Susan's Reviews > Goth Girl Rising

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
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May 09, 10

bookshelves: young-adult
Read in April, 2010

Be careful what you wish for...in my review for the Astonishing Adventures of the Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl I wanted to know more about Kyra. This book is the Kyra Show--and it's not exactly easy to watch. This picks up after Kyra's stay at the treatment facility as she's rejoining the high school social scene and reuniting with Fan Boy. Since his tip-off to her dad landed her in treatment and she believes he didn't even try to contact her when she was away, this isn't exactly a happy reunion on her end. All the worse when she finds out he's blossomed in her absence, actually gained a precarious foothold on the ladder of social acceptance and behaving like Cinderella at the ball while she's feeling damaged, rejected, bitter, and not unlike an Ugly Stepsister. As much as you feel for her overall situation though, it's difficult to watch her barrel down her path of revenge and resentment when she's surrounded by people trying in their own imperfect, human ways of trying to help her. Her bereaved dad-desperately, Fan Boy-obliviously, her friends-misguidedly, her teachers-ineffectually. It's especially hard to empathize or even watch her punish her father over and over again in her way of coping with her mother's passing, or condone her plots against Fan Boy (who remains a sympathetic, likable character). Most of all though, it's kind of hard to accept that Lyga, who usually nails the mindset, dialogue, everything--of this demographic so unerringly and doesn't shy away from taking on tough issues and controversy---hangs most of a major plot point on what amounts to an easily cleared up misunderstanding.

For anyone who read the first book, I can't help but think it's just going to feel like too much of a stretch, even given Kyra's almost pathological stubbornness. On the plus side, even a disappointing Lyga novel is still a Lyga novel, and for a teen who has known what's it's like to be so focused on your own self-destruction they're blinded to the hand that's being offered to them--maybe they'll find something to relate to here.
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