VOYA - Kimberly Paone
Kyra Sellers has just done a stint at a Maryland mental hospital after considering a second suicide attempt. She returns to her high school angry and confused, not understanding why the boy she left behind has changed so muchhe is much cooler and almost popular. Deciding to exact revenge on him, Kyra invents and follows through on several plans of action, but her bad behavior, frequent trips to the assistant principal's office, arguments with her father, and sweeping transformations of her look seem to continually get in her way. Kyra is also still dealing with her mother's death and trying to understand her sexuality, which does not make anything easier. This sequel to The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006/VOYA October 2006) continues with the amazing comic book references (the book is basically a love letter to Neil Gaiman), tension between Fanboy and Kyra, and the same emotional ups and downs that were in the first book, but now it is Kyra's story to tell. Although most of the book's action takes place through a struggle inside Kyra's head, readers will appreciate her journey and cheer at the end. Lyga finds his inner femaleshe is angry, destructive, and "effed up," but very real and raw. Kyra is a girl with whom others (goth or not) will identify, and her growth will inevitably bring hope to some of the hopeless. It is a no-brainer that fans of the first book will eat this one up, but new readers will not have any trouble following the story as Lyga peppers this book with ample information from the first. Buy multiple copies of this oneit will go out and get passed aroundand might not come back. Reviewer: Kimberly Paone
Lyga returns to the characters and school from The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, this time writing as Kyra, just released from a mental hospital. Kyra is mad at her dad for committing her, at friends who copy her new all-white clothes look and at a “hypocrite” teacher who espouses feminism but uses her body for attention. She focuses her anger on Fanboy, who played a role in her hospitalization and then ignored her for six months (meanwhile, publishing his comic in the school literary journal and becoming more confident—and popular). But even as Kyra plots revenge, she realizes she has other feelings (“God, I just want to tear his head off. And throw him down on the bed”). Her revenge plans never seem fully credible, but Kyra remains a fierce, unstoppable character. Readers will love getting her side of the story, whether she is raging about sexism in letters to her hero, writer Neil Gaiman, or finally figuring out that the person she needs is “someone who appreciates not just what you do, but how you do it.” Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
"My mother and I both spent a lot of time in hospitals. Unlike her, I survived." With this striking opening, Lyga delivers a riveting sequel to his critically acclaimed The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Goth Girl arrives home after six months in the mental hospital to find both that nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. Nothing has changed, in that she still continues to frustrate her grieving father, still has an ambivalent response to the pleasure she finds in kissing her girlfriend Jecca, still rages against her emerging woman's body with its overly large breasts. Everything has changed, in that Fanboy is nowget this!popular!; with his graphic novel, Schemata, serialized in the once-incredibly-lame school literary magazine. Unable to forgive Fanboy for failing to contact her in the hospital, and for seemingly flourishing without her, Goth Girl catalogs "the many sins of Fanboy," ("9. He told me I'm a suicide wannabe. 10. He told me to try harder next time. 11. He wanted to kiss me. 12. He didn't kiss me.") and, with great and terrifying thoroughness, plots her revenge. Lyga shows himself astonishingly able to enter into the angry, sarcastic, cynical, and heartbroken psyche of a seriously damagedbut also remarkably resilientteenage girl. He goes unflinchingly into all the dark places, but also finds a credible way of bringing Goth Girl, and his legions of readers, forward into the light. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
After six months in a mental hospital, Kyra, the newly shaven-headed heroine of The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl (2006), has only one plan: to exact embarrassing revenge on sweet, loyal Fan Boy for not contacting her while she was away. His status at school has risen since she left, and now his graphic novel-published in the school's literary magazine-has made him a legend. This, of course, only augments her eagerness to spill his secrets. Lyga's latest is more character sketch than story. Kyra may be traumatized by her mother's death and furious at her dad for sending her away, but her anger doesn't feel strong enough to fuel her determination to take Fan Boy down, in the absence of a logical rationale. She's definitely confused, but she doesn't seem heartless. Plus, Fan Boy's dog-like devotion to her makes her look like an even bigger jerk. Still, goth teens and fans of the first novel will be drawn into the darkness that is her life. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"Readers will love getting her side of the story, whether she is raging about sexism in letters to her hero, writer Neil Gaiman, or finally figuring out that the person she needs is "someone who appreciates not just what you do, but how you do it."--Publishers Weekly
"In this sequal to The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006), Lyga dives with typical boldness into the complexity of teen emotions and, for the first time, the female perspective...it is Kyra's wholly believable questions and her forceful voice that will stay with readers."--Booklist
"It is a no-brainer that fans of the first book will eat this one up, but new readers will not have any trouble following the story as Lyga peppers this book with ample information from the first. Buy multiple copies of this one -- it will go out and get passed around -- and might not come back."--VOYA, April 2010
Read an Excerpt
My mother and I both spent a lot of time in hospitals. Unlike her, I survived.
Before she went and died, my mom told me to stop bitching about my cramps all the time. "It’s nothing that every other woman on the planet hasn’t gone through," she said.
And besides, she went on, your period is a good thing. It’s a sign that you’re alive and healthy.
Easy for her to say—cancer was eating her lungs from the inside out, so what’s the big deal about some cramps, right?
Still, I knew that what I was experiencing wasn’t right or normal. It wasn’t what other girls were feeling every month. (I know—I asked around.)
Weird thing, though: After she died, my cramps sort of got better. It’s not like they went away; they just stopped being so intense and so consuming. I started to think that, OK, maybe this is what other girls felt. Like I had been abnormal before, but now I was somehow becoming normal, that now the world was working properly and everything was good and normal and usual.
Everything except my mom’s face . . .
My mom’s face before they closed the casket looked like a Barbie doll’s.
A Barbie doll someone had left in the sandbox too long.
All plasticky and too shiny, but somehow gray at the same time.
And then one day after the funeral—it was a pretty nice day, too—I took a box cutter from my dad’s workshop and slashed across my wrist. It hurt, but not that much. Not bad at all.
So I slashed the other one, too.
And that’s how I ended up in the emergency room and then in front of a judge and then locked up in a mental hospital.
That was my first time in the hospital. And I got out and I covered up my scars and I went on with my life and I tried to figure out what it was all about, and I’m still trying to figure it out.
But it just gets more and more complicated all the time. Every day. The world doesn’t slow down long enough for you to figure out anything; it keeps adding things in. Things like geeky guys and comic books and comic book conventions and effed-up teachers and . . .
And another stay in the hospital.