A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main character, Kristi, is angry, isolated, intentionally cruel, and lies to her mother. There is much swearing and cynicism, some adult and teen drinking and smoking (a mother offers her daughter tequila), as well as crude sexual banter, but nothing much beyond that. On a positive note, Kristi takes responsibility for her misguided behavior and begins to make amends with family and friends. There are two stable boy characters. The material is mature but has several good discussion points.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Kristi is a sophomore at an alternative high school that she hates, which isn't unusual, since she hates almost everything and everyone. Ever since her father left the family two years ago, life is not the same for Kristi. Her ex-best friend Hildie can't stand her; Gusty -- Hildie's hot brother -- thinks that Kristi is \"sick,\" and Kristi's mom is a surgeon workaholic. Listening to opera is about the only thing that saves Kristi from her own thoughts -- as well as the thoughts of others, for Kristi is a self-prescribed psychic. For Kristi, hearing the thoughts of others just means she knows all the nasty things that people think about her. When a school project pairs her with Gusty, she must explore her own greatest attributes and liabilities and then make a plan to improve her life.
Is it any good?
Kristi is not an easy character to like initially. She lies, ignores responsibility, plays mean tricks on strangers, and wallows in negativity. She is, however, a complex character, and eventually reveals an honest, smart, creative, hopeful, and vulnerable side. Kristi sees and then admits her own mistakes, and has the courage to make amends in this story that moves along at a good clip.
Kristi's psychic abilities are an interesting feature here, especially because she trusts them so much. Readers will have their doubts about how psychic she really is -- and thankfully the story is not consumed by supernatural gimmicks. It's more of an edgy portrayal of teen girl many teen girls will relate to in some way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss body image and how teens come to respect or despise what they look like. The main character in this book believes she is ugly, yet the best-looking boy in school thinks she is beautiful. How do people form such different images of the same thing? Why do you think Kristi thought beautiful people are evil? Families can also discuss taking responsibility for wrongdoing. Kristi ultimately has the courage to see herself honestly and to apologize for the hurt she caused both family and friends. But Kristi's father never really owns up to his part in her pain. What is the role of responsibility; what is the role of forgiveness in this story?