Now here's a different kind of teenage goth kid- specifically Southern Goth.
John Kennedy Toole wrote this short (162 svelte pages) Southern Gothic novel as a teenager, age 16. It shows surprising skill and craft for the creation of one so young. It also shows surprising emotional maturity for one so young.
It reads very well. Toole did an excellent job of creating not just a feel of the little Louisiana town, but several strong characters- most notably his Aunt Mae. He doesn't have a strong "plot" in the sense of a discreet continual storyline, but the succession of events over several years adds up to a statement and viewpoint. He brings it all together with a big conclusion. It works.
This book would be really excellent for high school aged readers. Though the protagonist is a boy, the sensitivities and the dominance of female characters would make this more obviously appealing to a teenage girl rather than boys of that age.
The Neon Bible rates pretty good as a book in its own right for adults or teens, but it really rates as a must-read for anyone who's big on Toole's other book, the Pulitzer winning A Confederacy of Dunces. It gives more clues and depth of meaning to his better known book.
For starters, now I'm thinking about Confederacy as a Southern goth novel turned inside out. Like The Neon Bible, it has all the decaying Southern atmosphere, and the tragic characters trapped by their birth. Confederacy is from one angle a comic Southern goth riff.
There are numerous similarities beneath the surfaces of what seem like very different styles and tones. Both novels have boys dependent on weak, deteriorating mother characters.
Most striking, both of Toole's novels end with their protagonists fleeing their homes, desperately hoping for some kind of unknown deliverance or redemption in some random place far away from a home they've never before left. In both cases, the flight resolves the immediate story lines, yet leaves the character lost and hanging out in space. You can really see how the author was staring into the abyss in both novels.