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Goth Girl Rising

Review

Goth Girl Rising

Goth Girl is back…and she’s not happy. After spending six months in a mental hospital, Kyra (aka Goth Girl) has done a lot of thinking. But when she arrives back home, everything is different --- and not in a good way. Her friend/potential love interest Donnie (aka Fanboy) has gone from a nobody comic nerd to a school celebrity with the publication of his graphic novel Schemata in the school literary magazine. So this is why he was too busy to come see her when she was locked away? Goth Girl is angry. There is only one solution: vengeance.

GOTH GIRL RISING is the sequel to Barry Lyga’s debut YA novel, THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL, which was told from the perspective of Fanboy. We’re now back in Brookdale, but this time, we’re seeing things through Goth Girl’s point of view, which is as bumpy as a joyride in one of her stolen cars.

As mentioned, the novel opens with Goth Girl being released from a mental hospital. For those new to the series, she was committed after her father learned of her theft of one Fanboy’s bullets. If it weren’t for Fanboy and his big mouth, he never would have found out, and she wouldn’t have gotten locked up for six whole months. And it’s not like she was going to use the bullet…even if it was considered her second suicide attempt.

Now back at school, Kyra feels like nobody missed her, not even Fanboy with his swarm of newfound fans. Plus, her father --- whom she calls Roger --- is even more overprotective than ever. As Kyra attempts to ease back into her world, she acts out in her typical rebellious ways: smoking, cursing, car-thieving, and thwarting any authority figure who comes her way. She even reinvents her entire look, going from all black to all white, which her Goth friends embrace, showing the influence she has on them. She also focuses her hurt and anger by concocting a series of revenge schemes aimed at embarrassing Fanboy.

But the thing is, Fanboy acts nicer than ever. In fact, when he realizes Kyra is back at school, he seems thrilled to see her. So what’s a girl to do? Hold on to a grunge and embrace the anger, or succumb to the feelings that tell her maybe she’s interested in Fanboy as more than just a friend? But how can she love a person who has hurt her so badly?

Through a series of poems interspersed throughout the book, the reader travels further and further into the mind of Kyra, learning --- and perhaps understanding --- why she does what she does. In these poems, Kyra addresses her mother’s lost battle to cancer, bringing us right back to the hospital deathbed and her raw emotional upheaval at that time when she was just 14. The author uses these poems to great effect, truly helping the reader to delve into the mind and soul of this troubled teenaged girl.

While being inside Goth Girl’s mind is often unsettling --- at one point she even blames her father for her mother’s death --- Lyga does an excellent job of shedding more light on an unforgettable character. She may be one of the most unlikable characters I’ve read recently, but with his masterful storytelling, Lyga helps reveal the mysteries behind the madness in a very entertaining sequel.

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Reviewed by Kristi Olson on October 18, 2011

Goth Girl Rising
by Barry Lyga

  • Publication Date: October 19, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
  • ISBN-10: 0547076649
  • ISBN-13: 9780547076645