Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reads for Girls


by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.
249 pages

Meet Kristi Carmichael--quirky, inconsistant, moody, self-absorbed, a little overweight, and she can read minds! Because of this ability, she sees the real thoughts of peers and adults who judge her because of her weight and appearance. This only makes her more moody and self-absorbed and causes her to binge on junk food. The more she tries to lose weight, the more she seems to self-sabotage.

Kristi listens to opera on headphones to drown out other people's thoughts that she is able to hear. She feels, "Opera is the perfect soundtrack for the tragedy of modern life." Dealing with high school angst, body image, and her parents' impending divorce doesn't make her life any easier.

Girls will gravitate to Kristi--especially those girls with weight/body image issues. Kristi is at times confused, embarrassed, searching, and mostly, angry--not unlike any other teen-age girl. She is a typical hormonal teen--except for the fact that she can "hear" what others are thinking. The outcome of the book is trite--Kristi's problems seem to melt away when she finally finds a boyfriend, and he's totally HOT! Kristi says, "And I'm still me, a big-breasted, slightly freaky, opera-loving, possibly psychic seamstress, and cat enthusiast who now has a totally hot boyfriend." The message to girls seems to be--get a boyfriend and everything else will be fine. If girls read Vibes for fun and not for life's lessons, they will likely enjoy the read. Like many recent novels, Vibes has a gay character. Recommended for YA collections, grades 8-high school.

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