Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Robots and Lani Garver

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford follows the story of Beatrice (or Bea), a the new girl, expecting to best friends with the first person she meets at school. However, during the daily school assembly, she is forced to sit next to Jonah (or Ghost Boy), the quiet, timid boy who hasn't made a friend since third grade. Something about Jonah draws Bea to him, and as she gets closer to him, all she wants to do is to dispel the gloom that seems to surround Jonah. Are her efforts enough? Or has is always been Jonah's fate to disappear forever?

I think the main thing that I liked about this novel was that there was no forced romance between Bea and Jonah. Sure, there were hints of it throughout the story, however it didn't turn into the typical teen romance. Instead, it was just a story about two quirky teens on the outskirts of the social order and the friendship that the two of them formed. Standiford did an excellent job of characterization, especially with Bea and Jonah. They were both real and relatable characters, and many teens who are considered "not cool" would definitely be able to find themselves somewhere in How to Say Goodbye in Robot. It is a beautifully written, quirky novel that teens should definitely pick up off the shelf.

In What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci, the residents of Hackett Island don't take to new comers very well. They always have to know who they are, where they come from, what they're about. However, no one can figure out the new kid, Lani Garver. Unlike everyone else in her class, Claire McKenzie doesn't want to join in the tormenting that her fellow classmates put Lani through. Instead, she befriends him, wanting to learn more about him. Within days of Lani's arrival, tragedy strikes, and Claire must rethink her friendships, figure out how to fight her personal demons, and consider the possibility that angels could exist on earth.

This book does an excellent job of making you feel things. There are moments of humor, moments of anger, moments of sadness, I don't think there's an emotion that the reader doesn't feel when reading this book. And similarly to Robot, Lani Garver has some very fleshed out characters who just seem to jump off the page. Having real, rounded out characters allows the reader to completely fall into the story, and throughout the whole novel, the reader really feels for Claire and Lani. And while I was expecting the ending (it's mentioned in the preface of the book, and really works to pull the reader into the story), I was still engrossed enough, and desperately wanted to know how they got there. This novel should go on everyone's to-read lists. It's absolutely beautiful.

Until next time, happy reading! :)

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