Friday, May 21, 2010

How To Say Goodbye In Robot, The Mark, and The Six Rules of Maybe

Sometimes, the best thing to do to get back in the swing of writing is read. I didn't realize how excited I would be to come back from college and be able to just read recreationally, to read books that weren't, well, text books or ethnographies or filled with math problems.

This week I read three books, and all of them were VERY good, very inspiring. I can't say any one was better than the others, more that some things just appealed more to me, I suppose. I think my favorite was "How To Say Goodbye in Robot." "The Six Rules of Maybe" had a much happier ending, but "Robot" was offbeat and somehow completely hilarious even though it was sad and bittersweet.
"How to Say Goodbye in Robot" was about a girl dealing with a lot of changes in her life, moving to a new school yet again, and meeting someone of an even higher weirdness caliber. It was about making important friends. It was full of insightful observations and hilariously realistic high school moments and dialogue. I loved it. My favorite thing about the book, I think, was the late night radio show that the main character, Beatrice, found herself listening to before bed each night. Random characters called in to talk, and sort of formed their own little family. My favorite was Don Berman. This book is darkly funny and intelligent, and just painstakingly...real, I suppose. Real about unhappy things, like moving on. I also really love the title, which stems from Beatrice's emotional mother calling her a robot at various times when she doesn't seem to be feeling anything.

"The Mark" was the second book I read, about a girl who can see a glow around people who are about to die. It was different than I expected it to be, but still excellently written. If you just find Jen Nadol (it might be Jenn, sorry) reading the first chapter on youtube, you'll be able tell that it's a good book, and what a great idea, too. The end might seem a little hokey, but I think that's really only because of the way the rest of the story is so convincing, and a reader can so easily suspend disbelief. I really enjoyed the mystery of the book, the independence that the main character, Cassandra, learned, and I liked the way that Nadol wrote about philosophy and tied that into the way Cassandra thought about her ability. It really was great food for thought, and I'm quite sure that sequels and threequels are on the way, so that's exciting too!

"The Six Rules of Maybe" is the book I finished this afternoon. It was really just...beautiful. There was a lot of time spent inside the main character's mind and heart, but it was never tedious or irritating. It was interesting, and some of it rang very true. The main character is Scarlet, her sister is Juliet. Juliet is older, the one who seems favored by their single mother, the perfect one. Juliet comes home unexpectedly married and pregnant, and that's when the trouble starts. Scarlet falls for Juliet's incredibly good husband, Hayden, while Juliet seems to be falling away from him, further as his baby grows inside her. Scarlet turns out to be a very caring, loving person, who has made it her responsibility to take care of everyone, but she finds out that maybe through caring for others, she's been neglecting herself. She also finds out a lot about her family. It's a long, full book, and a superb read. Parts of it had me laughing out loud for like, five minutes, just little insights Scarlet would have and little things she would say or do. There were a lot of smaller characters who made the book even better. Wacky neighbors and misguided friends, an adorable dog.

All of these books are good choices. If you're looking for a more thrilling, mysterious sort of series, go for "The Mark"; if you want something new and eccentric with some biting humor and tears thrown in here and there, go for "How to Say Goodbye in Robot"; and if you want something uplifting, a story about a family who experience some problems and come away from them even stronger and wiser, if you need that happy ending, read "The Six Rules of Maybe."

Now that I've finished those, I think it's time for me to do some writing of my own. Before I go, though, I have to add that most of the books I read over the past week, these and the two I reviewed in my last post, were books I saw on blogs. So thanks again, book bloggers. I keep thinking "We need more good books," but then it turns out that a whole bunch of them are already out there!

(Also, I mentioned "Demon Princess: Reign or Shine" in my last post, but it was incomplete- I just wanted to say that the book was fast-paced, funny, and, well, fun! I can't wait to read the next one, "Reign Check.")


  1. All great reads!

    I read Robot recently and I completely adored it. Deb Caletti is always a good choice and I've heard so much about the Mark.

    These all look so excellent.

  2. I agree, I'm reading "The Secret Life of Prince Charming" by her next! I'll have to check out your review of Robot.

  3. I love Deb Caletti more than I can tell you. The Six Rules of Maybe was my favorite or hers so far.
    How To Say Goodbye In Robot sounds so cute. :]