The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl
Lyga, B. (2006). The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Boston: Random House. ISBN: 0618723927.
"He's a gross little perv. He stands in the main lobby every morning when we all come in and you can see him staring at the girls." She looks over at me, and I guess something shows on my face because she indulges me with that magic grin. "Hey, it's cool for you to stare at the girls, You're not, like, a hundred and ten years old and married. But, I was just sick of him and his shit, so i told him that if he bothered me again, I was going to tell the police that he molested me." "You should have seen the look on his face!" She rears back laughing, smoke purling from her nostrils like a dragon. "Oh shit, man, it was hilarious. I mean, I think he has molested one of the girls before. And after all that crap, man, he looked guilty. I knew I had him. So, I got up and left, but before I left I untucked my shirt and I undid a couple of buttons and I sniffled a little bit when I walked past the secretary's desk. Just to make an impression, you know?
. -page 139
Donnie, or better known as Fanboy, is a 15-year-old high school student. He is also an avid graphic novel aficionado, accelerated student, and unfortunately a walking target for a group of individuals at his high school he has christened "The Jock Jerks". The Jock Jerks terrorize him during lunch, and target him during Phys Ed during dodge ball. One day a girl photographs a picture of Fanboy being targeted during gym class, and that is where the adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl take form.
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl is a novel which takes place in modern day; accurately labeled by critics as the "post Columbine" era. This novel tells a story of typical, real time, teen angst from the perspective of Donnie, or Fanboy. Fanboy is a shy, intelligent high school student that has yet to learn much about life or women at this point in his development. He has one friend in high school named Cal, who is one of the token black students at Fanboy's high school, an athlete that provides a segue between Donnie and the Jock Jerks. Cal is also an avid graphic novel reader and collector. Then, there is Kyra, or better known as Goth Girl. Kyra is portrayed as a goth-centric teen with suicidal tendencies, as well as a passion for graphic novels and stealing cars. She somewhat adopts Fanboy and teaches him to stand up for himself, not be so afraid, and yes, life goes on, and that one's tragic teen life, really isn't that tragic. Though, that adage doesn't have to just apply to teen life.
While reading this book one watches Fanboy emerge as a more outspoken and self confident individual. We also see Fanboy putting aside typical social mores such as what is the standard of beauty, and what is normal in the realms of love and friend and family dynamics. We all have issues, and we are not one or even two dimensional beings. There seems to be a dated trend in YA lit, and possibly all outlets of culture and media that it is the jocks vs. the geeks, beauty queens vs. the outsider, etc., but that is rarely the case, and Lyga does an excellent job of applying humanity and scope to the majority of the characters which he portrays in this novel.
I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone I know that can somewhat relate to or has an interest in geek/outsider culture.
Reviews:Age range: Grade 9 and Up
Barry Lyga's novel (Houghton, 2006) about a smart, geeky, artistic 15-year-old boy with a passion for graphic novels comes to life with Scott Brick's narration. On bad days, Fanboy is bullied and tormented by his peers; on good days, they ignore him. Fanboy meets Kyra, a Goth Girl with requisite attitude who is also an outsider, and she teaches him to stand up for himself. Brick provides fitting voices for the teen and adult characters-including real-life comic artist Brian Michael Bendis-that give the audio an almost cinematic quality.
-School Library Journal
"I'm a computer geek, a comic book geek, a study geek. Even in the Fast-Track classes, I'm apart." Fifteen-year-old Fanboy is miserable at school, where he is bullied, and at home, with his pregnant mother and her husband, the "step-fascist." His only relief is the late hours spent creating his own comic book. Then he receives an instant message from Kyra, an enigmatic Goth who seems to be the only witness to the violence he endures, and the two form a cagey, charged friendship. Unlike Daniel Ehrenhaft's Drawing a Blank (2006), in which a young comics fan embarks on a wild, fantastical adventure, Lyga's debut novel is a darkly comic, realistic, contemporary story of bullying and a teen's private escape in artistic pursuits. Fanboy entertains plenty of violent thoughts. He carries a bullet, keeps a tally of his abusers ("The List"), and lashes out with sometimes-cruel remarks, which feel sharply authentic. The insider comics details will slow some readers, and the open-ended questions about Kyra's personal story will frustrate others. Yet Fanboy's whip-smart, often hilariously sarcastic voice skillfully captures a teenager's growing self-awareness, and adds a fresh, urgent perspective to age-old questions about how young people cope with bullying and their own feelings of helplessness, rage, and being misunderstood as they try to discover themselves.
"...Fanboy's whip-smart, often hilariously sarcastic voice...adds fresh, urgent perspective to age-old questions about how young people cope with...being misunderstood as they try to discover themselves." (Booklist, ALA, Boxed Review )