Friday, January 11, 2013

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

by Barry Lyga
Houghton Mifflin | 2006
Buy it here!

Lyga's first novel is truly fantastic. Fanboy is a comic-obsessed geek who is bullied at school. Goth Girl is a troubled recluse who can't stand to see Fanboy treated so terribly. When she chooses him as a friend, the unlikely pair end up discovering (sort of) what's most important (kind of). Their misunderstanding of each other, of their relationship, and the stumbles as they try to figure out who they are, alone and together, is very well done.

I don't really care about comics, yet Fanboy's dedication to his magnus opus, his graphic novel, kept me incredibly engaged. And Lyga's ability to write a believable girl character becomes even more legitimized in this book's sequel--Goth Girl Rising (2009)--written in the first person from the perspective of a teenage girl. The realistic portrayal of a suburban high school is Lyga's greatest accomplishment, I think. He has a real ability to consider what teens care about and how they think and then captures it in Brookdale High School, where a number of his novels take place.

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