Lyga, Barry 1971-
Lyga, Barry 1971-
Born September 11, 1971, in Southbridge, MA. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1993.
Writer. Has worked in the marketing department for Diamond Comic Distributors.
Winner of Mid-Atlantic Horror Writers' Association Short Story Contest, 2002.
(With wife, Allyson A.W. Lyga) Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A Definitive Guide, Libraries Unlimited (Westport, CT), 2004.
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (novel), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.
Boy Toy, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2007.
Contributor of short fiction and nonfiction to Glimmer Train, Florida Review, Byline, and Into the Blue.
Barry Lyga began writing fiction in early childhood, sending his first formal short-story submissions when he was still in middle school and tackling his first novel in high school. An avid comic book reader, Lyga tried his hand at writing fan fiction, becoming a regular contributor to several comic book fan club Web sites. On his home page, Lyga shared why his early fan fiction pieces were valuable learning tools: "For a teenager looking for writing practice, discipline, and feedback, those days of writing fanfic were absolutely invaluable…. Since I was using someone else's characters and universe, I didn't have to worry about backstory or exposition—everyone reading the stories had a common frame of reference. I was able to focus almost exclusively on dialogue, structure, plot development, stuff like that. And if I wanted regular feedback, I had to hit regular deadlines." Lyga went on to attend Yale University, studying English literature and exploring the comic book genre from an academic perspective. After graduating, he spent more than ten years working for Diamond Comic Distributors, experimented with comic book writing, contributed to a nonfiction book about graphic novels, and continued to submit fictional works for publication. Lyga's years of persistence paid off when he published two novels: The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl in 2006 and Boy Toy in 2007.
Both novels are set at the same fictional high school but are told from the perspectives of different characters. In The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, two young outsiders bond over a mutual love of comic books and a mutual hatred for their schoolmates and dysfunctional families. In Boy Toy, a teen who was molested five years prior by a teacher must deal with resurfacing emotions as the abuser is released from prison. Lyga's debut novel was described as "authentic and well-written" by a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Stephanie L. Petruso, writing for the School Library Journal, commented that Lyga's "love of comics carries over into all three teen characters, breathing animation into a potentially sad but often funny story." "A penetrating and convincing look inside high school life," remarked Kliatt reviewer Paula Rohrlick. Gillian Engberg wrote in a review for Booklist: "Fanboy's whip-smart, often hilariously sarcastic voice skillfully captures a teenager's growing self-awareness, and adds a fresh, urgent perspective to age-old questions."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, p. 113.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, p. 1018.
Kliatt, November, 2006, Paula Rohrlick, review of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, p. 14.
School Library Journal, November, 2006, Stephanie L. Petruso, review of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, p. 141.
Barry Lyga Home Page,http://www.barrylyga.com (April 26, 2007).