The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

by Barry Lyga


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618916528
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/24/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 201,904
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Barry Lyga is a recovering comic book geek and the author of many books, including The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, Goth Girl Rising, Boy Toy, and Hero-Type for HMH, Wolverine: Worst Day Ever for Marvel Books, and Archvillian for Scholastic. He has also written comic books about everything from sword-wielding nuns to alien revolutionaries. He worked as marketing manager at Diamond Comic Distributers for ten years. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.Visit Barry online at

Read an Excerpt

FANBOY - Chapter ONE

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.

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The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like this nook and thank you yall for helping
LoonyMoonyy More than 1 year ago
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!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really disappointing and i really thought it was going to be a great book but it wasn't. I couldn't finish it.
kpickett on LibraryThing 3 months ago
No one knows Fanboy is alive, except maybe his one friend Cal. When he is not being ignored by his own family, Fanboy is in his room working on his comic book. Until he meets Goth Girl, she changes everything. Hot one minute, cold the next, Fanboy never knows what to expect. An emotional rollercoster takes the reader through this first love relathionship. Some sexual content but nothing big. Mostly just annoying characters.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Fanboy has a List, and a bullet. When he's offended by someone or something, they get added to the List. His only friend is a school jock who can't afford to be seen associating with him at school, and his only solace is his carefully drawn comic, which he dreams of showing to a famous author at a comic convention and being catapulted to stardom - or at least out of his everyday life - as a result. With his parents divorced, and his mother remarried (and pregnant with a new half-brother/sister) and a stepfather who isn't particularly sympathetic, or appealing, Fanboy seems to be on a downward spiral. A somewhat strange salvation appears in the form of a IMed communications from his classmate Kyra, who has captured on film Fanboy's treatment by the school bully. The fact that the main character carries a bullet around in his pocket was a bit off-putting, but I was ultimately very happy that I stuck it out and ignored the overwhelming sense of foreboding that runs through the earlier part of the book. Lyga has created a strongly cautionary tale about the importance of self-esteem and self-respect, and also about the nature of friendship. A rewarding read, but definitely one for more mature young adults.
bellalibrarian on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Fanboy is lonely. He has no life and only one part-time friend until he meets Kyra (Goth Girl). Fanboy's love of graphic novels has led him to create his own. Using a bullet as his touchstone, Fanboy attempts to keep from drowning in the pressures that he receives from his pregnant mother, somewhat controlling stepfather, and the bullies that torture him on a daily basis.With strong undertones of high school "lists," violence, and suicide, Lyga's novel is one that attempts to explain things from the nerd's POV.POSSIBLE SPOILER: I only gave this title a 3 1/2 for a few different reasons. Primarily, I didn't always appreciate the protagonist. Throughout nearly the entire book, it seemed as if he never really tried to overcome obstacles; instead, he whined about them. On the other hand, many individuals have these character traits at some point in their lives. Also, I had a really hard time understanding the infatuation with Kyra's body parts. While anatomy plays a huge role in the teenage life, and understandably so, I don't understand the role that it played in this book. Lyga really tried to connect this for his readers, but it didn't connect for me.
escondidolibrary on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Fanboy's got a list of all the kids who have ever bullied him. He's not a school shooter though. No way. He knows that success is the best revenge and he just has to get through two more years of high school and he never has to see the jock jerks ever again. He's only got one friend - Cal - a fellow comic book fan. And he's about to make a new one, a goth girl, who witnesses his humiliation when a jock continually pummels him with a dodgeball in gym class. This is a great book about friendship and the difficulties of being a smart, skinny teenage boy who is misunderstood by seemingly everyone around him.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Schemata is the graphic novel that Fanboy is devoted to creating. Fanboy is a good student, but he is frequently bullied at school. He meets Kyra, the deeply troubled Goth Girl, who helps Fanboy learn to stick up for himself. It's kind of a coming of age story for Fanboy. Although the book just scratches the surface of Kyra's troubles.
deargreenplace on LibraryThing 3 months ago
There are three things that Fanboy wants more than anything in the world. The first is a mint condition Giant X-Men. Fanboy, who lives with his pregnant mum and "step-fascist" doesn't have many friends in high school. He's a straight A student, a fan of graphic novels, allergic to gym class. He thinks of himself as the smartest kid in school, and is a little annoying to tell the truth. Goth Girl is an outsider too, with few friends and something of an attitude. She is determined not to be just another 'body' for the boys at school to leer at.Goth Girl and Fanboy go to the same school, but they meet online, after Goth Girl takes mobile phone footage of Fanboy being bullied in gym class and emails it to him anonymously. They bond over their love of graphic novels, and so begins an awkward teenage friendship. The author really captures the angst of being a 15-year-old, the confusion and uncertainty, the feeling of not belonging and thinking that the whole world is out to get you. I liked how Fanboy almost seems to mature (just a little) towards the end of the book, and how you can see things changing even though he doesn't acknowledge them. Some of the characterisation here was a bit lazy though - it's becoming an annoying stereotype that all female goth teenagers self-harm, and Fanboy is an archetypal geek who secretly lusts after the most popular girl at school like every other boy there. The subtle details are where this book won me over, like the complexities of Fanboy's relationship with his mum and stepfather, and the way that the two main characters deal with their teachers at school. Read it if you want to relive the horrors of high school in gory detail, or just to be thankful that you're not 15 any more.
verbafacio on LibraryThing 3 months ago
In this surprising young adult novel, nothing bad happens. In fact, at every moment I was waiting for a dramatic, life-altering event, but it never took place. Instead, I was treated to a friendship between 2 outcasts.
WittyreaderLI on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This novel features your average straight A student who loves comic books and graphic novels and has almost no friends except for Cal. But one day while being pummeled by a dodgeball in gym class, the main character is noticed by a girl who sees how brave he is for standing there while being hit. She is Kyra, a very interesting girl who dresses in all black in the Goth style. This book was an extremely quick and fun read. I recommend it.
srcsmgrl on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl by Barry Lyga is also a coming of age novel. In this book, Fanboy is coping with a broken family and being teased and bullied at school. Fanboy (as the nickname implies) is a fan of comics and graphic novels and is hoping that publishing his own graphic novel will be his ticket out of town and out of his difficult life. Fanboy has one friend who loves comics but also loves LaCross. When a LaCross game interferes with the boys planned outing to a comic convention, the boys part ways. In steps GothGirl! She likes his graphic novel and will do anything to help him get it noticed by Bendis--a well known graphic novel artist--even if she hates Fanboy with a passion. It turns out she hates herself more and Fanboy has to learn that sometimes all you can do is be there for your friends.This is a great book that deals with a lot of key issues; divorce and feeling alienated from the absent parent, bullying, friendship, suicide and hopes for the future. Fanboy goes from feeling alienated from fellow students and parents, to realizing that everyone has hang ups and that his own behavior may be causing some of his problems. Overall a great book.I recommend this book for older teens, aged 15 and up.
CornerDemon on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is the most incredibly realistic book about high school ever. Nothing is romanticized or dramatized. For those of us not-so-much in the in crowd, everything will sound so familiar, and its not drawn out to the point where it doesn't seem like the real world anymore. Its fantastic for that very reason; there's no real violence, no shootings, no terrible tragedies except for the tragedy that is day-to-day life in high school. Its unfair, its tough, and there's no satisfaction in it. It also realistically captures the way a teenager really thinks and feels. The pretentiousness, the know-it-all quality, the way they seldom doubt their sure-held convictions. It makes the cliques and the social sphere into something undramatic and important, something that we all probably still deal with as adults.A word of warning: There's a lot of comic book references (because our hero is big into comics and graphic novels) and some of this may throw those of you off who don't read that sort of stuff. While the names and references may go over your head, I ask you to stick with the book and ignore it (or Wikipedia Brian Michael Bendis for a quick reference), because the book really is worth reading.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing 3 months ago
(spoiler)I was so terrified that this was going to end badly - the blurb, the bullet, the list, and the terrorist fantasies all led me to dread a bloody finale. But instead the ending was much more realistic, and wonderful.The three main characters are appealing without being soppy, and I really like the ways things aren't tied up in pretty bows. This is a messy story about messy relationships, and no bows are required.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really nails that teenage angt and narricism, sometimes to the point of being painful to read in parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing is wonderful and it has a amazing story line but it has too many GRAMMER MISTAKES!!! It really ruins the book if the the editers did not care about grammer.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Donnie has one friend and one bullet, and a list that he keeps adding names to. Once you’re on the list, your name cannot be taken off. Cal, his only friend, is a jock and I feel he treats Donnie pretty badly. Most of the jocks pick on Donnie and he tries to stay away from them, which doesn’t always work. Cal being one of the few African American kids at school dumps Donnie when the jocks show up, as they take precedence over him. They share their love of comic books/graphic novels and with the comic book/graphic novel convention coming up, Donnie is getting ready. Working at home, Donnie gets an instant message but the address doesn’t ring a bell. The person wants to know why he allowed Mitchell to hit him in gym class. Confused, he follows the message to pictures on his computer and there he is being smacked by another student in class. Yes, this in a daily occurrence in Donnie’s gym class but why is this person talking to him and who is it? Dressed in black and smoking cigarettes, I think he is in awe when he finds out its Kyra. She knows so much about him and she’s not making fun of him. He’s a noble warrior in her eyes as he stands taking the punches, not fighting back and not showing fear or pain, is she for real? The words just come tumbling out of her mouth like there’s nothing standing in her way; her love for comics/graphic novels, her hatred of people, her dislike of the Jock Jerks and how stupid she feels people really are. It’s a meeting of the minds and where did this girl come from? Emotions flare and feelings get hurt when issues about relationships, attractiveness and what’s real are brought up and too many words get spoken. Lines get crossed and people walk away. It was just getting good. Fanboy was hoping to attend the convention with Kyra and Goth Girl, as they all three enjoy comic books/graphic novels. I never thought a convention could be so dramatic but this sure turned into a real show stopper. I wanted to read another book by Barry Lyga since I am loving his serial killer series. This book had some interesting characters and I really enjoyed the storyline. When Fanboy talks to Dina, that conversation was so deep and moving that I had to take a few moments to absorb all that they were discussing. She gave him something that think about night, she shoved him. Kyra started the process and Dina was there to help push him along. Kyra was truly something. She had me laughing as she was so outspoken and a true daredevil. She just did what she wanted, said what she thought and how she was able to survive living with this outspoken spirit is amazing. This was Barry’s first novel and I really enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It starts out good. Goth Girl and Fanboy are outcasts that become friends and help each other deal with life. The pity I had for Fanboy being bullied is lessened by his arrogance and selfrighteousness. He betrays Goth Girl and then becomes part of the crowd he claims to hate. The only person that was decent was Tony, Fanboy's step father, who tries to get along with his step son, but Fanboy is too closed minded to give him a chance. "Everyone hates me," claims Fanboy, yet he becomes friends with those that pick on him. He's as shallow as the other's. If you want to read about the main character of a novel becoming a jerk, this is the book for you.
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