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The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

Review

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

Things are going from bad to worse for 15-year-old comic book geek Donnie, aka "Fanboy." He keeps getting bullied in school. His parents are divorced and now his mother is pregnant with the "step-fascist's" baby. "The List" of people he'd rather have far away from his school keeps getting bigger and bigger. And now, his only friend Cal is becoming more obsessed with sports than comic books.

Donnie has several tools that help him in his struggle with high school survival. He carries in his pocket a bullet, which is like a security blanket; just knowing it's there soothes him. But the thing that gets him through it all is the graphic novel he is working on, SCHEMATA. He's convinced that if he shows his work to the famous author Bendis, he'll get signed --- and a ticket right out of town.

As he deals with his daily struggles, Donnie starts going through another torture. In gym class, Mitchell Frampton keeps punching him in the same spot on his arm over and over again. Nobody seems to notice --- nobody but a flash of white and black from the bleachers, that is. And then Donnie gets an anonymous IM from Promeatha387 asking, "Why do you let him hit you?" Promeatha is the name of an Alan Moore comic book character, and it immediately gets Donnie's attention.

They meet at the playground after school. Promeatha387 turns out to be Kyra, aka "Goth Girl," who wears all black and has black dyed hair. "Her face is so pale…that I can't even think of something to compare it to. Chalk? Kabuki makeup? Liquid Paper? Her eyes are brown stamps on it, her nose a bump that sparkles with a red stone through one side. Her mouth twists in a sneer, her lower lip is pierced at the corner, and the ring somehow makes the sneer broader."

She calls him "Fanboy" for his taste in comics and has a powerful personality and a voice that's "low, sardonic, defensive." Fanboy starts spending more time with Goth Girl, who has more in common with him now than his friend Cal, who is obsessed with his lacrosse team. Goth Girl shares freely her opinions and stories about the world. She also encourages Fanboy to continue with his graphic novel. In the end, the relationship with Goth Girl helps Fanboy figure out who he really is.

Author Barry Lyga, "a recovering comic book geek," spent years working in the comic book industry. His love of comics clearly comes out in the character of Fanboy.

THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL is an impressive first novel with heart and raw emotion that tackles serious problems real teens face today. The characters are so alive that they jump off the page and will stick in the reader's mind for days after putting the book down. Fanboy's voice is strong, sarcastic and often hilarious. He also has so much depth and heart that the reader can't help but root for him every step of his tumultuous journey.

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on October 2, 2006

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl
by Barry Lyga

  • Publication Date: October 2, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
  • ISBN-10: 0618723927
  • ISBN-13: 9780618723928