Monday, March 14, 2011

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, by Barry Lyga- Review

Surprise book love affairs are the best! You know those books you get randomly lent, or just stumble into and don't know what to expect, only to open the pages and find yourself being swept away?

A few weeks ago I got a copy of Goth Girl Rising (book two) randomly in the mail from the lovely folks at Harcourt Mifflin.  I'd never noticed it in a book store before, and the blurb on the back was a bit cryptic for someone jumping into the story line without ever hearing of, or reading book 1, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl.  But low and behold, a few pages in I found myself falling for this tough ass little goth chick. I tore through Goth Girl Rising and was so enamoured by the end (which I finished at work on my afternoon coffee break) that I walked straight to the bookstore after work and grabbed The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl so I could read it on my trip home.  There was no way I was going to let these characters go until I was forced to by a lack of any more books.

Fanboy is 15, skinny, loves comics, and has one friend. His parents are divorced, and his mother is not only remarried to the Step-Fascist but she's grossly pregnant with his spawn. Life is pretty bad, but the light at the end of the tunnel is a quickly approaching comic con with one amazing attendee who Fanboy is going to show his very own comic book to. The only thing getting him through the days until college is his beloved graphic novel Schemata, which he's secretly been drawing and writing for six years. Until goth girl blows into his life and turns it upside down.

Fanboy is a classic stereotype geek, right down to his charmingly sarcastic in-my-head-only monologue.  His first reference to the step-fascist had me rolling on the floor, and his absolute lack of being able to deal with the social norm in high school makes you love Kyra even more for taking him under her wing.  It's fun to have such a sophistcated character be so naive at the same time, and throughout it all author Barry Lyga strikes a really believable note with Fanboy that leaves you feeling like you knew this guy growing up.  I can 100% vouch for his artistic bent and all it's inherent foibles being dead on.  The idea that Fanboy has drawn and written 100 pages of his graphic novel but is only really happy with 10 pages is my hubby down to the T.

All in all this is a charismatic and fun story, you and Fanboy are never quite sure what Kyra is going to do next and finding out is an exquisite pleasure that will have you dying for more by the last page.  Not to mention the ups and downs of geekdom in high school are all played out in such a relatable way ,that even if it wasn't your personal high school experience, you'll feel like it was.

As I mentioned before, I read the two books out of order, and it wasn't an issue at all. Although the story is a continuing one, Goth Girl Rising being six months after The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, each of the two books is from a different view point. Book one is Fanboy, book two is Goth Girl (Kyra). They work like two parts of a whole but if one is available to you before the other than don't worry about the order, it worked just fine for me backwards. However it did make me biased to love Kyra right off the bat in the Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, but hey, there's nothing wrong with that!

Make The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl one of your must reads for March/ Spring break this week and I promise you, you won't be disappointed!  I'll be focusing on three of his Brookdale books this week as well as featuring an  Interview with the Lovely Barry Lyga himself.  In the meantime, if you find yourself in NYC this week, make sure to check out the New York Teen Authors Festival, Barry is participating and you don't want to miss out!

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, By Barry Lyga
Published by Harcourt Mifflinm, (paperback) September 2007
Barry Lyga's website
Fanboy and Goth Girls website
Read Chapter 1
Buy The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl from Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I'm Kate Evangelista, author of Taste, and I just wanted to take this time to introduce myself. If you have the time, please stop by The Coffee Bar by using the link below:

    I hope to see you there.