Book Review: Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Have you ever had one of those gotta have a V8, smack yourself in the head moment? I had issues with my audible library and apparently a few books that I had purchased in the past somehow did not make into my ipod. One of the books that got "lost" and now lovingly found was VIBES by Amy Kathleen Ryan.

I normally do not review books that I listen to in my car because I cannot seem to remember everything that I want to talk about, but I enjoyed the audio version so much that I had to get the actual book and talk about it. I cannot remember laughing so much about a story in a long while. I actually had a belly ache from all the laughter. The book has been out for almost a year but I think it deserves a mention because it is brilliant.

VIBES by Amy Kathleen RyanYYYY
Reading level: Young AdultHardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (October 6, 2008)

Nothing is beyond Kristi Carmichael's disdain—her hippie high school, her friend Jacob, her workaholic mom. Yet for all her attitude and her mind-reading abilities, Kristi has a vulnerable side. She can hear the thoughts of her fellow students calling her fat and gross. She's hot for Gusty Peterson, one of the most popular guys in school, but of course, she's sure he thinks she is disgusting. And she's still mad at her father, who walked out on them two years ago.

Soon, a school project brings her together with Gusty, her father comes home and drops a bombshell, and a friend comes out of the closet, and suddenly she is left doubting that she can read people at all. Bitingly funny but ultimately poignant and positive, this YA novel is completely on the mark.

As the story begins you get acquainted with Kristi and her world. She is a mind reading teen, full of self loathing who is unhappy and disconnected from her separated parents: her mother is a workaholic surgeon climbing the ladder at the local hospital and her father, whom is also a surgeon, has been volunteering in Africa for a couple of years. If, you consider walking out on your wife and daughter volunteering? At home she padlocks her room to keep the her cat Minnie hidden from her highly allergic mother. She orders two different types of take out to fool her mom (cheesy pizza for herself and healthy Chinese for Minnie) btw...I am reminded of a scene that involves Kristi's mom eating some leftover kitty chewed up tofu and I think I am gonna hurl. LOL!

Kristi hates her progressively different high school and tries very hard to be different and distant from her fellow students (wearing heavy makeup and dressing in homemade weird clothes from trash found in garbage bins on the street). Kristi uses profanity and thinks she is ugly and makes other negative statements about herself, but when you can hear every one's negative thoughts as Kristi can it is no wonder that she drowns everyone out in sarcasm and Maria Callis. It is especially hurtful when Gusty, the boy she adores keeps thinking that she is "sick". Kristi is not totally friendless at school she has her old friend Jacob and a new transfer student Mallory, whose acne plagued appearance makes Kristi feel less conspicuous about her well endowed chest and Mallory soon becomes witness to Kristi's penchant for practical jokes.

A bit spoilerish part (be forewarned)

Then a chain of events seem to shake Kristi to her core. She has a class project with Gusty, the object of her affection, her dad returns after a 2 year hiatus to inform her of something that changes her family forever, her new friend Mallory wants to date her, she admits to reading minds to her ex-best friend, not to mention that she is the last person to realize that her best friend is gay. YIKES!! When it rains it pours. All these events cause Kristi to rethink her stance in believing that she CAN read minds. Maybe it was all intuition? How could she have miss listened to so much?

Throughout her crisis she slowly begins to change and accept her mom, whom she realizes is strong woman and a bit kick ass. She knows that she is a bigger grown up than her father, and acknowledges the fact she has been a total bitch and to her classmates and friends. Kristi wants to make things right between herself and Gusty, whom all along knew her better than she knew herself, but is it too late for them?...

VIBES is a quirky and adorable story told in the voice of the psychic teen aged girl. Her voice is unique and fresh and at times full of self loathing. The story moved along at a quick pace never lost my attention. In fact I began listening to this book during a Sunday drive and I found myself sitting in my car for over an hour because I just had to know how the story would conclude. And, I was not disappointed. I laughed, cried and admired Kristi as she navigated the murky waters of her life and surfaced as better person in the end.

VIBES is an entertaining escape read that has some good values addressed within it's pages. This book will pull you into it's story and you will be anxious to find out how it all wraps up. I highly recommend VIBES, it is an excellent read.

Favorite Quote

"Video games were invented by demons riding dragons through the depths of a computer-generated hell rendered with excellent graphics so that I can see every drop of my blood on their three-pronged spears"

You can find an excerpt of VIBES Here

3 comments on "Book Review: Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan"

cupcakewitch wrote: June 23, 2009 at 7:13 AM

this sounds just like my type of book! i also think it is interesting that you remember less from audiobooks!

BookChic wrote: June 23, 2009 at 7:39 AM

I have that problem with audiobooks too, which is why I just do a mini-review, if I do a review at all.

Loved this book- read it in manuscript form back in spring 2008. It was really good. I didn't even know they had an audio of it.

Also, am very jealous of you having My Soul to Take. I so want that!! :)

Thao wrote: June 23, 2009 at 8:24 AM

I don't really like audio books cos I trust my eyes more than my ears :)

This book sounds cute. I just got copy, I'm so exicted to read it.

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“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

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