Vibes

Book review by
Kristen Breck, Common Sense Media
Vibes Book Poster Image
Honest, edgy portrait of teen girl includes mature themes.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Kristi is an angry, attitudinal teen who wears gobs of makeup, makes her own clothing from scraps found in trash bins, swears, lies to her mother, plays mean tricks on innocent strangers, and thinks she is fat and ugly. She also believes that she is psychic. In the end Kristi takes responsibility for her behavior and begins to make amends with family and friends. Kristi's best friend is homosexual, her new friend smokes, and a minor character is anorexic. The gay and anorexic characters are treated sympathetically, though the gay friend is somewhat stereotyped. Characters participate in mean teasing. Kristi's parents are separated and her father had an affair. A high school teacher seriously flirts with a sophomore girl.

Violence
Sex

No sex but some graphically described kissing and plenty of innuendo. References to erections, erotic dreams, "ginormous boobs," "watermelon sized gazungas"; various boys look at the main character's breasts and imagine doing things with them. Kristi writes a lude poem: "I love the way you rub pollen on my pistil, your sweet caress really gets my nectar flowing, you can pollinate me anytime you want."

Language

Frequent and varied: "suck," "f--king," "bastard," "bad ass," "bitch," "damn," "Christ," "pissed," "hell," "asshole," "fags."

Consumerism

Kristi watches CNN, FOX, and Comedy Central. Minor characters refer to BabyGap, Abercrombie and Fitch, Glamour magazine, M&Ms, Russel Crowe.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Plenty of adult drinking -- Kristi's father drinks whiskey when he's troubled. Kristi tries the wine and also takes a swig of tequila from the bottle her mother offers her. Kristi's friend, Mallory, smokes, and Kristi thinks it's kind of cool, although she swears she will never smoke.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17 year old Written bysexii March 4, 2010

perfect for highschool

i am a junior in high school and this book taught me alot about high school and the social dramatic episodes that go on. about what you can or can not do, depen... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 year old Written byAmethyst123 April 1, 2010

LOVED IT

Im not 14 im 12 biit read this book and i LOVED it, i guess im just into things like that!! :D
Teen, 13 years old Written bystarchild_0997 May 13, 2010
its avery good books but i wouldnt let anyone to yougn read it (even though im 12 and i read it :),lol)
Teen, 14 years old Written byKatie-Kakes September 28, 2009

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate