Oh My Goth
Simon & Schuster MTV Books (4th July 2006)
Dr John Laroque has the fascinating idea of changing problem teens for the better using virtual reality, and Jade Leigh and her nemesis Mercedes Turner are forced into the game with parental consent. For someone who’s supposed to be a heroine, Jade demonstrates contradiction, hypocriticism, double standards and whatnot, and I was close to quitting this book early on. Never have I felt such a negative reaction towards a protagonist within the first three pages. But with Chapter 3 came the “field trip”, and things got interesting from there, where Goth was popular – as was Jade – and Mercedes the Barbie was a “freak”.
Jade claims to be a non-comformist, though she’s proud to be a punk Goth – meaning while she doesn’t conform to the Barbies, she still conforms to Goth standards. And while she claims that everyone always judges her, she judges them right back. I realised this straight away, but it took much longer for Jade to figure it out.
Reading about an American high school was somewhat of a culture shock to me. In my Australian public high school we wore uniforms; there were strict rules about hair colour, piercings and makeup; and cheerleaders did not exist. So I had trouble connecting with these fictional teens and their superficial attitudes. Since when can teens seemingly without jobs afford Sidekicks? Mooching off their hardworking (or rich) parents, of course. They just seemed to lack respect for others, and I hated Jade’s holier-than-thou attitude. She feels like a teacher is picking on her, but she sinks to his level and serves him right back. Where is the maturity?
While so much about this book annoyed me, it was still interesting enough to read it in basically one sitting. Here’s hoping the author’s Teen Alien Huntress books are better.