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Book cover of Karma for Beginners

Karma for Beginners

by Jessica Blank

Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781423117513






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Synopsis of Karma for Beginners

Fourteen-year-old Tessa has never had a normal life. Her mother, a frustrated hippie with awful taste in men, has seen to that. But when her mom pulls her out of school to live at an ashram in the Catskills, Tessa goes from being a freak among normal people to being an outcast among freaks. Freaks who worship an orange robe-wearing guru. And while her mom is buzzing with spiritual energy, and finding a little too much favor with the guru, all Tessa feels are weird vibes.

Unless she’s with Colin, the gorgeous boy who fixes trucks for the ashram. The connection they share is the most spiritual thing Tessa has ever felt. But he’s older—like illegally older—and Tessa’s taking dangerous risks to spend time with him. Soon her life is blooming into a psychedelic web of secrets and lies and it’s clear that something’s about to give way. When it does, will she have anyone to hold on to? Will she even know herself?

Revelations abound in this mind-altering novel from the acclaimed author of Almost Home.

Publishers Weekly

Blank (Almost Home) pens a second tale involving drug abuse, absentee parenting and neglected teens flouting authority. As in her debut, she sets her sights on a fringe community-this time, a hippie cult-and catalogs life there, with mixed results. Many of her descriptions of communal life border on the cliché: waifish, beatific followers in flowing skirts and white robes, chanting sessions, daily seva ("selfless service," aka chores), a lecherous TV-watching guru, and touchy-feely mantras about surrendering desires and "Purity of Being." But 14-year-old Tessa's flight from her mother, who is desperate for a spiritual makeover, despite Tessa's misery on the commune, and into the willing arms of Colin, a 20-year-old who fixes broken VW buses on the ashram, strikes a nerve. While Tessa's clandestine relationship may initially seem deliciously rebellious and romantic to some, things quickly spiral out of control, both for Tessa and her mother, whose sexual connection to the guru is revealed. Eventually, wayward mother and daughter reunite, but not before unfortunate (and implausibly wrapped-up) lessons are learned on both ends. Ages 13-up.
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