New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?
Natalie Standiford skillfully reveals rich emotional landscapes as she takes the reader through the complicated, painful and gorgeous lives of her characters as they confront their losses and navigate the gaps left in their wake. (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
Bea's darkly comic sensibility carries the story...There's no happy ending, but that, too, will give this first novel resonance with anybody on the fringe. Ages 13–up.
Credit is due to Standiford for the delicate portrayal of Jonah’s home life, which could have veered into soap-opera territory... The heart of this novel is
neither cold and metallic nor full of romance and delusion. Instead, it’s very human.
Starred Review.A decidedly purposeful not-love story, this has all the makings of a cult hit with a flavor similar to Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999). Ages 12+.
School Library Journal
Starred Review. Teens will identify with the intense emotions of Beatrice and Jonas, the reasons they are drawn to each other, and the ups and downs of their relationship. An outstanding choice for a book discussion group.
Libba Bray, author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine
Sweet, sad, wonderfully quirky, and delightfully original, Natalie Standiford’s beautifully honest book made me laugh in surprise, nod in understanding, and wish that I were part robot so that my heart would stop breaking.
The All-YA-Author Band
Natalie Standiford is a rock star! Not only does she write books for children and young adults, but she is also in two bands.
One is a punk rock band called Ruffian, and the other - check this out! - is an all YA-author band called Tiger Beat. Natalie's band-mates include Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Barnabas Miller. Natalie plays the bass guitar. Tiger Beat had their debut in March 2009 in the New York City independent bookstore Books of Wonder. Can you imagine rocking out to familiar cover tunes and then buying books and having the authors-musicians sign them - all at once!
Natalie Standiford's website
Photos of Tiger Beat's performance at Books of Wonder
The story of Tessa, a young teenage girl who has only months to live ... a brilliantly crafted novel, heartbreaking yet life-affirming.
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