Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter (Pocket Books), is a first person narrative by it's protagonist Jade Leigh. Jade has lost her mother in a car accident, and lives with her dad, a newly single parent. She fells disconnected from him, and gets into trouble at school, where she and her goth friends are bullied by the popular kids. One enemy in particular, Mercedes, the most popular girl, is her biggest rival. When Jade gets into trouble for mouthing off to a teacher, and Mercedes for getting into a cat fight, the principle decides on an unusual punishment. The girls are sent to a mysterious lab where they are drugged and sent into a virtual reality game.
In this new reality, the popular kids are all goth, and so are the adults. The outcasts are the preppy kids, the "Barbies" and jocks of the world. Jade has to face the issues of being popular, and one of the crowd, and Mercedes what it's like to be an outcast. There's also a love interest to(of course). The girls then have to work together to get back to the real world.
Personally I found the premise to be pretty weak. I suspended my belief while reading though, hoping that more explanation would be forthcoming as the story progressed. I have to say I was disappointed. The plot did move along quickly and at a good pace, but I think this was the only good thing about it. The main characters were unrealistic in my opinion. It was obvious to me that the author is not a goth herself (or ever was), and I don't think she even remembers what it's like to be a teen. She characterized Jade and her goth friends as malcontents who get in trouble with authority and the law. This is in sharp contrast to most goths I know who are generally quiet, smart, and stay out of trouble. The author also spends more time describing their outfits then developing the supporting characters. The ending was rather weak and wrapped up a little too quickly. I think this book would be okay if you were a young teen looking for a light read, but I worry about it perpetuating a negative stereotype. For this reason, and it's overall weakness, I give it one parasol.
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