Parents' Guide to

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Comic book geek learns to deal with high school.

Book Barry Lyga School 2006
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

isolation and lonliness of high school

This book is a great segue from graphic novels to novels. Also this book contains enough authenticity to attract readers but enough mediation of negative aspects to make up for them.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (6 ):

Give first-time novelist (and fanboy himself) Barry Lyga a bonus point for being original. The story gives all the signs of heading for an operatically tragic ending, and then doesn't go there. Any alert reader will be sure early on that they know exactly where this book is headed. There's mad telegraphing here -- the bullying, the loving relationship with a bullet, the stepfather (step-fascist) who keeps guns, the violent fantasies, the isolation, and lack of support. But take the points away again for having an ending that just fizzles out all of a sudden -- apparently he didn't have the courage to follow his own foreshadowing.

Give him another point for enjoyably and wittily explicating comic-geek culture -- he shows real insight into and sardonic compassion for outsider teens. But then take away two for trying to turn the protagonists' really damaging behavior into a heroic stand against blustering adults.

No question that newbie author Lyga has the writing chops and clearheaded understanding of adolescents to be a fine young adult novelist. He can write an over-the-top, cringe-worthy scene of teen humiliation with the best of them. But he will need to learn a few things about plotting -- such as how to follow his own setup, how to write an ending, and how to empower his heroes without resorting to the kind of manipulation that loses them any right to the reader's sympathy.

Book Details

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