Lyga, Barry. 2006. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl.
Released October 2, 2006, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga is an enjoyable read focusing
on one boy's adventures and misadventures in life and love his sophomore year in high school.
There are three things in this world that I want more than anything. I'll tell you the first two, but I'll never tell
you the third.
Almost from the very beginning I knew Fanboy would be a character I could really get behind and support. In some ways
he's your typical misunderstood geek: a fan of comic books, excelling in all things academic, and failing at everything requiring
coordination and athletic talent. But the reader soon learns that there is more to this hero. He is creative, talented, sarcastic,
insecure, sleep-deprived, driven (focused and determined), and definitely has a dark side he nurtures. Angry at the world,
he internalizes his emotions and uses his imagination to seek revenge. Creating "The List" in which he keeps track
of everyone who has ever done him wrong. He's been bullied at school practically his entire life. And thanks to his overprotective
mother, he finds it more than a little difficult to make friends on a good day.
But what could turn out to be a morbid tale of a loner who goes crazy and unleashes that craziness on his classmates,
instead is turned into the bittersweet journey of a young boy's first experience in love. Enter Goth Girl. Goth Girl, whose
name is Kyra, is angry at the world too. She sees the injustice that Fanboy endures during gym class, and sees him as noble
as an Indian warrior. Goth Girl seems to see it all--the great talent, the great mind, the great soul--hidden beneath the
geeky exterior. But Goth Girl is just as flawed and complex as Fanboy. Hiding her own secrets and keeping her own mysterious
cover, she seems to uncover Fanboy's secrets without revealing too many of her own.
Life isn't perfect. It isn't a sitcom. There are no happy endings in which all of life's lessons are revealed and all
is forgiven and well with the world. And if you expect this novel to be any different, you'll be disappointed. Fanboy's greatest
wishes go unfulfilled. But what Fanboy does see is the realization that life sometimes gives you what you NEED and not what
There are two passages that stand out to me in which I and Fanboy really connect:
Stories filled and swelled my mind as I tried to sleep. Characters introduced themselves, told me their histories, then
went off in search of tales to inhabit, and I always found a good one. Then I would get caught up in perfecting the narrative,
developing the story flow, dictating dialogue in my head, and I would be up, and up, and up forever, the minutes running fast
when I was writing in my mind, crawling when I closed my eyes. (43)
I look down at my notes for a moment to make sure I've connected two molecules correctly, and then Iose my eyesight. It's
not like a movie, where everything goes black. There's a sudden patch of fuzziness that settles over my notebook, blotting
all but the edges. It's like TV static when the cable goes out, only threaded with gold and red, shaped like some amorphous
amoeba. At first I think there's something on my desk, and I swipe my hand at it, but my hand disappears as it passes into
the patch. I tilt my head to one side. The patch moves, following my line of sight. I can barely make out things on the periphery
of my vision. It's like the reverse of tunnel vision. A migraine. A migraine's coming. My stomach tightens. This is how it
happens. . . God, the pain. The pain comes later. First the loss of vision. It's like a herald, like a vanguard. an advance
scout. I lose my vision and my guts churn. Soon the patch of blindness will start to shrink, and even though I shouldn't I'll
feel relief that I'm getting my sight back. But once the patch is gone--in the very instant that I can see again--that's when
the pain will hit. (203)