Oh My Goth

Oh My Goth

by Gena Showalter


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335139726
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 499,715
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over seventy books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld series, the Gods of War series, the White Rabbit Chronicles, and the Forest of Good and Evil series. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at GenaShowalter.com.

Read an Excerpt

Oh My Goth

By Gena Showalter


Copyright © 2006 Gena Showalter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1416524746

Chapter One

When people look at me, they automati-

cally assume I'm dark and weird. Why

can't they see the truth? I'm just a girl,

trying to find my place in the world.

-- From the journal of Jade Leigh

God, I hate school.

I'm sitting in trig, listening (not really) to Mr. Parton drone on and on about angles and measurements. As if I care. As if I'll ever use that stuff outside of this classroom.

Honestly, I'd rather be anywhere else. Even home, where my dad begins almost every conversation with, "You should lose the black clothes and wear something with color." Puh-lease. Like I want to look like every Barbie clone in Hell High, a.k.a. Oklahoma's insignificant Haloway High School. Ironically, Dad doesn't appreciate the bright blue streaks in my originally blond/now-dyed-black hair. Go figure. That's color, right?

With my elbows resting on my desktop, I dropped my forehead into my upraised palms and closed my eyes. Mr. Parton continued to blah, blah, blah (or, as he'd tell you, talk), and his superior, I-know-the-answers-therefore-I-am-God voice grated against my nerves.

Was I surprised? No. He always talked to us like that, as if we were dumb for not already knowing how to work math equations we'd never encountered before. He even got mad when we asked questions -- God forbid we actually learn, right? -- and generally treated us like total dumbwits.

Fifteen minutes, thirty-seven seconds before bell. Translation: fifteen minutes, thirty-seven seconds of me wishing for an apocalyptic destruction of the universe so my misery would end.

What had I done to deserve this kind of torture? Talk back to my dad? Who didn't? Ditch a few classes? Show me one person who hasn't. Pierce my nose? Well . . .

"If Miss Leigh will give me the honor of her attention," Mr. Parton snapped, "I'll explain the relation between sins and chords."

I didn't glance up, didn't want to encourage him. Really, when would this end?

"Are you paying attention, Miss Leigh, or are you praying you never come into contact with a wooden stake?"

Several students chuckled.

I still didn't bother looking up, but I did react to his taunt. "No, I'm not," I gritted out. I think the man enjoyed making fun of me more than he liked teaching. Not a single day passed without a snide comment from him: Why don't you do everyone a favor and stay home tomorrow, Miss Leigh? You're the reason I need ulcer medication, Miss Leigh. Your poor father, he must need a lot of therapy, huh, Miss Leigh. I'd heard it all. "FYI," I added, "your comment doesn't make you fright, Mr. Parton."

"Fright." Avery Richards snorted. "That's such a dumb word."

"Just say cool like the rest of us," someone else said.

I felt my cheeks heat with embarrassment -- and hated myself for letting them see any hint of upset.

Mr. Parton tapped his foot impatiently. "Mind sharing with us what you were doing that's more important than listening to what I have to say? If anyone in this classroom needs to learn, it's you."

Okay. Now I'm officially pissed. "If you must know, I'm thinking of less painful ways to kill myself than from your lesson. Kevin."

My classmates erupted into laughter, and I heard the shuffle of their seats as they turned to glance at me. They may not like me, but they always found my irreverence amusing.

Mr. Parton glared. "You will address me as 'Mr. Parton' or not address me at all. You do not call me by my first name. Ever. I don't want someone like you even thinking it."

How's this for a math equation: the wooden stake comment plus the someone-like-you comment equals a ready-to-throw-down Jade Leigh. His words assured one thing: I would not allow myself to back down now.

"Is it okay, then, if I call you Kevie?" I said. I'm Goth; that doesn't make me a vampire. If I were, I would have drained Mr. Parton a long time ago.

Honestly, I'm not evil. I liked to dabble in the magical arts (upon occasion), yes, and I dressed to set myself apart from the ultratraditional norm. There's nothing wrong with expressing my individuality.

"There will be a quiz on this information," he growled. "While I'm happy to give you an F, I'll be even happier to give you detention if you don't start paying attention."

He expected me to shake with fear over the thought of detention. If he'd said something about "extreme makeover" or "an hour of shopping with the Barbie clones" . . . maybe. But an hour alone with my thoughts?

Yeah, I'm quaking.

Just keep your mouth shut, Jade, my common sense piped in. Ignore him. You can't afford to be in trouble again. I looked up at last, facing him, determined (finally) to remain silent and end our battle. He wouldn't get in trouble for it, but I would. Yet, when my gaze locked with his, his too-thin lips curled in a smug smile and his green eyes glowed with triumph -- as if he'd already won.

"That's what I thought," he said, his voice as smug as his grin.

"Detention sounds like fun," I found myself saying, all sense of preservation annihilated by his premature smugness. "Sign me up. I can hardly wait to start."

His eyes narrowed to tiny slits, and his face darkened to an angry red, clashing with his white button-up shirt (no wrinkles) and brown dress slacks (again, no wrinkles). So neat. So tidy.

At one time, I bet he'd been military.

That's probably why he'd taken an instant dislike to me at the beginning of the school year. Military men, like my dad, liked things precise, nothing out of place. I usually wore a black vinyl shirt lined with cobweb lace, fishnet gloves, and ripped jeans. Or, like today, a frayed black mini and black Victorian corset. Soooo not "precise" and completely out of place. My black lip liner and nose ring probably didn't help.

What do you think he'd do if he saw the symbol of infinity tattooed around my navel?

"You want detention so badly I'll sign you up for the entire week." He crossed his arms over his chest, obviously expecting me to rush out an apology. "How would you like that?"

When would he learn I wasn't like the other kids at this school?

"Mr. Parton," I said, studying my metallic blue nail polish as if I hadn't a care in the world. Inside, though, I hadn't forgotten that I stood on the edge of a jagged cliff, trouble waiting for me if I fell. But I couldn't seem to help myself; I despised this man too much. "Do you mind getting back to your lecture, so I can get back to my nap?"

Another round of laughter erupted.

"That's it!" Scowl deepening, he pounded toward me and slapped his hand against my desk, causing the metal legs to vibrate. If he didn't learn to control his stress level, he'd burst a vessel in his forehead. "You've been nothing but a nuisance for three weeks. You have the worst grades in the class -- in all your classes, actually. I checked."

My back straightened, and my shoulders squared. How dare this "role model" discuss my grades with the entire class. "I have an A in creative writing," I informed him staunchly.

"Well, good for you." The sarcastic edge in his voice grated against my every nerve. "You know how to write in your native language. Woohoo. Let's all give Miss Leigh a round of applause."

More laughter (no longer in my favor), followed by the sound of enthusiastic hand clapping and whistling. Traitors! I should have expected nothing less.

My eyes narrowed, and I think Mr. Parton realized I was about to rip into him. He slapped my desk again. "We're done with this conversation. I've had enough of you, and I want you out." He jerked a finger toward the door. "Get out of my classroom. Go straight to the principal's office. Do not talk to anyone. Do not stop in the bathroom."

What, should I collect two hundred dollars if I passed Go?

Tomblike silence claimed the room as I bent to retrieve my books and red velvet purse from the floor. "Don't you need to write me a note or something?" I said, purposefully keeping my tone light. No way I'd give him the "please let me stay" reaction he craved.

His nostrils flared before he stomped to his desk, scribbled something on a piece of paper, and thudded back to me. He smacked that sheet into my outstretched palm. "Out!"

"Thanks," I said, proud of myself. I hadn't backed down, hadn't let him intimidate me. As my mom once said, "If you don't stand up for yourself, Jade sweetie, no one else will. Be strong. Be brave. Be you."

She'd uttered those words right before she died.

Two years ago, a distracted driver had slammed into our car, propelling us into the one in front of us. I'd been fifteen at the time, and she had been teaching me how to drive. I lost my mom that day, as well as the illusion of immortality. I had almost died myself and still bore the scars on my abdomen, so I understood how short life could be. I would not allow a man like Mr. Parton to ruin a single day of mine.

I may only be seventeen years old, but that doesn't mean I'm stupid. That doesn't mean I'm powerless. Mr. Parton enjoys taking his frustrations out on his class. He spills coffee on his shirt, we get a quiz. He locks his keys in his car, we get ten pages of homework.

What's more, I (obviously) can't stand the way he talks to me, as if I'm less of a person than he is because I'm younger, because I dress differently. Should I be punished for not liking math (and sucking at it)? Should I be punished for dabbling in what others considered the darker side of life?

"Pick up the pace," he told me irritably. "The sooner you're gone, the sooner the rest of the class can enjoy the lesson."

I pushed to my feet and adjusted the bag over my shoulder. "I don't think you have to worry about anyone enjoying it."

The comment earned several snickers.

His teeth bared in a scowl, and he took a menacing step toward me. The man looked ready to snap -- my neck, that is. A little tremble worked through me, but I quickly squashed it. If I showed any weakness, he would only use it against me in our next skirmish.

And there would be another one. There always was.

I remained in place, taking comfort in the fact that Mr. Parton had to look up at me. I'm taller than he is by several inches -- and I'm only five foot seven. I'd bet my college savings he suffers from a Napoleon complex.

See, I pay attention in some of my classes.

"You come back in here and you'll regret it. Do you understand me?"

"That's something I already knew, Kev, what with you and your lecturing . . ." Without waiting for his reply, I gave him a finger wave and headed for the door. I knew everyone was watching me leave; I felt the heat of their gazes boring into my back. In case you're wondering, yes, this has happened to me many times before.

"Freak," someone muttered as I passed.

Mr. Parton smirked, not saying a word in rebuke. My cheeks again burned a bright red; my stomach clenched. I don't want to be one of the crowd, a clone like the rest of them, but I do want to be respected. I want to be accepted for who I am. No one enjoys being called horrible names.


"Loo-ser," I heard Mercedes Turner say. Beautiful, wealthy, utterly popular Mercedes Turner. She glanced up from her Sidekick, probably e-mailing one of her clone friends about me, and smirked. I hate, hate, hate her.

The only thing we have in common is the fact that we both only have one parent. Wait. That's not true. We have two things in common. She hates me as much as I hate her. Mortal enemies, that was us.

With her pale hair, blue eyes, perfect makeup and perfect clothes, she's Hell High's It girl. Every girl wants to be her (except me -- gag!), and every boy wants to date her. I know for a fact that every boy wants to date her because she's stolen the ones I've wanted. The moment a boy shows any interest in me, Mercedes suddenly has to have him. She's determined to ruin my life, and I don't know why.

Unless you count the time I introduced her face to my fists. Over and over again.

"The world is a better place without her mom," she'd mumbled to her friends only a few days after my mom's funeral. She hadn't meant for me to hear, but I had and I'd exploded into action, hitting and kicking her with every ounce of my strength, every ounce of rage and impotence I'd felt at being unable to save my mother. My friends had had to pull me off of her.

Yes, I have friends here at school. Does it shock you to hear some people actually like me? Well, it shouldn't. They're outcasts like me. I hang with Erica, Linnie (short for Linda), and Robb. We eat lunch together every day and sometimes party after school. They're a lot like me, my friends. They love the joy of expression. They hate conformity. Hate hypocrisy. Hate the rigidness of what's supposedly "proper."

More importantly, they hate the Barbies. I could have used their moral support right now.

When I stood in the hall, the door closed tight behind me, I leaned against the cool red brick. I drew in a breath. Sweet escape. Alone at last, the burn in my cheeks began to fade. I glanced over the note Mr. Parton had written. The handwriting was almost unreadable, but I was able to make out "disrupt" and "no longer tolerate" and "expel."

I should be so lucky.

No. I sighed. Not true. Actually, I couldn't afford to be expelled. My grades weren't the best, but I was passing. If I were expelled, I would be given zeros for the missed work, and I would fail. If I failed, I wouldn't graduate and couldn't, at last, pursue my dream.

I want to be a writer.

Stupid, huh? I'd have better luck becoming a witch. My dad says only, like, one percent of writers actually get published. (When I told him my dream, he looked up the statistics on the Internet, hoping to talk some sense into me.) I love to write, though, and have countless notebooks and journals filled with my stories, my thoughts.

Oh, the magic . . . the possibilities . . . the total lack of limitation I find within those pages. On paper, I can do impossible things. I can find acceptance for who I am -- acceptance that always eludes me in real life.

With another sigh, I pushed down the hall. Posters that read VOTE FOR MERCEDES littered the walls. They even had Mercedes's smiling, perfect picture. She wants to be student body president. The only way I'll vote for her is if a steaming pile of dog shit is my only other choice. And even then it's iffy. If I had a marker, I would have given her pictures fangs and horns.

Well, maybe not, I decided after a moment's thought. That would have insulted the devil.

Thankfully the hallways were devoid of students, so I didn't have to deal with anyone. That would change in about five minutes when everyone rushed to their next class. I quickened my step, the loud clump-clump of my boots echoing. When I reached the principal's office, I waved to the secretaries. They rolled their eyes.

"Jade, Jade, Jade." Cher, my favorite, tsked under her tongue. Yes, that's her name, and yes, we're on a first-name basis. She has curly red hair, round cheeks, countless freckles, and a plump figure.

What I liked best about her, though, was that she always wore a fancy dress and didn't care what everyone else thought. No matter the occasion, she was dressed for prom. Today she wore an emerald green puffy . . . thing with ruffles down the center.

"I'll let Ms. Hamilton know you're here," she said, picking up the phone. "Have a seat."

The lobby was big, separated from the offices by a long yellow counter. There were three desks and a few scattered chairs. Computers, fax machines, phones that rang constantly. The walls were covered with red-and-black banners, our school colors. HOME OF THE FIGHTING STALLIONS they read. The jocks loved to refer to themselves as stallions -- fighting, bucking, wild. Didn't matter.

They were a herd of idiots, in my opinion.

I turned toward the noncushioned seats in front of Ms. Hamilton's office. Ms. Hamilton purposefully made them as uncomfortable as possible, a subtle punishment meant to keep us away. One of the chairs was already occupied -- by a boy I didn't recognize. A, uh, hot boy. A really hot boy.

The sight of him caught me off guard, and I blinked. Gulped. Stilled. I didn't mean to, but I stared at him, my breath caught in my throat. He had dark, messy hair, a square face, and heavy-lidded blue eyes that did strange things to my stomach.

Red alert!

His shoulders were wide and his gray T-shirt hugged his biceps. Obviously he worked out. A lot. Did he play basketball? Probably. Football? Most likely. The thought should have lessened his total hottieness because the jocks never tired of harassing me and my friends, calling us freaks and psychos. But it didn't.

I knew I should turn away, but couldn't.

The longer I stood here staring at him, the more stupid I probably looked. Sit down, you idiot, and play it fright. Play it fright! I forced my feet to move, one scuffed boot in front of the other.

"Hey," I said, easing into the seat across from him. Then I pressed my lips together. I shouldn't have said anything. He'd probably ignore me. He'd probably act like --

"Hey," he said, his voice deep, a little husky. He leaned back in the chair, untouchable. Detached from me and the rest of the world.

A moment passed before I realized he'd spoken. To me. He'd actually spoken to me. I relaxed against the seat. His gaze roved over me, slowly, taking me in inch by inch, and I experienced another flash of panic. Was my hair a mess? Was my skirt zipped? I gripped the hem of said skirt to keep from reaching up and checking. The silver chains circling my wrists dug into my thigh.

He gave me a mysterious half smile.

That grin made my palms sweat and my skin feel hot. I didn't date -- and not by my own choosing (hello, I'm a normal girl), but because the boys here never asked me out. Besides, I wasn't one hundred percent comfortable around boys. As I said, the ones I crushed on tended to fall for girls like Mercedes: perfect, blond, and disgustingly perky. Not that I'm crushing on this guy. Really.

"You, uh, new here?" I asked.

"Yeah. First day."

"Well, you're lucky you missed lunch. The food here sucks."

"Every school cafeteria is the same." As he spoke, he stretched out his jean-clad legs -- his very long jean-clad legs. "Bad."

Covertly I looked him over, but I didn't see any piercings or tattoos, two things that would have placed him on my level. I frowned with disappointment. "What's your name?" I found myself asking.


"Fright name." I paused. "That means I like it. I'm, uh, Jade."

"Thanks." He gave me another of those mysterious grins, this one even slower, more lethal. "Jade -- pretty name."

"Thank you." My gaze traveled to the piece of paper folded in his hand. "That your schedule?"


A boy of few words. I kind of liked that.

The bell rang, and the halls behind us jammed with students. I didn't have to turn and look out the glass wall to know. Their footsteps echoed in my ears, blending with the sound of slamming lockers and laughing chatter. Even the air changed, thickening with the scent of multiple perfumes and colognes.

"Who'd you get?" I asked, having to speak louder to be heard.

He read the paper. "Harper, Norfield, Reynolds, Parton, Frandemier, and Carroll."

Did we have Norfield and Parton at the same time? If so, I'd be happy to tutor him after school and bring him up to speed. Totally from the goodness of my heart, I assure you. I'm giving that way. A constant do-gooder. Really, I deserve a humanitarian award. A plaque at the very least.

Clarik sat up and leaned toward me, anchoring his elbows on his knees. He pinned me with an intense gaze. "I overslept and missed most of the day, so haven't gotten to meet any of them. Any words of advice for me?"

I didn't have to think about it. "Yeah. Get out of Parton's class."

He chuckled, and the husky sound of it washed over me. "An asshole, is he?"

"You have no -- "

"Clarik," Cher called. "Your guide is here."

Immediately he stood and turned toward the girl now filling the entrance. I looked, too. When I saw her, I ground my teeth together. My nails dug into my fishnets. Mercedes. Of course. I should have known she'd arrive the moment the words "he's hot" passed through my mind. In her short pink skirt and white tank, she was as beautiful as ever. Her blond hair floated around her delicate shoulders.

My gaze flicked back to Clarik, who seemed riveted by the sight of her. Typical. And disappointing.

"You're Clarik?" she asked in surprise. She blushed prettily and ran her bottom lip between her teeth, the picture of innocence and sweetness. She even smiled shyly.

Talk about false advertising. Mercedes wasn't shy, wasn't innocent, and she sure as hell wasn't sweet.

Clarik cleared his throat. "Yep, that's me." He glanced down at me for the briefest of seconds. With dismissal? Or -- and this was probably just wistful thinking on my part -- regret? "Nice to meet you, Jade."

"Yeah," I gritted out. "You, too."

Mercedes finally noticed me and scowled. "Come on," she said to Clarik. She actually strolled to him, grabbed his arm, and tugged him beside her. "We need to get you out of this office before you're contaminated by the trash. I'll show you to your class."

They were off, the sound of Mercedes's chattering voice fading.

I gripped the edge of my seat to keep from sprinting after her and reintroducing her face to my fists. At this very second she was probably telling Clarik he shouldn't associate with me, that I was a horrible person, blah, blah, blah. I shouldn't care. I'd just met him, and he meant nothing to me. But I couldn't stop sparks of anger from spreading through my veins.

Tomorrow Clarik would see me in the hall and probably turn the other way. He'd act like he had never met me, and call me a freak behind my back. Mercedes would smile smugly, like she always did.

I'd have to pretend it didn't bother me, like I always did. I would never -- never! -- let Mercedes know she hurt me. Like Mr. Parton, she'd use any perceived weakness against me for eternity.

Suddenly the principal's door burst open, claiming my attention. I shoved my enemy and her new (hot) target out of my mind. They weren't important. Right? Right. Wait, one last thought about Mercedes. What a bitch! Okay, now I was done.

My friend Linnie sailed out of the office, her jet-black hair in spikes around her head. She wore a flowing black dress, black hose, and heels. Her silver eyebrow ring glinted in the light.

Surprised to see her, I jolted to my feet. She spotted me, grinned, and skidded to a halt.

"What happened?" I asked. "Why are you here?"

"Hammy's in a wicked bad mood," she said loudly, not caring who heard. "Hammy" is what we call Principal Hamilton. Rarely to her face, though. "She gave me two days' vacation. Come to my house later. I'm having a party to celebrate."

Two days. Crap. What would I get if Linnie, who wasn't nearly as troublesome as me, got two days? Linnie didn't mind the expulsion, I knew, because she had money. Well, her parents had money and she had it by association. She didn't have to ever work, didn't have to attend college if she didn't want. To her, expulsion was a vacation.

"What'd you do?" I asked.

She opened her mouth to answer, but Ms. Hamilton appeared in the doorway and said, "Get in here, Leigh."

My heart skipped a traitorous beat.

Linnie's brows arched. "Told you," she said. "You're in for a world of hurt, my friend, and not in a good way. Enjoy."

Copyright ©2006 by Gena Showalter


Excerpted from Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter Copyright © 2006 by Gena Showalter. Excerpted by permission.
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