Books & Literature

Book Review: Instant Karma, by Marissa Meyer

YA FICTION: A chronic overachiever who is always quick to cast judgement on others wakes up with the ability to cast instant karma on them.

A story of self-discovery, learning to accept others’ differences and growing up.

Marissa Myer is an American novelist, author of The Lunar Chronicles, and the Renegades Trilogy. Instant Karma is the second of her stand-alone novels.

This is the story of Prudence Daniels, one of five children all named after Beatles songs: her twin brother Jude and younger sisters Lucy, Eleanor and Penny. Her parents own a local vintage record shop in their hometown of Fortuna Beach.

Pru is finishing her sophomore year at the local high school and wants nothing more than to succeed at everything she does. She is trying to complete her final biology assignment but her lab partner Quint (named after the sea captain from Jaws) has been missing in action for most of the term and is now late for the final presentation. Pru isn’t one of the popular kids but she doesn’t care, as long as she achieves top marks and is accepted into her university of choice so she can study business.

Pru is furious when they receive an overall mark of a C and will do anything to be able to do over the assignment to get her expected A – but that may mean having to spend her summer holidays working at the local animal rescue centre with Quint!

When Pru accidently falls and hits her head, her life changes when she discovers she now has the ability to cast instant karma on those she perceives have done wrong. But why does it keep backfiring when she tries it on Quint?

Instant Karma is written from the viewpoint of Pru and we see her struggling with perceived injustices, her anger and her utter dislike of Quint. We feel empathy towards her parents who are struggling to keep their business afloat, those who run the animal rescue centre with little funding, the animals who suffer from the negligence of humanity, and Quint who is also dealing with his own life.

As we travel with Pru, she begins to learn more about herself, becomes more aware of those around her and learns the importance of cooperation. She discovers there is more to life than getting good grades, and helping others can be just as gratifying as helping yourself. It is the story of first love and navigating the tumultuous emotions which come with all that it encompasses. Pru must learn to let go of the need to control every situation and allow others into her life. But will it prove too difficult, especially when fate gets in the way?

The font in this book is quite small, which makes it difficult to read in low light, although a young adult would manage better. Instant Karma is a good lesson in cooperation without being too heavy. An enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: November 2020
RRP: $19.99

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