The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl -- Barry Lyga
Okay. I'm going to start this off with a bit of a disclaimer: I am SO OVER books that feature a goth girl who is crazy, is possibly suicidal, is actually murderous. And you know what? I already did this rant: It's all right there in my review of Caught in the Act. (You'll find it by clicking the "actually murderous" link.)
I just think it would be fun to read a book about a Goth girl (or boy -- a boy would be fine, too) who's actually pretty normal. Off the top of my head, Sweetblood comes the closest.
So, yeah. My opinion of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl may have been colored by all of that baggage. If so, sorry.
There were things that I liked about it. None of them were so blindingly obvious that I can think of any specifics at the moment (and I finished it last night, which is frightening), but by the end I was attached enough to the characters that I was slightly concerned about how things would turn out... I really liked the narrator's rant about the "My kid can beat up your honor student" bumper stickers. (Did the main character even have a name? I can't remember. Apparently the book made even less of an impression that I originally thought. I double checked. No name. Phew. I feel slightly better about myself.)
I liked the Bendis cameo.
I was reminded of a lot of other things. This bit reminded me of Romy and Michelle:
Someday, when I've left this stupid little hick town with its stupid little hick people, the ones on The List are the ones I'll be sure to remember more than anyone else. I'm not sure how, but I'll remember them. Sometimes I can almost sympathize with those guys who go nuts and shoot up their schools, but no one on The List is worth dying or going to jail for. The best revenge is living well, my dad told me once. So I'd be happy to show up at my tenth reunion in a stretch limo, or with a supermodel on my arm, or with a TV crew filming one of many documentaries about me or something.
But my major problem? I kind of hated the narrator. I'm all for crotchety, obnoxious high school students, but he was so over-the-top. He had reason to be a pill to the people his own age, sure, but he was such a jerk at home -- it just turned me off. Maybe I'm getting old.
His mom was crazy, yes, I get that. She was all hormonal and hugely pregnant, so she had a reason, but I understand his pillishness on that front. I also understand his anger towards her and her new husband, the Affair Guy. It all made sense, yet I still found him so unlikeable that I felt almost no sympathy.
But perhaps this all stems from my aforementioned irritation with the Goth Girl thing. There are loads of people who really liked it. So maybe you should listen to them.