Remember the good old-fashioned book reviews this blog was built on? It’s been a lot of fun branching out with devotional posts that delve into the themes of various books, but sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics and just share some thoughts on the book itself. Right? (Do you guys want more book reviews or do you like the theme based posts better?)
High school student Adam Gould’s mild manners and quiet conviction seem to stand into total contrast to his black-dyed hair and makeup. At home he struggles to live out his faith despite his passive mother and aggressive step-father. At his new school, his willingness to stand up to bullies wins him quick friends and a ton of attention from the girls (which he persistently deflects). The only girl who interests Adam is his angry art class partner who seems to have secrets as deep as his own.
My opinions of this book are slightly mixed. I’m not sure I would have selected the book for myself based on the cover and synopsis, but the owner of the publishing company happens to be a friend and she told me I just had to pre-order it. So I did.
What I Liked About Goth
I really appreciate Adam’s character. He might be a little too perfect considering his situation and upbringing, but our Christian culture sometimes focuses so much on being “real” that we forget we are called to follow Christ and model ourselves after him even in difficult times. Adam does that. When his step-father treats him badly, when bullies in schools confront him, and when his friends make poor choices, Adam goes right to trying to respond the way God wants him too. It was refreshing. The day after I read the book, I kept finding myself trying to remember who I’d been thinking about … only to realize it was Adam, not a real-life person!
The other thing I liked about this story is a little bit mixed. Goth hits a lot of mature but real-life, important issues head on. Abuse, human trafficking, and sexual assault to name the main ones. Fiction has a lot of potential to shed light on areas that Christians should care about, but it’s tough to do well, especially in a novel written for a young adult audience. I appreciate that the author includes a warning about the content at the beginning of the book.
What I Didn’t Love About Goth
In the first 50 pages of the book, I found the depiction of the whole high school dating scene (especially the PDA from Adam’s new friends) a little heavy-handed. I wasn’t sure if the friends were Christians or not. Once I realized they weren’t, I felt a little better about the situation. That said, I understand that it’s realistic, but I would have preferred a more discreet approach.
The other thing that stood out to me was that I could tell the story was written by a first-time author. Now, Counted Worthy is a first-time book too, and I made a lot of the same mistakes. So I don’t want to be too critical. 😉 But for most of the book readers are told how the characters feel instead of being shown and pulled into the situation to feel the emotions alongside the characters. The story is still really good, but it could have been much deeper and a lot more emotionally rich. In the last 50 pages, the author really hit her stride and pulled me right into Adam’s emotions. I’m eager to see if the tone of the end of this book continues with the author’s future stories. If it does, her stories have so much potential to get progressively better!
Read Goth with care, and only if you’re 16+ (or if your parents take a look and think it’s okay). It’s a well thought out story-line that shines light on some important, and difficult issues, and emphasizes following Jesus’ example even when life is really hard. I’m looking forward to following the author’s progress with future stories.
Giveaway of “Goth”
Enter for a chance to win your own copy of Goth!