Nothing is beyond Kristi Carmichael's disdainher 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.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Hardcover, September 2008, ISBN: 978-0618995301
Paperback, January 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0547248899
"Wearing skirts she's made out of Mylar balloons or potato sacks, shirts she's sewed out of torn umbrellas or her absentee dad's abandoned clothing, narrator Kristi marches to her alternative high school, prepared to take on a world that hates hershe's pretty sure of it, given that she can read minds. Ryan, far outstripping the level of plotting and characterizations in her debut, Shadow Falls, turns in an exceptional second novel. Although Kristi is hostile to her mother, classmates and teachers, and genuinely nasty to total strangers, she makes herself vulnerable to readers. She is also consistently funny in a cynical, teenage way: "I live in a suburb of a suburb. I'm surrounded by the offspring of professional people who attend parent-teacher meetings and volunteer on Election Day." Events cast doubt on Kristi's mind-reading skills, but given the author's solid portraiture, readers will nevertheless want to trust Kristi, even before she learns to trust herself. Ryan works in both a romance and a divorce, and reverses Kristi's instinctive satirizing of people who care about herand does it all with an abundance of wit." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"I totally fell in love with this book." School Library Journal
"...snappy dialogue and ultimately happy ending." Kirkus Reviews
"...teens who walk their school's halls just knowing that everyone is thinking about them will be entertained by Kristi's prickly demeanor and empathize with her image issues." Booklist
"If you ever thought reading people's minds would make it easier to understand other people, Amy Kathleen Ryan is here to tell you that you're dead wrong. Funny, fresh, and heartfelt, Vibes zigs when you expect it to zag, and will have you both laughing out loud and rooting for Kristi to discover the truth about her parents, her friends, and herself."
Barry Lyga, Author of Boy Toy, Fanboy and Goth Girl