Bounced between foster homes since the age of seven, Jessica knows better than to set down roots. Most of the kids at her new Michigan high school think she’s a witch anyway (because, you know, goth). The only one who gives her the time of day is geeky Oscar, who wants to recruit her fashion skills for his amateur cosplay group. But Jess is fine showing off her looks to her Insta fans—until a woman claiming to be her biological mother barges into her DMs.
Jess was claimed by the state when her bio mom’s mental illness made her unstable. While their relationship is far from traditional, blood ties are hard to break. There’s only one problem: Jess can’t reunite with her mom in New York City without a bunch of paperwork and she worries her social worker will never approve the trip. That’s when she remembers Oscar’s cosplay group, which is aiming for that big convention in New York . . .
So, Jess joins Oscar’s team—with every intention of using them to get to her mom. But her plan gets complicated when she discovers that, actually, cosplay is pretty great, and so is having friends. And Oscar, who Jess thought was just a shy nerd, can be as gallant and charming as the heroes he pretends to be. As the big convention draws near, Jess will have to decide whether or not chasing a dream of “family” is worth risking the family she’s built for herself.
I loved this book.
The title caught my attention first, because lets be honest here.. I was (and still am) the Goth Girl from highschool and you never see goth MC in books, so this was a big deal for me.
The chapter quotes were a great addition. They preface and give you a small sense of what the chapter is going to be about. There were quotes from Edgar Allan Poe, the Princess Bride, and Star Wars, just to name a few. My nerdy little heart loved all of the 80’s references.
The author does a beautiful job of giving you a detailed vision of the different con’s the characters attended, as well as the different outfits Jess created throughout the story. The attention the author gives these small things is breathtaking.
The characters are very well written. Each is well fleshed out, with their own problems, likes and dislikes. The chemistry and dynamic between them all is nothing short of amazing. Nothing felt forced or fake, genuine interactions all around.
The world building is amazing and heartfelt.
I knew from reading the description and dedication that I was going to be in for an emotional ride.
The way the author handled mental illness in her book was.. astounding. She really nailed the different facets one faces when not just battling an illness themselves, but watching a loved one battle the illness, in a very real way. Oscar speaks plainly about his anxiety and how it impacts his life daily.
Jess is worried that she might have inherited her mother’s schizophrenia, thus is reluctant to do any cosplay (playing pretend), as it hits so close to home with her mothers illness.
I did not like how Poe’s life was a deciding factor for Jess on a multitude of things. Especially because Poe loved love, and none of this was mentioned. It was like she only would focus on the macabre, this made my heart hurt for the characters even more.
If you’re looking for a book with different representation, this is a book for you.
Not only is our FMC not the typically preppy girls, there is also plus size rep, special diet rep (vegetarian), LGBTQ+ rep, and mental health rep (anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar).
Goth Girl, Queen of the Universe is an awesome read with an important message. I highly recommend.
I rated Goth Girl, Queen of the Universe four point five stars.
You can find my original review for YABC here.
Title: Goth Girl, Queen of the Universe
Author: Lindsay S. Zrull
Publisher: North Star Editions/Flux imprint
Genre: YA Contemporary, Social Issues
Release Date: July 19, 2022
Coffee mug featured in Instagram photo: Some Witches by Wicked Whimsy.
Use discount code bookchance10 for 10% off your purchase.