Monday, December 29, 2014

MG Book Review: Karmack, by J.C. Whyte

General Information
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Year of publication: 2013
# of chapters: 24
# of pages: (e-book)
Genre: Fantasy

Plot summary (from Amazon):
A strange little creature enters the lives of three tough guys at Higgins Elementary. And from that point on, pranks come back like boomerangs, smacking the bullies right in their fifth grade butts!

Sully, the leader of the gang, is the only one who can see this creature, which he names Karmack. Sully learns that the creature’s job is to balance all the bad pranks the bullies have pulled over the years. Karmack warns that if this fails, “dreadful, awful doom” awaits them all.

Sully soon realizes that he must save not only himself but his friends, who have no idea why they keep getting boomeranged by Karmack!

Positive Points
I love the theme: what goes around comes around, quite literally in this book. And the main character, a fifth-grade bully, learns it the hard way, with a little help from Karmack, a creature only he can see.

It was interesting to see Sully's thought process and character growth throughout the novel. Not many books are told from a bully's viewpoint. I absolutely love the ending! It was a bit predictable, but it still made me tear up. And I'm not an emotional reader.

I love stories that teach a lesson without being too "preachy." This is one of them. 

Negative Points
The writing could have been a lot stronger. I nearly stopped reading after a few chapters, but I'm glad I didn't. The story itself is really good, but the way it is told could be a lot better. There were a lot of POV shifts, hopping from one character to another in the same chapter, which distracted me. It would have been better to stick to Sully's thoughts and emotions, telling the story strictly as he would perceive it. I also noticed a lot of "telling" rather than "showing." With a little revision, this story could really shine and be used for character education.

What makes this book unique
This is the first children's book I read that teaches about karma. Great theme! In this book, it's pushed to the extreme, but I'm sure young readers can learn a thing or two and think about how this relates to them in their own lives. I have my reservations about karma, but I still think it's a fascinating topic.

Overall Impression
The story is amazing, but the writing could have been a lot stronger.

My Rating:

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