the best choice when you are trying to attract people to a dystopian book. Clearly.)

But what really made me love this book was the voice. The main character, Bea, can definitely be unsympathetic at times, but she's also quirky and made me laugh. And the cast of characters that surrounds her absolutely jumps off the page with life. All of them have their own stories, their own characteristics, even if not all of them get the chance to play out on the pages of the book. Particularly the radio show participants - Don Berman, Myrna, Larry - are so wonderful that I can see myself scanning the AM stations at midnight, hoping for a Night Lights of my own to whisk me away on a carpet ride one lonely night.

I also loved that Bea and Jonah, the male main character, could have a true, no underlying chance at love, real best friendship. As someone who had a male best friend in high school, it was totally refreshing to see that on the page. I feel like so often in YA books it's easy to let the best friends of opposite genders become love interests (and it's natural, too), but for Bea and Jonah it didn't even seem to be a possibility.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot is not a light read. In fact, I would even say it's heartbreaking, gut-wrenching at times. And yet the writing is so excellent that Natalie Standiford can pack an emotional punch while she's describes the hottest guy in school or a batty old lady. And the ending? One of the most amazing and tragic and hopeful things I've read in a long time.

This book is wonderful because it's not about boys, or crushes, or school, or any of that. It's just about the power of friendship, and how a beautiful friendship can simultaneously repair and destroy two very damaged people. I know last week I talked about The Sky is Everywhere, and many of you said you loved that book. I think fans of Jandy Nelson will probably enjoy How to Say Goodbye in Robot, as well.

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