Thursday, March 15, 2007


The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl, Barry Lyga, Houghton Mifflin, 2006, 315 pp

I read this as part of my foray into Young Adult lit. This is Barry Lyga's first novel. Fanboy is a 14 year old high school sophomore who suffers from social ostracism at school. He hates jocks and is a comic book geek; very intelligent and creative but tortured. Gothgirl dresses in black with white makeup. She is also an outcast but deals with it defiantly.

The two become friends and she encourages him as he creates a graphic novel on an ancient Mac. I was annoyed by the emotional immaturity of Fanboy but I suppose it is realistic for an introverted boy of his age. His mom is divorced, remarried and pregnant. He despises his stepfather and barely communicates with the man.

For a teen reader into comics and graphic novels, a genre with which I am not very familiar, I would imagine that all the references to books and authors (including Neil Gaiman) would be cool. In the end, Fanboy grows up a bit, figures out about girls and has other moments of enlightenment, all of which feels pretty authentic. I liked Fanboy, Gothgirl and the book by the time I finished it.


  1. Congrats on diving into the morass that is YA lit! I guess the new position will have you reading through a lot of this stuff. I think Fanboy and Goth Girl probably required a little knowledge of the big players in graphic novels, but I made do with the assumption that that was who they were.

    So, what's next on your list? Have you read the Meg Cabot oeuvre? The books are little bits of fluff, but the characters are very likable. Leila at Bookshelves of Doom is the undisputed expert of all things YA. I usually get ideas from her blog.

    I look forward to your post (in the possibly distant future) on 'Calamity Physics'

  2. Thanks for the tip on Bookshelves of Doom. Right now, between chapters of Garcia Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera, I am reading the very new and very hot The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I like it. It is a combination of graphic novel and regular novel.

    The daughters of my boss are crazy for two Stephanie Meyers books about vampires, Twilight and New Moon. I will probably read those next.

    I just sold our last hardcover copy of Calamity Physics which reminded me I need to finish that too. What riches to have so many books to look forward to!

    And now you are getting ahead of me on the Lemony Snicket series. I have to read your review through slitted eyes so I don't find out too much:)

  3. I've also heard really good things about Twilight. I keep meaning to pick it up when I go to the library. I just always have such a full bag of books and dvds as it is. I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it.

  4. Ok piksea, I will try to get to it soon, just for you:)