cover image Instant Karma

Instant Karma

Marissa Meyer. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-61881-8

Before an outing with friends gives her supernatural powers, the biggest trial of perfectionist Prudence Barnett’s sophomore year has been her lab partner, Quint Erickson. He’s sloppy and runs late, and just when she should be free of him, a chance to improve their bad final presentation grade makes her volunteer at the sea animal rehabilitation center that he helps his mother run. Now, Pru is slogging through fish-gut-related chores alongside annoying Quint—but also enjoying her new power, which gives her the ability to mete out instant karmic justice upon anyone she feels is exhibiting selfish behavior, like stealing from a vending machine or defacing a sign. She finds the power satisfying until she realizes that good and bad are less clear, and less binary, than she thought. Meyer (the Lunar Chronicles) turns a rom-com trope—uptight protagonist meets free spirit and learns to have fun—into an interesting meditation on judgment and justice. Readers who push through the slow beginning will be rewarded with a book that offers a real sense of place (a touristy Southern California beach community filled with otters and sea lions) alongside a satisfying romance and an unsanctimonious lesson about the importance of changing one’s ideas about oneself and others when needed. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Nov.) [/em]