KARMA FOR BEGINNERS by Jessica Blank

KARMA FOR BEGINNERS

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

After a promising debut in 2007’s Almost Home, Blank strikes out. Fourteen-year-old Tessa trails after her hippie mother, Sarah, from town to town, boyfriend to boyfriend, searching for meaning. Sarah swears the Ashram in the Catskills will be different. There, unsupervised Tessa finds comfort in the arms of 20-year-old Colin, who introduces Tessa to sex and drugs. Sarah finds herself (while ignoring Tessa), but the genuinely powerful guru uses his charisma for personal gain and Sarah reverts to form and becomes his lover. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it resolution comes after Tessa’s clumsy use of her blossoming sexual power while tripping on LSD ends with a sexual assault, and Sarah’s relationship with the guru simultaneously comes to light, concluding their parallel journeys through confusion and misguided relationships. Tessa tells her mother how she feels (neglected, hurt, angry) and the two ride off into the sunset. The soundtrack of classic rock and ’80s New Wave is pretty awesome, but the trite messages—sex doesn’t fulfill; guys are trouble—are hardly worth the journey. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4231-1751-3
Page count: 306pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2009