Goth Girl was a powerfully written story of Kyra, a teenage girl dealing with the loss of her mother to lung cancer. We met Kyra in The Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, where she befriends Fanboy and helps him to see the opposite sex as more than just an object which in turn helps with the development of his comic book. At the end of the story though Fanboy is frightened that Kyra may try to take her life, so he makes an anonymous call to her dad to warn him. Goth Girl Rising starts with Kyra being released from the "hospital" after a 6 month stay. She ended up there as a direst result of Fanboy's phone call, so she's angry with him and she plans different forms of revenge. She's also reconnecting with her friends and doing a lot of fighting with her father. She has many confrontations with the teachers and vice-principal, but really she's just trying find her way back into the world to what's normal. A few of the chapters are actually letters to Neil Gaiman, because she's made a connection to his Sandman comics, the character, Death especially. She's looking for answers and just feels all alone. This story is a sensitive look at a teenage girl dealing with all that life has to throw at her and Barry Lyga does it so well.
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
Kyra Sellers is back, and if people know what's good for them, they will keep their distance. Her mother has died of cancer, and even her special relationship with Fanboy couldn't keep her life from spiraling out of control. If he hadn't told her father about the bullet, her innermost thoughts would still be hers.
After spending six months under psychological observation in a facility of her father's choosing, Kyra is back at home and expected to resume regular life. Her father has suicide-proofed the house so she can't even shave her legs, and all he wants is for her to behave herself at school.
It all just reminds her of how much Fanboy let her down. He said he'd email and stay in touch, but she never received a single contact. Now she's learning that while she was gone, his life went on. He seems to be everyone's hero, and he's rewritten his comic and is actually choosing to publish it in installments in the school literary rag.
Kyra uses her rebel skills to annoy everyone as much as possible. She refuses to be drawn into heartfelt conversations with her father. Instead, she blames him for her mother's death, and in an effort to shock him, shaves her head. As far as her behavior at school, it's nearly impossible to honor her promise to "be good." The teachers irritate her, the principal has unrealistic expectations, and Fanboy has been sucked into a situation with his comic that she just can't respect.
Almost immediately, Kyra reverts to yelling matches with her father, sneaking out at night, and stealing cars. Plagued by memories of her mother's lingering death, Kyra fights the urge to seek help from her therapist and her friends. How far will she go before she hurts herself or others?
Barry Lyga adds this sequel to THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL to his growing list of impressive YA fiction. What impressed me most about his creation was his ability to get inside Kyra's head to give readers a vivid view of her emotional upheaval.
The suggested audience is 14 and up, which is sensible given its straight-forward, gritty characters and rough dialogue. However, this isn't in any way a fault of the book, since Lyga keeps true to the unique voice of Kyra that he created in the first Fanboy/Goth Girl book.