Let me just start by saying – I was in tears by the time I got to the last page of Kate Leth’s Mall Goth Graphic Novel. Kate Leth, the writer of Polly Pocket, My Little Pony, Transformers, and Hellcat comics, has written a tender, honest, and hopeful coming-of-age graphic novel.
Mall Goth explores themes of identity, self-discovery, and friendship through Liv. Liv, a bisexual teen in the early 2000s, moves to a new town while her parents are going through a divorce. She quickly catches the attention of the goth boy at school and her English teacher – both of which are perilous situations.
Mall Goth is a delightful walk down memory lane
Mall Goth is a delightful walk down memory lane for me – a goth who also came up in the early 2000s. I also think that it’s a must-read for teens today. For those of us elders, it’s full of perfect nods to our teen years. For current teens, it’s got enough color to feel perfectly vintage.
Mall Goth was a delightful trip down memory lane for me – a goth who also grew up in the early 2000s – and a must-read for teens today. For those of us who are older, it’s full of perfect nods to our teenage years, and for current teens, it’s got enough color to feel perfectly vintage. The heart of the story is Liv’s quest to find out who she is. She’s reminded many times not to shrink herself for others and that being true to yourself always pays off. There’s so much honesty and emotion packed into the fairly quick read.
While the book flies through the first semester of her first school year in a new town, Liv’s friendships and her relationship with her mom feel fully developed and intentional. Leth is a master of packing as many details into a panel as possible without making things overwhelming. Posters on the wall, clothing details, and AIM chat logs build out the world and the characters.
The Illustrations help set the tone
The illustrations of Mall Goth are beautiful and evocative with a soft color palette. They perfectly transport readers back to early 2000s suburbia with technology, fashion, pop-culture references, and (of course) mall storefronts. Sousa’s muted color palette adds to the feeling of nostalgia. Leth is a master of packing as many details into a panel as possible, without making things overwhelming. Posters on the wall, details on clothing, and AIM chat logs help to build out the world and the characters.
Mall Goth is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, and it is a reminder that it is okay to be yourself. Honestly, I really hope Mall Goth gets a film adaptation. The story is already well-developed, and the characters are so relatable. I can just imagine seeing Liv’s journey on the big screen.
I highly recommend this story to anyone who is looking for a heartwarming and relatable story. It is a quick and easy read, but it will stay with you long after you finish it. Now, I’m gonna go put on some Evanescence.