I’m not quite sure what caught my attention when I was in Half Price Books after Christmas, but I saw The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga on the clearance shelf and had to buy it. Certainly the price point was a draw, but something else grabbed me when I read the inside of the dust jacket. Perhaps it was a feeling of solidarity. Fanboy is a loner and he has a passion for comic books. He has one friend, a jock named Cal, who shares the same passion. Then Fanboy meets Goth Girl and everything changes.
I enjoyed The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. The characters were richly drawn teenagers with realistic problems. I was able to identify with Fanboy and his passion for comics. I have my own passions and sometimes hold so tightly to them that sharing them with others seems like a betrayal and a huge risk. No one could possibly love my passions as much as I do, right? But, as Fanboy learns, perhaps sharing your passion allows for other astonishing things to happen.
While Lyga does a great job building and creating the teenage characters in the book, the adults seemed like caricatures. Fanboy’s mother complains a lot; and his stepfather was barely redeemable as a human until the very end. The assistant principal at the school was an idiot and easily steamrolled. Would a student really be able to convince one of their teachers that The Great Depression was caused by a Tortoise Blight? I found myself rolling my eyes a lot when the adults entered the picture because the scenes tended towards the extreme. The book is told from Fanboy’s perspective so perhaps that was intentional. I guess most teenagers (including myself when I was that age) see their parents in a similar fashion and do wish their teachers were pushovers.
Overall, I liked The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. Lyga creates vivid teenagers who struggle with real problems. He creates a plot that is easy to connect with and has some surprising twists and turns including a jaw dropping run in with a comic book author. Talk about fangirling!