Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vibes vs. Dream Girl

Sassy, curvy, gothy, and psychic teen Kristi stands out in every way. Unlike the other barbie doll-esque girls with whom she attends school, Kristi has more glaring concerns on her mind then who to date. Kristi is psychic, and has to work very hard to separate the thoughts of others from her own. Always expressive, often to the point of being offensive, Kristi is smart and vocal about her opinions. She makes her own clothes, listens to opera, and befriends the school freaks. Now if only she could get uber-popular and totally hot Gusty out of her mind... but she just keeps getting these Vibes.

Claire Voyante is not your typical Dream Girl. Her french parents don't even know how ironic her name is because Claire keeps her psychic abilities a secret from everyone but her Grandmother Kiki. Dressed vintage Chanel, Fendi, and Givenchy outfits, Claire runs around New York solving mysteries and defending the honor of her new best friend Becca.

To be fair, it is hard to summarize books like these and make them sound inventive and enticing, which Vibes really was. I enjoyed the Kristi's strong character and I liked that she was curvy and proud. While she could easily be labeled as a goth chick, she isn't stereotypical in the way many goth kids are portrayed in YA Lit. I also appreciated the realistic way her parents and friends were written... often flaws are the most interesting part about a person, and in too many YA books, everything wraps up clean, pretty, and sparkly.

Dream Girl, however, left me wanting a better story. It felt a little bit like Gossip Girl, Blue Bloods, and some pop-culture TV shows all wrapped up together. While it wasn't a terrible book, it paled in comparison to Vibes. I would still pass this book on, especially to the girls who can't get enough of those rich girl books sprinkled generously with fashion and celebrities. However, anyone looking for a truly engaging story about a teen girl with the ability to hear other people's thoughts and/or see the future should choose Vibes over Dream Girl.

Vibes-- Amy Kathleen Ryan
Dream Girl-- Lauren Mechling

No comments: