"'Is this my hidden mutant power-- the ability to screw up absolutely any decent situation?'
Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy's new little brother or sister.
Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he's been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and-- most important of all-- a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and away from all the people who make it hell for him.
When Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who slaves his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can't resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice-- to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way.
But Kyra has secrets, too. And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams... or down a path into his own darkness."
The thing that I like best about young adult novels is what the character ultimately wants is to find themselves (whether they say that that's their intention or not). Fanboy and Goth Girl is not an exception to this.
The main character (and the narrator) remains nameless throughout the book. If someone needs to get his attention, he's referred to as 'Fanboy' (in the case of Kyra). This helps the readers of this book put themselves in the place of Fanboy. Ultimately, I think this helps the reader to identify certain qualities in themselves. I've always been a fan of this literary technique! It's really, really interesting how this works.
Another thing that I really like about Fanboy and Goth Girl is the use of comic books and graphic novels. It was incredibly interesting because it wasn't just a useless add-on to the story. It's really a central part of the story. Once 'Schemata' is introduced, it's the thing that Fanboy refers to all the time; He makes comparisons with his life and his graphic novel, which is appropriate because many of the things that make up 'Schemata' are based on his life.
The characters are also interesting because they're so different from each other. The only thing that was a little frustrating was the way Kyra acted. The way she talked about shooting 99% of the entire school, whether she meant it or not, was startling. I've never read any dialogue where a student just talked so nonchalant about it. But that was only one occurrence. There were two instances where she flashed someone in the book. Kyra was an interesting character as a whole. It's my understanding that she's the narrator in the sequel, which I borrowed from the library (it's currently in my possession), so I'm pretty excited to take a read.
What I found coolest of all was the party scene towards the end of the book. Fanboy is completely out of his comfort zone, but then he meets his crush from afar, Dina. She starts talking to him and she become more and more real instead of just a pair of legs with breasts. And Fanboy acts awkward and still cute around her because he really likes her as well as her beauty. What I like about this part is all of those people that Fanboy had a grudge against (or who were on the list) are given a little bit more color-- more life-- breathed into them. It just helps to make the story that much more real.
Overall, I like pretty much everything about Fanboy and Goth Girl. I would argue that Barry Lyga is a literary genius. I now open this debate in the comments if anyone is interested in participating!
I give Fanboy and Goth Girl: