by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
pub: Aug 16, 2010/Sandpiper
Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders.
Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma. Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up. But Franny is about to learn that magic and karma aren’t to be played with. When you mess with the universe, it can bite back in unexpected ways. Ouch!
REVIEWHilarious! I don’t read a ton of Middle Grade or Tween fiction, but I’d read more if they were all as fun as KARMA BITES! Franny starts seventh grade feeling like the universe is against her. When her grandma shares a magic box with recipes that help solve problems, well…no murder, but plenty of mayhem ensues as Franny, full of good intentions, stirs bad situations into chaos. I cringed and laughed as Franny’s antics cause her world to spiral out of control, then laughed again as she puts them back on track.
Great family and friend dynamics – Granny is a special joy, so quirky and full of life. Some typical school characters - jocks, cheerleaders, mean girls, geeks – and a few new ones – smeeks, beeks, peaks, govs - but they all had individual flare, and some a surprising back story.
KARMA BITES cleverly disguises it’s messages – some things are better left alone, you don’t always know what’s best for others, being honest, loving, loyal and courageous are often the best “magical” solutions to difficult situations – in an charming and wildly entertaining tale. The writing is sharp, dialogue snappy and pace lightning fast.
The chapters have quirky titles - From Fantabulous to Suckopolis, Positively Apocalyptic and Put a Fork in Me - and another plus is the various recipes scattered throughout – from facials and hand creams to breads, smoothies and desserts. You get a lot of bang for your buck in KARMA BITES.
A minor complaint would be Franny’s friend, Kate's heavy use of slang got a bit distracting. But on the other hand, something I usually don't care for - several pop-culture references (to me their use often makes it seem like the book is trying too hard to be cool) - for some reason I thought worked here.
SEXUAL CONTENT: No worries – suitable for any age.
COVER: Cute, magical – I like it!
BOTTOMLINE: Adorable voice, hysterical hi-jinks and a charming, eclectic cast of characters. Fantastic MG/Tween novel – entertaining, enchanting and full of fun for all ages!
Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas on the Web