Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Kristi likes her cat Minie (as in mouse), opera music, unusual practical jokes, and making her own clothes from anything and everything. She doesn’t have the greatest relationship with her mom, her dad split a couple of years ago, and her best friend now hangs out with the popular kids and makes fun of her. And the guy that she crushed on? He now thinks she’s sick. How does she know all of that? She’s psychic, of course.

Going to school is not something Kristi enjoys, but it has it’s defining moments. She does have Jacob Flax as a friend, but he seems to only think about one thing, and life goes on as usual, until she meets the new student, a guy named Mallory, who has defiance issues similar to hers.

School isn’t your typical school. It has Morning Meetings, Explorations in Nature (ie science) and the Contemplation Room. Kristi thinks of it more like a joke than school, but it’s someplace she can get lost in, even if there aren’t that many students. And when her best friend Jacob decides to share with everyone during morning meeting he’s going to improve himself, the principal decides it needs to be an entire school project with partners. And Kristi’s is….Gusty, the golden god and her old crush.

As with anything in life, Kristi meets this expectation by pushing away and making sure her shell remains intact – no one in, herself left out. But the more the project goes on, the more unsure Kristi is of not only her abilities as a psychic, but also about herself and her relationships, especially those with her parents. Can she juggle who she is as well as come to terms with who others think she is? Could Kristi possibly let go and find there is more out there than surface matieral?

Amy Kathleen Ryan has invented a unique, quirky, and strong main character that continues to resonate throughout the book. The more into the story the reader gets, the more layers are peeled back not only in Kristi, but in all of the characters. A fast read with plenty of depth in dealing with issues of friendships, family, and personal lives. If you have readers who loved Cohn’s Gingerbread or Alex Bradley’s Hot Lunch, they need to take a look at larger than life Kristi. Highly recommended.


Chelsea said...

I really liked this one, but thought it would have been better as simply a contemporary. The psychic aspect seemed something that was just thrown in, and is really misleading - I'd picked up the book for that reason alone, to be surprised with a more contemporary read. But it was still good!

naomibates said...

I liked the "psychic" aspect because it makes you think, did she really have the ability or was it a crutch for her to protect herself? To me, it wasn't thrown in, but something deliberately done to show Kristi's character and insecurities.

Naomi said...
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