Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


First-generation Canadian Maya is accompanying her father back to India to scatter her mother's ashes when they are caught up in the riots following Indira Gandhi's assassination.  Maya finds herself in a small village, stricken mute by the trauma and trusting her life to a boy named Sandeep.  But she must work through her pain or risk never returning to the life she knows.

Karma by Cathy Ostlere is a novel in verse.

Perspective shifts between Maya and Sandeep as each journals in poetry form.  This format lends itself well to the beautiful, as in Maya's recollections of her mother, as well as the horrifying, as with her depiction of a Sikh man being hunted and burned alive.  The cross-cultural love story is depicted more realistically than most I've encountered and seeing Maya and Sandeep's flirtation unfold through notes passed in the journal pages is sweet.  Ultimately, although the narrative is most compelling in the first section, there is more than enough interest to propel you through the rest of the story.  This is a culture and a historical setting largely unrepresented in Young Adult fiction, and great service is done here.

Karma is published by Razorbill and retails for $18.99.  I got my Advance Reader Copy from the publisher (although this review was neither solicited or compensated).  You can get yours from Left Bank Books today!

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