26 February 2008

Review:: The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (novel)

Desperate to read something special, I went to a library's online catalog and perused various titles under the "New Items" tab. I became instantly enamored with the concept for this one and put it on hold. After all, who wouldn't be all about geeks and goths?

So here's a story with the types of characters you wouldn't see in another teen movie but in your own high school. The obsessed fan boy. I knew one. The jaded goth girl. Knew one of those too. So Barry Lyga took these archetypes and wrote a story about emotional evolution-- revolution, even.

Jeff Smith (of Bone fame) wrote a blurb about this book exposing a guy who is "really seeing girls for the first time." Like so many other books, it worked its magic on me backwards. Instead of coming to understand girls, I can now see guys for the first time. I mean, I'm in my late twenties so I've learned a bit since I was in high school, but it made me realize what it was to be a frustrated teen guy at his sexual peak. I have always been drawn to the quiet types, so I have befriended many a nerdfighter in my time. Then things turned romantic against my will and I was surprised. A little naive, I feel.

Anyway, the writing is crisp, the dialogue rarely feels stifled, and it contains all these little hints about life, like how to be there for others but mainly yourself.

8.83 of 9. Extra points for mentions of Joss Whedon and the droids that you're not looking for.
I could really relate to Fanboy's desperation to move on, to leave high school, to be respected as an artist. I also understood Goth Girl's self-destructive nature, particularly after what she's been through. Characters aren't always what you think they are, which is one of this novel's strengths.
Decent. Not so fast, not so slow.
Mature teens and up. There are scenes describing fantasies of school violence, but they never get gory.
Like it? Try this!::
I'm not going to recommend anything other than getting out there and going for your dream! Make it happen! Reach for it! Either that or get artistic. Brainstorm your own graphic novel and see where that goes.
Further Notes::
And as these things go... There is a chance that this one is going to be a movie. Surprise! No objections here to cast this literate and talented Thora Birch look-alike as Goth Girl.
Confession: I dressed up as Enid from Ghost World during Halloween 2003.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. By Barry Lyga. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 311 pages. $16.95.