Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Kristi hates her life. Her father left years ago; her mother works 12+ hour shifts at the hospital; and she has no real friends. Oh yeah, and she can read minds. Sounds like that would be a plus, but mainly what she 'hears' includes her classmates' derrogatory comments, her teachers' inappropriate thoughts, and what boys think of her huge 'gazungas.

Then everything starts to change. The new boy at school, Mallory, has even more issues than Kristi, and wants to be more than her friend. She is stuck in a school assignment with the hottest boy she knows, whom she still has a crush on from childhood. Her mom gets a promotion, putting her in the house on a regular schedule and threatening discovery of her unapproved pet. And her father is coming back for a visit. Through all this, Kristi catches the thoughts of others, some confirming her cynical suspicions about human nature, but most just confusing her. In the end, she is left questioning everything, even her own special ability.

Truthfully, I spent half of this book trying to decide if I really liked it or really hated it. Kristi has a very strong voice and it can, at times, be a bit off-putting. However, it does ring true. For me, the ending, with its resolutions and lack of resolutions, made this book worth reading. Also, many of the peripheral characters appear to be stereotypes at the beginning, but are slowly fleshed out into interesting and full-bodied people. I especially liked Jacob and Gusty.

So, if you are up for a quick read, or if you know an especially cynical teen, this is just the right book. Read it, share it, laugh out loud at it.

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