Karma for Beginners by Jessica Blank

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
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.

It has taken me a while to pick up Karma for Beginners, and I'm really not sure why. It has a pretty cover, an interesting premise and setting, and some great praise, so after some thought I decided to give it a chance.

So, here's the question: am I glad I did or not? Well, I certainly am because it was a empowering and enlightening book, which I flew right through easily; one read that I could see myself reading again someday, even though it wasn't an absolute favorite of mine.

Tessa was a character who I liked from the start, even though I didn't necessarily like all her choices. Because of Blank's excellent character development, Tessa's angst against the life her mother had chosen for her was spilled across the pages in a case were you understood her pain, her confusion, her wanting of normalcy, someone who got her, and a father figure easily. Her relationship with Collin, the sexy older boy, was done well. And while it wasn't the wisest of choices on Tessa's part, it provided her with a lot of much needed direction and strength in her life. Though, I did not like how Blank never had any of the characters face the consequences of their actions. I also liked how Blank showed the situation of a child acting like the mother and the mother acting like a dependent of child because, by the end, I felt it gave a good example how to deal with the situation if you are in Tessa's place in the relationship.

One of my favorite parts of Karma for Beginners was the use of an ashram as the setting. I've never had the chance to read a novel with that type of setting before. Which is surprising ( Well, to me at least) because I feel the whole idea of people turning to a single, ordinary man for their guidance and decision making is simply fascinating. Further more, I liked how Blank used the setting to make the plot more believable and move it along.

I also enjoyed the main plot of the novel because through Collin and Tessa's relationship it gave an overall message of why everyone should stand up for themselves and voice their opinions no matter what the situation.

My only real complaints about Karma for Beginners was that I feel the conversations between the characters felt more stilled rather than real, as well as the rushed ending and what I mentioned before about the consequences.

Overall, Karma for Beginners is a novel with an interesting setting and characters and plot events that set examples for teens, as well as provided fun reading material. I'm looking forward to reading more by Blank.

Grade: B-

Karma for Beginners is now out!

Source: Publicist. Thanks, Nicole!


  1. Looks like a cute book! I love the cover - it's so, so pretty. I'll have to check it out someday. Wonderful review!

  2. Sounds llike a book that would interest me. Maybe I'll pick this one up if I ever see it in the library.


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