Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Karma Bites By Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Karma Bites was the funnest read I've had in a long time.  It's definitely geared towards a younger crowd, the ten to fourteen year old crowd and fourteen may be pushing it, but I'm in my forties and I loved it.  All the typical middle school players are there, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the band geeks, the smart geeks, the loners and a few special people that can go back and forth between the groups.  That's what the main character of the novel, Franny, is, a floater.  And the stress of it is making her crazy even before the first day of seventh grade.  So when her very interesting and well traveled Grandma gives her a glimpse at a magic box, Franny sees a way to "fix" things.  Give a seventh grade girl with an imagination a little bit of magic and sit back and watch the mayhem begin.

It feels like Franny's world is in a free fall from the first magic she uses.  It all starts when the hair dye she's using turns her hair bright orange.  Her mother is having a meltdown and can't help.  So she turns to her eccentric grandmother who pulls something out of her closet and pours it on her hair making it go back to it's original color.  But, it was a magic potion and the side effects make Franny say exactly what she feels.  She talks to people that aren't socially acceptable and talks back to a teacher which results in her being sent to the prinicipal, a first for her.  She demands answers from her grandmother when she gets home and finds out about a secret box with magic recipes she just can't keep her hands off of it.  She doesn't seem to remember her grandmother's warnings about messing with the universe as she fixes this and that.  But all her plans seem to go awry and it takes someone powerful to put things back in place.  Through it all Franny is trying to juggle friends,  cliques, seventh grade, divorced parents, lies, magic, unraveling friendships and boy troubles and it all becomes a big complicated mess.  Like most of us in seventh grade, it feels like there's no way it could work out, but the answers are simple when she's given them.

I really didn't want this novel to end.  It was fun to read and remember what we called junior high school and the things that seemed so big back then that are so small now in comparison.  I wanna go back.  I'd rather take on the cheerleaders than the bank any day of the week!  I recommend this book from preteens to anyone that wants an easy read about middle school and how much trouble a girl with a little bit of magic can make.  She and her grandmother end up with a great relationship because of it and she does learn some life lessons along the way, but I think the reader may not catch that.  I'd definitely read this again.

This was sent to me as an E-Book ARC  on NetGalley from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  I received no monetary or other compensation for this review. 

This novel is due for release August 16th

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