I never considered myself a "popular" guy myself, exactly. I went through my classes and endured the boring routine with all my other classmates. But I was, and always will be, a raging nerd. Just the audience Barry Lyga caters to in his first novel, "The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl".
Enter Fanboy; your average, run-of-the-mill comic-loving sophomore who always seems to find himself at the bottom of the social pyramid. He resents jocks and bullies, his only friend Cal is attracted to sports and popularity, and can't stop fantasizing about Dina Jurgens, the Senior Goddess.
And that's just his school life. He lives with his pregnant mom and his step father (whom he calls "the step-fascist"), and barely gets along with either. He rarely sees his dad, and the two don't speak as much as they used to. Not to mention he has to deal with derelict technology in the form of a personal computer. All in all, he hasn't the best of existences. But Fanboy has a secret he hasn't told a soul. A ticket outta that sorry excuse of a town, away from its inhabitants, and into fame and fortune- in the form of a graphic novel he knows will get published.
When he meets the sarcastic Kyra (Goth Girl), he finds someone he can relate to. Someone who shares his feelings towards the "social elite", his passion for comics, and his sense of wit. But she too has secrets not told to anyone...
At first, I figured the whole "high school underdog" thing was a bit cliche, and I found the story slow moving at the beginning. But the witty commentary kept me reading, and the climax leading to an ending I did not foresee made me decide that this is sequel material for sure.
I felt like I could relate to the main character inside his crazy (mostly white) school and complicated home life. The metamorphosis that takes place gradually throughout the whole book makes the end result worth the setbacks.
Even ordinary people can be superheroes.