I’m really horrible about reviews. Unless I really feel like blathering on about a book, I usually just read it and then move on, filing it away in my goodreads so I can refer to it if I’m doing some tricky reader’s advisory.
I don’t want to criticize books. I think books need to be reviewed in the context of whether or not the author achieved his or her purpose. I don’t really want to get into good vs. bad writing and the mechanics of both.* If a book is badly written but you still enjoy it, then the book has served its purpose (remember, every book its reader, every reader his or her book, and the right book at the right time**).
Anyway. I looked up How to Say Goodbye in Robot because I liked the cover image and I like robots. I quickly discovered that the book isn’t actually about robots, but I read it anyway. I read it awhile ago, so I can’t be very detailed (you can see a synopsis at the link), but my strongest impression is that I loved reading a book where the primary relationship between a teenage boy and girl wasn’t romantic.
This is very personal to me. In my life many of my closest relationships have been like Bea and Jonah’s—intense, intimate, passionate, but not sexual in anyway. Agape love, perhaps? I think this sort of love and attachment is common for teenagers–many friendships between teenage girls resemble passionate affairs without any truly sexual contact–but you wouldn’t really know that from surveying the literature.
I really enjoyed reading Standiford’s book, and I would give it to any reader who wanted a platonic love story.
Reviewed from library copy.
* Author Justine Larbalestier has an interesting discussion about this topic going on over at her blog. If you’re interested, I suggest reading those posts and comments.
**Does anyone know the origin of “the right book at the right time”?