Karma Bites is a novel about a feisty red head, torn between her two best friends on the opposite ends of the social spectrum. Franny is often stuck in a metaphysical tug-o-war between her two best friends and wishes that they could all just get along. Middle school drama couples with the reality of at home drama when we see that Franny’s family is suffering too. Her parents have split, her twin brothers constantly fight, and her spaced out Grandmother is not helping the situation. Franny’s granny is equal parts hippie and yoga enthusiast. Franny finds out that her grandmother has much more to offer than tofu and granola. In the recesses of her closet there is a magical box that contains the recipes to cure what ails you. To Franny this spells out the end of the middle school blues, the end of her parents’ split, and the beginning of a new and wonderful life. Karma won’t let her get away with taking the easy escape, things get wildly out of hand and Franny is left to clean up the mess while the school’s resident mean girl glares on in harsh judgment.
Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas created a beautiful thing here, a charming fantasy that is deeply rooted in reality. Magic weaves with our real lives on a daily basis, it’s astonishing to see it told to us in this novel. Franny’s problems are shared by millions of teens and preteens across the world. It’s no secret that it sucks when your parents split. It’s hard when your parents try to move on but you’re stuck in the past. We all have friends that we just can’t reconcile, the mean girl that always stands in our way, mean English teachers, and awful cafeteria ladies. This novel uses Franny’s life to show that there is no magical solution to fix our problems. You can’t just expect everything to be okay when you’ve put absolutely no work into the balance or the solution. This novel teaches a wonderful lesson, being yourself and talking things out can work magic better than spells or potions.
One of the things I loved about this novel is that there was an obscure love interest that never took the reins and led the novel. It’s about friendship and discovering what it takes to figure out your own life. The writing was clean with sarcasm layered through the dialogue. There was good humor and clever humor that I could not resist. The characters were brilliant. I, personally, would love to have a character like Granny in my life. I recommend this novel for anyone that’s tired of overused fantasy and wants to see where real magic might be found in their lives. It’s also pretty nifty if you want to try some new recipes. If I liked banana bread, I’d have made that Be Better Banana Bread a long time ago to break my writer’s block.
P.S- I’m back.