Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan. (Grades 8+)
Kristi is not exactly a nice person. But she has good reasons for that. Her best friend turned on her around the same time her dad left. She's forced to go to this hippy-dippy alternative school where instead of biology and English she takes "Explorations of Nature" and "Story as Cultural Artifact".
Oh yeah, and she hears what people are thinking.
And most of the time, they're not thinking very kind things.
I really liked Vibes. Kristi's a complicated character and a bit of an unreliable narrator. She thinks she has everything all figured out, but when she's faced with a situation like, say, her dad coming home for a visit for the first time in two years, it's obvious that she doesn't have anything figured out at all. Readers learn more about Kristi and grow with her as she faces some startling revelations and begins to find her place in the world.
It's not a readalike for these exactly, but as I was reading Kristi's voice reminded me of Jamie from Big Fat Manifesto and a little of Miles from You Know Where to Find Me. She's not afraid to be herself, even when she has to face everyone's mean thoughts about her every day.
Vibes is a great story about facing truths (both ugly and pleasant) and finding your way.
Read reviews at bookshelves of doom, The Picnic Basket, and Biblio File. And don't miss Amy Kathleen Ryan's website.
Review copy provided by Houghton Mifflin.