Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vibes ~ Amy Kathleen Ryan review

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
October 6, 2008
256 Pages

Kristi Carmichael hates just about everything-her crazy, eccentric, hippie school, her mother, even her friend. But she also has a secret that helps alienate her from all those she can't stand, she can hear what others are thinking, she can read minds.

And she can hear all the horrible things they think about how gross and ugly and fat she is. Including the hot, popular Gusty Peterson.

This book did. not. work, for me. (or apparently the Amazon description person: "this YA novel is completely on the mark.") While it didn't bother that Kristi could read minds and it wasn't treated as some mental defect that needed treatment or counseling or whatever (it's a fiction book, I can deal with things being fantasy even in non-fantasy books), the book didn't work for me.

By page 50 I not only had the book figured out, I was ready to give it up entirely because of how dumb I found where it was going. (By page 7o-something I'd taken to just skimming the pages until the ending.)

Kristi had 'practical jokes' she liked to play on people so that she could then help them and hear their thoughts of gratitude but they weren't funny or cute...they were rather cruel, actually.

Obviously, Kristi was supposed to 'reform' by the end of the book (learn from herself and all that), see how she wasn't actually observant at all, but I didn't feel she actually grew much at all.

I saw her friends Jacob and Mallory remind me slightly of Ted and Hollywood from Absolutely Maybe (only this time I don't like them much).

The mind reading was supposed to be used as a tool-I think for Kristi's devolpment and for her to deal with her father's leaving, her mother'd drinking, her best friend's abandonmnet, etc but like I said, I had this book figured out by page 50, didn't like the character, and didn't like the ending either.


It was said several times how her best friend Hildie had quit being her best friend but I didn't really think it was explained well. I know they said she 'got hot' or whatever and the boys started following her but, well, it just seemed strange that that was that and it bothered Kristi as much as it did (the friendship portrayed didn't seem like it would just end for no reason and if it did, Kristi doesn't deal with it in the book)... It didn't seem to all add up for me. (But maybe that's part of the characters not working for me.)



*paperback out January, 2010

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