Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: September 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Ghost Boy: Nighty-night, Robot Girl.
Robot Girl: Nighty-night.
Ghost Boy is a liar, liar liar liar, I thought drowsily as I drifted off to sleep. He does too want a friend. Even if she is a little stiff. That night I dreamed of bridges made of diamonds.
Robot Girl isn’t her name. Robot Girl is the name she uses for the radio. Her real name is Beatrice. Ghost Boy isn’t his name. Ghost Boy is the name he uses for the radio. His real name is Jonah.
Both are fairly odd.
Stuck together because of the alphabet- “Szabo” and “Tate”, at first they don’t like each other. Bea thinks he’s weird (which he is), and… we don’t know what he thinks. He says he doesn’t want a friend. But then he tells her- or, “Future Beatrice” tells her- of the Night Lights. A radio station that plays at, and a bit before, midnight.
This is their first connection.
Over time, they develop love. Not romance love, but love of friendship. They are connected by secrets, and the radio, by their need for each other.
I sometimes wonder whether radio geeks have some kind of symbol tattooed on their foreheads, or antennae growing out of their skulls, invisible to everyone except other radio geeks. they seem to find one another with shocking ease.
I really really enjoyed this book. It was funny at all the right bits (right after a truly emotional part), and it was definitely a thought provoking book. The characters were fantastic, and I truly became attached to them. The plot was, as far as I’ve read, unique, and the different dilemmas, while they definitely seemed surreal, were convincing enough to keep me reading. The ending is very bittersweet, and it made me cry. Overall, I’m going to give this book five stars.
“I think ghostliness is a good quality. I pretend I’m dead all the time.”
“What?” He stopped rummaging through his locker to look at me full in the face at last.
“It helps me go to sleep.”

The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Kate sat down on the top of the steps and began drinking her milk shake. Her next-door neighbor Courtney was standing in her front yard. Courtney was six, and she thought everything Kate did was terrific. Kate could dump a bucket of mud over her head and run in circles around her yard, and Courtney would say, I want to do that! Show me how to do that!
Kate and Marylin are best friends. They have lived on the same street for their entire lives. They compromise. They agree on who’s good to kiss, and who isn’t. They agree about things like who is stuck up and who isn’t. And then a new girl moves in, and trouble starts. Or maybe it started long before. Who knows. But soon Marylin and Kate are experiencing drifting… Marylin is “growing up” and Kate still hates romance. They want to get their “language” back- the way they can understand each other with no words. But sometimes that’s hard. And sometimes, sometimes change is a good thing. Both girls gain new friends, new interests, new outlooks, and learn to be individual.
Kate was amazed that little kids never seemed to care about what they wore. Once she had seen Courtney walk down the hall at school dressed in ballet slippers, overalls, and a sweater wrapped around her head like a turban. Courtney appeared to have no idea that at that moment she looked like the weirdest person in the world.
I had some issues with this book.
First, while overall, I think it has good messages, it was filled with the popularity stuff that I try to avoid. you know, the “he’s a geek so you should hate him” and “She’s a cheerleader so she’s going to be amazing.” I hate that stuff. I think this book was very contrary, because it was pointing at the messages “you should look beyond outward appearances,” and yet it was actually shoving the “appearances are everything” at you. I did not like that. Second, I think the book gave a very unfair view of cheerleaders. They are not all uppity snobs. I know some cheerleaders- they’re my friends. First, cheerleaders DO get along with geeks/nerds. Second, cheerleaders are NOT always smiling. Third, just because someone’s a cheerleader doesn’t mean they can’t play basketball!!! golly.
So, overall, it wasn’t a terrible book, but I didn’t really like it. I’d give it about two stars. The two redeeming people in it were Paisley, Kate’s new friend, and Petey, Marylin’s brother. I liked Petey and Paisley a lot. 😀

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