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Lyga looks at how teens are pushed to their limits by society...His love of comics carries over into all three teen characters, breathing animation into a potentially sad but often funny story. This is a great bridge book for teens who already like graphic novels.
School Library Journal, Starred
Plenty here to keep readers engaged.
So cool that you might want to wrap it in black fabric and have it delivered anonymously to your teenager
What a find.
I want to not ride the bus to school every day, but that would be a waste of a really big want—it’ll take care of itself eventually. Until then, I put up with it, like today.
So what do I want? I want a copy of Giant-Size X-Men #1 in Mint condition.
I would settle for Near Mint, I guess, which would definitely be cheaper, but I’d really like to be able to say that my copy is pretty much perfect. On eBay, a Mint copy starts at at least eight hundred bucks, which is way more than I can afford, but maybe once I get my driver’s license, I can get a job after school and put together the money. Sounds crazy, I know— some ancient comic book from the 1970s. But it’s important.
I also want a new computer. Multiprocessor, maxed-out memory slots, wireless everything . . . When my parents got divorced, my mom got custody of me, and I got custody of the old Pentium clone that used to sit in the den at our old house. Thanks to the very best in Microsoft/Intel engineering, it crashes every time you exhale too hard in its general vicinity. It’s tough to accomplish the kinds of things I want to accomplish with that going on. I want Flash animation! Video editing! Heck, I just want to be able to use Photoshop or Illustrator for ten minutes without rebooting.
Thinking about a pristine Giant-Size X-Men #1 and a humming new computer usually gets me through the bus ride to school. Today’s an exception. Today, I don’t need to spin fantasies because a living, breathing fantasy has just gotten on board: Dina Jurgens, who manages to make climbing the steps to the bus look like something that crazy parents’ groups boycott.
It’s a good day when a goddess gets on the school bus with you. In my two years suffering as this particular school bus stutters over potholes and gravel, winding its way through the back roads of Brookdale, Dina has only ridden a handful of times.
She’s a senior, two years older than I am, but she looks like she could have stepped off a runway somewhere: blond hair, bright green eyes, soft and puffy lips, and a body that’s pure torture. There are plenty of hotties at South Brook High, but Dina’s a cut above and beyond. Of all the things I hate about South Brook, the fact that she’s graduating in a few months is at the top of the list. How am I supposed to go through junior and senior years without catching glimpses of her in the hall?
Dina checks out the seating situation, scanning the back seats, which are packed. The bus driver—a wheezing, leather-faced troll appropriately named Mr. Dull—closes the door and hits the gas, jerking Dina forward a little. She flips her hair out of her eyes, then rolls them at Mr. Dull’s temerity. She heads for the first empty seat, which happens to be, well, next to me.
I try to play it cool, but let’s be honest—that’s tough to do in the presence of a goddess. I go with my first instinct, which is to try to dip my hand into my pocket for the safety totem I keep there. I always feel calmer when I touch it.
But it’s awkward getting a hand into your pocket when you’re sitting down, doubly so when there’s someone right next to you. My elbow brushes her side, and she looks at me like I planned it. “Hey!” “Sorry,” I mumble. I feel like I should explain that I wasn’t trying to touch her, but she’s already looking away.
“What happened, Dina?” Sounds like Kayla Meyer. A junior, one who hasn’t gotten a car yet. One who apparently ranks as Worthy on the Dina Jurgens Scale because her older brother is Steve Meyer, who I think dated Dina’s older sister or something like that. I don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to stuff like that.
“My car wouldn’t start this morning.” “Bummer.” “Yeah, I told my dad that it has to be ready by the weekend because . . .” I tune it out and keep my head down so that no one will bother me. But being so close to Dina rattles me. I keep wanting to turn and stare, but even I know that that’s not cool. So I settle for cutting my eyes left as often as I can. I get flashes of skirt and leg and the shadow of what could be a breast, but I’m not sure and I don’t want to risk looking for longer than, like, a tenth of a second. So it’s sort of like dumping the pieces of a puzzle out on the floor, looking at them, and then trying to put it all together in your head. With your eyes closed. So close! So far!
It goes like that for a little while, the bus jerking and bouncing along, making Dina’s anatomy do very interesting things that she’s apparently unaware of (and of which I’m woefully underaware, given those quick glances). Dina talks with Kayla, the Usual Idiots yell and chatter, and Mr. Dull’s beloved country station blares out of the radio.
At somee point, I realize that I probably look like an idiot, my head bent down, doing nothing (apparently), staring down at my feet. I pretend to look for sooooomething in my backpack, but there’s just school stuff and comic books in there. And God knows I don’t want to pull out a comic book while Dina’s sitting next to me! I wish I had something—anything—else to read, something that didn’t scream “Geek!” at the top of its lungs and jump around in nerdly war paint. Like . . . I don’t know . . . Hot Rod?
When we screech to a tooth-grinding halt at the school, a sudden brilliant stroke hits me. Dina is sitting next to me. On the aisle. She’ll get up to leave and I’ll get up behind her. Behind her. From here to the exit, I’ll be right behind her, with an unobstructed view of The Back of Dina Jurgens. Not as splendid a sight as The Front, but not bad in its own right. Sweet.
So Dina gets up and I grab my backpack (watching her legs as I do so—wow), then get up and move to get behind her— And Mark Broderick pushes me back. “Move it.” He doesn’t even look at me as he does it. He’s a big senior with short bleached hair and a face like old hamburger. He dresses like Eminem, if Eminem weighed twenty pounds too much and couldn’t keep the sweat stains from spreading out under his armpits. This is the weirdest part—he smells like boiling leather. I’ve never been able to figure that part out.
Up until now, the only contact I’ve ever had with him was smelling that unique aroma as he walked past me on the bus. But right now I watch him as he struts up to the door behind Dina. A flood of bigger, meaner, and/or tougher kids fills the aisle, and I’m not about to step into that flood, so I just stand here and wait and watch Mark’s back and the buzzcut that clutches his scalp.
Now that I’m standing, it’s easy to slip my hand into my pocket. As usual, I feel immediate calm when I touch the bullet that I keep there. I started carrying it about a year ago.
Everything’s OK; I’ve added Mark to The List.
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. Copyright (c) 2006 by Barry Lyga. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Posted August 4, 2009
Favorable: Insightful and will have you in a LOL! mood.
Once you bypass the "perverse" vernacular and enjoy the native language of Fanboy and Goth Girl, you should be laughing and engrossed in the storyline. How Fanboy and Goth Girl met was weird for Fanboy, yet he was delighted. One of Goth Girl's statements was, "Other people are just . there." . "If they aren't helping, they're just in the way. Weave around them, knock them over, do whatever you have to, but get past them." Another was, "Adults are idiots. They think they're in charge and they think they have some kind of authority, but you know what? They're idiots. They're just grown-up kids with more money who listen to *@*@*@ music and hate everyone younger than them because they know they've @*@*@*@ up their lives and they want another shot at it. But all of us, all of us kids think that adults are in charge, too. They've got us messed up, up here," this is adrenaline with attitude. If you want action, adventure, drama, & stimulating dialogue it's here.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2009
I Also Recommend:
no one believes me that this book is good, but this book is great. its the type of book that makes you want to cry, get angry, laugh (i don't know how many times i laghed out loud). i would recomend this book to any one!!
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2008
Barry Lyga explodes into the teen literature world with his unique debut novel. THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL is a novel about one young man's journey through confidence development. <BR/><BR/>Fanboy, a sophomore in high school, floats through life hoping to remain invisible since he has, more than once, fallen victim to bullies. His life is a lonely life. His parents have been divorced for six years, his mother is remarried and pregnant, visits with his father are becoming less frequent due to his father's increased social life, and he doesn't relate to his stepfather at all. <BR/><BR/>Fanboy has been compiling a list for quite some time. The list includes people that have "pissed" him off for no particular reason. Once you are on the list, you never get off. This includes the jock jerks and girls from the cliques that seem to dismiss him as if he has no business even attending school with them. <BR/><BR/>One bright spot in Fanboy's day is visiting with his friend Cal. Cal is a jock jerk, but also has a passion for comic books, and the two often debate, in depth, about different issues in the comic book universe. The problem with being friends with Cal is, since he is a jock jerk, he doesn't act like much of a friend at school. Fanboy knows to back off when Cal's teammates approach them at school. Most of their conversations take place on the weekends or at night through instant messages. <BR/><BR/>Fanboy's life begins to change when he receives an instant message from an unknown person. Fearing it is another trick to humiliate him, he doesn't respond. After several messages and an email, he learns that it is a girl from his gym class. Kyra has been witnessing his torment the entire year. She has taken pictures of a bully hitting him in the arm while the teachers do nothing. After this initial contact through instant messaging, they agree to meet and Fanboy's life will never be the same. <BR/><BR/>The biggest secret in Fanboy's life, which he hasn't even shared with Cal, is the graphic novel he is creating. Schemata takes up all of his free time and he can't stop himself from sharing it with Kyra. She becomes a huge supporter and inspiration for the graphic novel. Fanboy is planning to attend a comic book convention where Michael Bendis himself is going to be signing autographs. Fanboy intends to show Bendis his work and truly believes it will be the break he needs to get Schemata published. Surprising and disastrous events at the convention lead Fanboy to worry about Kyra's well-being. While things don't work out exactly as he plans, Fanboy realizes confidence is the key to his problems. After many uncharacteristic behaviors, he manages to come to terms with some of the issues in his life and makes plans for the future. He even takes someone off "the list." <BR/><BR/>THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy teenage problem novels. Comic book fans will enjoy the graphic novel references, especially the cameo appearance by Michael Bendis. While the ending left me slightly unsatisfied, it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of this novel. This will be a great addition to any collection.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 6, 2013
I wanted to like this book. Really, I did. As a newcomer to the goth scene and a longtime geek, not to mention someone who always loves zany adventures, this book at had so much promise. So I read it through to the end, even when I just had to cringe at the sloppy handling of some really interesting themes.
Technically, the writing was good. It was engaging and often funny. But the actual stuff of the novel seemed to swing between painfully cliched and painfully self-aware about the cliches. I could never quite tell if the characters were meant to be deconstruction of the fanboy/goth characters, or if they were just not that well-rounded. I haven't read any other Barry Lyga books, but my hope is that he can keep up the writing level and brush up the substance.
The characters are well-written, but extremely unlikeable. Fanboy, the main character, has great emotional characterization and I felt bad when he felt bad, felt good when he was happy. Kyra (Goth Girl) was both snarky and witty, a nice crowdpleasing combination. But if this book is the testament to geek culture that it likes to proclaim itself as, the quirky coming-of-age novel for outcasts, etc etc, why was I constantly wanting to stop reading to yell "Wait! Stop! That's not us! Please don't think that's us!"
The characters were whiny. I'm just going to be honest here. I know being fifteen sucks, and they certainly had angst aplenty to talk about (Kyra's got a dead mom, has attempted suicide, steals cars; Fanboy's being beaten up in school and his dad's abandoned him). But these issues are never explored in any depth, and instead used to justify the characters' "clever" relations and condemnations of people, who apparently suck a lot.
And while the characters complained a lot, the actual emotionally significant themes that I wanted them to focus on were brushed off. While Fanboy was gazing at Gorgeous Goddess Dina for the fifth time, a seemingly throwaway scene involved him imagining terrorists shooting up the school. Are we actually supposed to be cheering when our protagonists threaten the principal with false rape accusations? The really intense underlying issues that could be explored here just... aren't. There's no discussion of created victimization or the fight-or-flight reflex in escapism. The characters never think about the power of sexuality. Apart from one line, they never even question if it's okay to be having these incredibly violent fantasies. I lost all respect for the characters around their rape accusation scenes. I'm sorry, but you can't throw that into a novel without examining it.
The foreshadowing was excellently placed, except for the fact that the climax happened in the last three pages and didn't really seem to resolve any of the issues, give any sort of closure, or relate to the character development that had been meandering along so far. I had to reread the ending twice to see what was intended, and it was a far cry from what the rest of the book seemed to be working on. Kyra didn't commit suicide, I'm glad to hear it- but everything about her lying, about Fanboy wanting to help her, about the new List, his acceptance of his new family- it was rushed and confused, and seemed pretty random.
Posted August 1, 2013
This book was relly entertaining. Even though I finished it early, I really thought it was great. Whoever hasn't read this yet, read it now. I recommend this for 12 years and up. Thanks for listening.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2013
Posted October 8, 2012
Posted August 27, 2012
I listened to the audiobook of this story, which was confusing at times. The story is told by Fanboy, it’s his point of view and his mind we are entering. With the audio version it was hard to tell what he was thinking versus what he was saying out loud. I’m still not quite sure which was which in many cases. The title of the book is also misleading. There are NO astonishing adventures to be had in the book. So, not what I was expecting. The title should be The Life of Fanboy. Goth Girl is a side character and never makes her way to being a main character, so I don’t feel she deserves a place in the title.
That being said, the story broke my heart so many times. Lyga’s descriptions of how a fan feels, how an artist lives, and what it’s like to be an unpopular teenager made me wince more than once. As I listened I kept pleading with Fanboy to open his eyes and I wanted to tell him what the world was really like. He wasn’t being realistic and I didn’t want to see him crushed. This is definitely a story for comic or graphic novel fans as they will truly understand what the book is about.
Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Posted May 13, 2012
Posted April 25, 2012
Posted March 13, 2012
Posted May 15, 2011
Posted April 28, 2010
I tend to cruise B&N for books to keep my daughter occupied, and found this gem for her. She exhaled it in about a day, and talked about the characters' 'real life' behaviors. Thanks to the author for a great story; she also enjoyed 'Goth Girl Rising".
Still looking for other books, though.....
Posted December 19, 2009
it seem like a regular romance novel in the beggining, but once you read deeper into it, you'll seem to get more into it. I love the ending because of the twist of it. i am not going to spoil it, but let just say almost the ending, when Donnie's heart was racing, so was mine.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2009
I loved this book, one of my friends recommended it to me for a book project we had to do for english and because apperantley I "like boring books." So I read it and wow, this was a page turner! Good story but I have to admit I wasn't thrilled about the ending. But I most definitely recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 8, 2008
Posted February 29, 2008
This incredible book tells about the sophomore year of a geek. His entire life has been full of bullies and getting picked on. But that all changes when he meets Kyra. From talking back to his mom to threatening a teacher, Kyra changes him completely. But he finds out a dark secret about Kyra. Barry Lyga's use of literary devices was incredible. For example, foreshadowing, when Fanboy lost his bullet and remembered Kyra asking for a bullet. Barry lyga gave clues, including the bullet, that Kyra was planning to kill herself. Simile was used well, too, when Kyra was crying she started yelling insult after insult and Fanboy said to himself 'it was like being slapped in the face over and over.' And the bullet was a symbol of protection to Fanboy and a symbol of a way out for Kyra. The whole book was pretty good but I think my favorite part was when Kyra broke down and started crying. That shows that you cannot just rely on yourself. You need to let people in. Even though the book is good, one part is kind of bad. It was the part where Fanboy got a migraine. It wasn't really all that bad, but it was kind of pointless. Barry Lyga didn't make the book awful by putting the migraine in it, but it really didn't make any sense to me to have it in there. Overall this book was one of the best books I have ever read. I would definitely recommend this to any teenager who is looking for a book they can relate to, or to any body that is just looking for a good book. I would definitely give this book five stars and I can¿t wait to see if Barry Lyga writes a sequel to thisWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 24, 2007
I loved the characters in this book, and how accurate everything is! I'm a sophomore also, and I'm studying the exact things that were studied in the school in this book, like Emerson and Transcendentalists and Poe. I loved some of the lines in here, such as 'What else can I do? I'm fifteen, for God's sake. What else am I supposed to do?' and 'May God forever damn librarians and their need to help!' among others. An excellent read for all teenagers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2008
This is by far my favorite book. I thought I would hate it because I've never in my life picked up a comic book, yet alone could understand the references given. But, even with my lack of knowledge, the author was able to paint an amazing picture of life and its realities. I was able to relate with every character in a way that most books lack. I usually hate reading from a guy's perspective but every struggle he faces is something I can relate to. With a great ending to top it off, this book is one of the best for sure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 7, 2007
I pick this book up on a whim and it was a great choice.It intails great writing that makes you relate to fanboy. Almost everything that happens in the story is believable and sometimes that will make you cringe but all around a great book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.