The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl: A Review

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry LygaFanboy wants three things more than anything in the world–he’ll even tell you two of them. But there are also things that Fanboy needs, especially now that his sophomore year is morphing into his own personal hell.

Senior Goddess Dina Jurgens doesn’t know he exists and his part-time-best-friend/full-time-jock, Cal, is distant. Nothing new there.

But at home his pregnant mother and stepfather (that would the Step-Fascist to anyone paying attention) are anxiously awaiting the birth of his half-brother or half-sister. As if that could make them into a real family. School isn’t much better once the bullies and the Jock Jerks decide to make Fanboy their own personal target Every. Single. Day.

But that’s okay because Fanboy knows exactly what he wants and he has a plan: a secret scheme that will get him out of his lame little town and prove his worth to everyone once and for all.

When the mysterious and angry Goth Girl bursts into his life, he might even have an accomplice in The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2007) by Barry Lyga.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl is the first of Lyga’s intertwining books set in Brookdale. It’s also a total powerhouse of a novel. Lyga brings an impressive amount of depth to Fanboy’s narration about both his stifling discontent and his hope for something more.

What had the potential to be a devastating story turns into a tale of optimism as Fanboy realizes that some of the fundamental truths of his life might be based on falsehoods, like the ones he tells so easily throughout the novel.

Fanboy is a really great narrator with charm that comes through even when he is as his lowest as seen in “The Great Ecuadorian Tortoise Blight of 1928”–one of my most favorite passages.

And Goth Girl, well, she’s Goth Girl. Part catalyst, part friend, all angry, Goth Girl might just be the girl Fanboy never knew he always wanted. Or she might be a train wreck waiting to happen. Readers who feel the ending of her story is underdeveloped in this novel should also read this book’s recent sequel Goth Girl Rising (2009).

Possible Pairings: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going, Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King, Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart, The Superhero Handbook by Michael Powell, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales