The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl – Barry Lyga

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Liga
Genre: Young Adult fiction
Form: Audio Book
Narrator: Scott Brick
Series: Not a series, but sequel coming Fall 2009

Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form nown as Fanboy’s new little brother or sister.

Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he’s been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced wil lead to publication, fame, and – most important of all – a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and away from all the people who make it hell for him. When Fanboy meets Kyra a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies.

But Kyra has secrets, too. And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams…or down a path into his own and Goth Girl, darkness.

Source: Back of audio book

One word summary: Wonderful!
Fanboy and Goth Girl is one of those books that you just don’t want to stop until you reach the end. First off, listening to this as an audio book instead of reading it – I think it may have actually made the book for me. The narrative was great – and the narrator did very well at capturing the heart of the text as well. The dialogue between characters is spot on! Barry captures the teenage thing perfectly.
I honestly feel that the best parts of the book are the lessons learned. I feel like Fanboy ,whom the only other name we are given for him is “Donnie,” is very troubled and seems to feel like he’s on the outside of everything looking in. He’s got a bit of a temper, but also is extremely reasonable and not apt to getting overly carried away…most of the time. I was surprised by his thought process, and felt that Barry Lyga captured the head of a teenager with decent precision. Fanboy is picked on, teased, bumped, punched, and just seems to be the target for all that is bad. At least that is how it is from his perspective. He has exactly one friend as the book opens. What he realizes as the book moves forward, is that he’s not the only person who is made fun of (proven by a car ride with Cal and some of Cal’s other friends). He learns that while at school, he’s not completely invisible (proven by Cal – when he notices Kyra aka Goth Girl’s emergence in his life. Also proven by Kyra when she notices the beating he gets daily at gym). He learns when he has confidence and believes in himself, he’s not small and helpless (proven during his revenge on his gym class abuser, and his visit to the principle’s office). He learns the difference between lusting after some hot chick and what it is to really like someone (his first kiss). I think most of all, he learned everyone has something that is important to them – and it does not always line up with how he feels. I felt that by the end of the book he was discovering how selfish he was. In some ways, despite the fact that he was treated badly on some levels, Fanboy was a bit of a brat. He expected everything to fall right into line with what he wanted – which he seemed to be rectifying by the end of the book.
I am excited about the sequel. Goth Girl, though she played such a prominate part of this book and Fan Boy’s maturing, lacked her own resolve. I felt like her character was just left hanging…while the book was narrated and most about Fanboy, Goth Girl deserves her own growth process as well.

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