Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (October 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618723927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618723928
  • List Price: $16.95
  • I finished this book on Mar. 24
I first encountered this book in the fall in the vendor tents at the NYLA conference. The cover caught my eye. I stood and looked at it as long as I could before some shifty Houghton Mifflin guy started skeezing around me and I had to leave. After that it earned a spot on the ever growing list of books I want to read. (I heart books, and I heart lists - this list is like a living breathing post-it monster that I carry bits of around like a total nerd) Anywho, this one got bumped up on the list due to Mr. Lyga's impending appearance at the Teen Book Festival that's coming (sort of near) here soon. Good times.
So, okay, first off: points for an excellent title. More points for having a funny, nerdy absolutely realistic and believable narrator. I am a little in love. Here's the rub, our hero (nerdy sophomore Fanboy, who's real name I think is Don but that's totally not important) is writing a graphic novel. More accurately, he's birthing a graphic novel he's been cooking up forever. He works on it constantly, trying to perfect it even though he has to use a sub par computer. His plan is to show it to his hero/comic book god mentor guy Brian Michael Bendis at an upcoming comic con. His plans are altered when he meets Kyra (goth girl), a sort of rude, unpredictable, smart, disenfranchised girl at his school. He ends up showing her his graphic novel (which he hasn't even told his best friend about) and she tries to help him. Only her help is not the kind of thing one exactly thinks of as 'help.'
I've got to say, from my cursory glances at it back in the Fall, it wasn't what I expected. It was actually a totally different kind of things. I'm not mad though, I actually think I'm happier with what it was than with what I was expecting. In addition, the book uses Fanboy's IM conversations: which is a new(er) thing in YA books. I've seen it used copiously in some places, but it was just right here. I think there may have been more if poor Fanboy wasn't struggling with such a POS computer.
The whole time I was reading it I was concerned that something bad was going to happen. While there was darkness, nothing overly tragic happened. The end left an enjoyable taste in my mouth. There was some making fun of wanna be goth girls who love Gaiman (at which I looked around shocked and went..."Who, me?") so that was funny too.
The more I think about it, the more I really liked the book. I'm not the only one, either, School Library Journal listed it as one of the best books of 2006. This is Lyga's first published YA novel, and I'm looking forward to more. I encourage the checking out of the following websites: Lyga's own site and the Fanboy and Gothgirl site.
I only wish that I was reading Fanboy's completed graphic novel. I'm just saying...

1 comment:

Carl V. said...

This one sounds great! I have to snag myself a copy of this!!!