As much as I’d like to say that Oh My Goth would have helped me when I was younger, when I was in my “goth” phase, I don’t know if I would have been ready to learn the lesson it’s trying to get across. Reading it now feels like a breath of fresh air and something that I can fully appreciate and understand. I can understand Jade before she goes into the “goth world” and after and what she learned. While this book came out when I was in a sort of similar place as Jade, I am so glad I read it now rather than then. I am in a much better place to accept the characters, the story, and the themes Oh My Goth presents. Let’s get to the review!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A note from Jade Leighton’s journal. Years ago, a tragic accident robbed me of my mother and emotions. Because I find beauty in darkness and thrive outside social norms, I’ve been labeled a “freak” at school. I know my continued apathy hurts my loved ones, but I’m not about to change. Nothing will ever hurt me again. Then I wake up in an alternate reality…and everything else has changed. Goth is in. I’m considered cool, and my archenemy–the formerly popular Mercedes–is the freak. But my real friends won’t talk to me…and the new boy is getting under my skin. As my world spins out of control, I’m desperate to return to normal. But the more time that passes, the less I’m sure what “normal” really is
Jade Leighton is having a hard time. She’s had a hard time since her mom died when she was little. She’s decided since then that she’s not going to feel anymore. She pushes down her feelings so she doesn’t have to care about anyone or anything. Because then when they leave, it won’t hurt so much.
You can probably guess how that works out, huh?
But Jade has to go through a journey before she can realize her coping strategies are not the way to live.
When we first meet Jade, she’s dealing with her dad and stepmom not understanding her, her friends dealing with her aloofness, her nemesis/former best friend, Mercedes, being the cliche popular mean girl and reading a page from Jade’s private journal in front of everyone they know at a party. Yeah, she’s a bit of an asshole.
But Jade also meets the new dude in school, Clarik. He’s built like a Greek god, has a deep raspy voice, and perfect dark hair. (Of course he does!). But he also has secrets too. Ones Jade can’t seem to get out of him.
He also tells Jade that she’s a “bad bet,” meaning it’s more likely that she’ll leave or break his heart than be happy or stay. (While it may be true, it is possibly the meanest thing I’ve ever read). Jade accepts this, she even understands it. She knows who she is. But it doesn’t mean she still doesn’t have a massive crush on Clarik.
Too bad all that needs to be put on hold when Jade and Mercedes get hit by a car and end up in some kind of alternate reality where “goth” is the norm, Jade is the most popular girl in school, and Mercedes is the outcast along with all of Jade’s old friends.
Jade and Mercedes have to figure out how to get back to the real world and what lesson they’re supposed to learn that will help them get there. Should be easy, right? Especially when Jade doesn’t really like being the most popular girl in school, especially when none of her friends like her, and Mercedes certainly doesn’t like being the outcast.
But things get more challenging when the Clarik in this world sees Jade beyond her “popular” persona and they begin to really care for each other, and Mercedes gets to see what it’s like to have friends/people who really care for her
How are they supposed to get back to the other world when this alternative one is turning out to be pretty nice?
Well, the alternative reality has it’s bad points as well, but when the choice comes up, which life will Jade choose?
I really loved this story. Jade and Mercedes’s character development from one reality to the other and then back again is truly inspiring. And I love how Showalter made it just slow enough that their changes are believable. As Jade makes her way through the “goth” alternative reality, we see her become more and more caring, in no small part due to Mercedes and Clarik.
And Mercedes’s change…wow! She stays the same sassy girl but the way Jade and her bond, and she becomes closer to Jade’s friends is truly something special. We don’t get to see much of the actual process since the book is in Jade’s point of view, but it is clear by her actions and what happens at the end of the book that she learned a lot.
And Clarik is just…lovely. Yes, he says that awful thing at the beginning of the story but due to the experiences that Jade and Mercedes go through in the alternate reality, Clarik changes as well (NO SPOILERS).
The ending is kind of what I guessed was the reason Jade and Mercedes were in this other world, but that didn’t make it any less special or compelling. There were plenty of twists and turns (especially with what people were wearing lol) that I didn’t expect which made this book so damn good.
Oh My Goth is a book that I think everyone should read but especially girls and women. The story shows the importance of female friendship, not taking people for granted, and looking at things from different perspectives to really understand what others are going through. It’s a truly beautiful story. I am giving Oh My Goth 5 out of 5 stars. Go put it on your TBR right now!
Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter comes out September 8, 2018
Thank you to Edelweiss and Harlequin Teen for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.