Brody, J. (2010). The Karma Club. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.
Appetizer: It all begins when seventeen-year-old Maddy Kasparkova receives a phone call from her best friend that a profile of her boyfriend has been published in Contempo Girl. Maddy hopes this will increase their popularity and that she's finally obtain her goal of becoming a member of the in-crowd.
Her dreams are shattered, however, when her she discovers her boyfriend in another girl's arms, those of the popular and perfect Heather Campbell. Seeking a way to balance the scales, not only for herself, but for her two best friends, Jade and Angie, Maddy becomes interested in Karma. Unwilling to wait decades for the universe to sort out those who have done wrong, she and her friends form a Karma Club in an effort to find balance now.
I was really excited to read this book. As of late, I've been interested in books that explore religious and spiritual concepts in a deep, honest, and meaningful way. Because of that goal, I found Karma Club to be very disappointing. Essentially, Maddy forms a revenge club. As you might imagine, Maddy's approach is a huge misinterpretation of the nature of karma. Although she does eventually gain some wisdom about it, I wouldn't say she ever gains a real understanding of the concept.
Although some of Maddy, Angie, and Jade's adventures are amusing to escape into, I found a couple of them were hard to believe, including the quick resolution at the end of the novel. Nonetheless, Karma Club does end on a very hopeful note.
As a character, Maddy was believable. Despite the fact that she was a senior approaching graduation, she felt much younger, making me think I'd most likely recommend this book for 13 to 15-year-olds interested in some light and fun reading.
"I can tell you right now, it's all karma's fault.
Yes, karma. You know, that unmistakable force in the universe that makes sure good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished.
Like when I stole my little sister's lunch in the seventh grade because I woke up too late to make my own. When I got to school, I found that the meat in the sandwich was actually moldy and I had to spend the very last of my allowance money on the disgusting, unrecognizable cafeteria food.
Karma." (p. 3)
"Good deeds are rewarded while bad deeds are punished. Good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. That's just how Karma works.
Well, at least that's how I thought it worked.
But that was before I entered the second half of my senior year. When everything changed. Everything I thought I knew and everything I thought I could count on suddenly went right out the window.
I think I can trace it back to one day.
That fateful day when Angie called me up with the news.
Yes, that was definitely the day it all began. Before my simple, little world--where up was up and down was down, and right and wrong were as different as night and day--was flipped upside down. And from that point on, there was absolutely nothing in my life that could be described as simple." (p. 4)
"I stand in complete astonishment as I try to grasp everything that has happened in the last five minutes. My boyfriend, Mason Brooks, featured in Contempo Girl magazine! They even called him a "hunky dough boy." Well, yeah, it's a bit cheesy, but so what? This is huge! Every girl in the country is going to see this. Every girl in the country is going to be pining for my boyfriend." (p. 10)
"Maybe my fantasy wasn't that fare off after all. Maybe this one little article would make us the most popular couple in school. Maybe Heather Campbell would eventually start calling me up for advice about the new spring fashions and where she should go to get her nails done and how to snag a boyfriend as wonderful as Mason. I really wouldn't blame her. I mean, I'm pretty much a published magazine writer now. Who wouldn't want advice from someone whose words are in Contempo Girl magazine?" (p. 16)
"All my life I've wanted to be popular.
I don't know where the obsession came from, but from the time I was a little girl, the life of the high school "it" crowd always seemed more glamorous than anything else I could ever imagine.
Then in the sixth grade, I met Heather Campbell and from the moment I saw her, I knew I wanted to be like her." (p. 17)
Tasty Rating: !!.