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Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Book Birthday: Karma Bites by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Hi there!
Happy Monday to you from me, the Insatiable Reader...here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  (Hmm, good place to be with a name like that....)  Today we usher in a new week, well it is Monday after all, but more than that, we are making a point to say...Hello world!  Did you know a great read was "born" today?  Yep, it was!  Allow me to introduce you...  Okay, so the great read part is my opinion, but it is definitely shared by many folks that have had the privilege of reading this new gem.  Today's book of choice celebrating its birthday-type arrival into the literary world is....

by

A great story filled with the antics of a young girl just trying to make the world (okay..her world) a better place...one heartfelt wish at a time. Franny Flanders is a border crosser in the hierarchy that is middle school...crossing the lines of peaks, geeks, beeks (and so on) in order to stay a true friend to her two besties.  She's running interference so much , she barely has time for herself, but THAT is all about to change thanks to Franny's Granny (gotta love that combo) and her magic box. Magic box?  Yep, magic box.  It seems it has a recipe to solve whatever ails you. Sort of like a magic eight ball combined with an Easy Bake oven.  Sounds cool, right?  Well, the box comes with a set of strict instructions, the main one being moderation.  You are only to use the box when all else fails and sparingly even then (Okay, now I'm getting a flashback to Gremlins...you know, don't feed the critters after midnight, or else...). But really, what harm could come from trying to spread a little good will? Franny is about to find out...

When reading this book, it's hard not to get caught up in the drama of it all.  I mean whether you're in middle school, looking forward to going, or have been-there-done-that many moons ago, you can relate to at least one character either primary or secondary in this story.  I myself found a bit of myself in Franny, since I was more border crosser than any one group in school.  Let's just hope the one you identify with isn't Elodie.  We're talking school kid Queen B with an attitude to match...and that's not quite a compliment.  *shudders* Franny on the other hand is a jewel.  She tries her best to make everyone happy even when it's at the expense of herself....definitely something she learns from by book's end.  With a full cast of characters worth a mention, it's hard to not list them all.  From Franny's friends Joey and Kate, to her never tired of playing and fighting brothers....and especially Franny's wee tad eccentric Granny (but she KNOWS her stuff!) and Lama Tensing Pasha, guru extraordinaire and spiritual advisor to the stars (and winged taxi to one uber hottie singer Justi....well, you'll see when you read it...hehe.....it's really the only part that threw me for a loop, but the Stacy Kramer was kind enough to explain why it was there....).  You never quite know who you'll bump into next.

Though listed as Middle Grade Fiction, the only thing that keeps it there is the age of the lead characters (they're 12, but they seem far more mature than some adults I know)....the story itself, is perfectly suited to the YA genre and fans of it. Highly recommend this gem of a book if not purely for the fun story for the recipes!  That's right!  YOU, readers, get to try out some of the recipes Franny uses within the story from the "Make-It-Better Munchie Mix" to the "Sensationally Sexy Smoothie" (a favorite of mine I might add.....although the spinning in a circle and chanting bit in the instructions would definitely turn a few heads if done in public), all to rather delicious ends. 

Animated Birthday Wishes With Three CandlesAll in all, I'd say this book is really about being true to yourself and therefore presenting the real you to others.  Only in this way can you develop those life long bonds of friendship (and maybe something more with the cute boy she is crushing on) worth nurturing in the years to come.  That and also a great study in social structure.  I mean once the lines begin to cross and the so called rules are removed, utter chaos races right in.  Definitely a good case for mingling among social groups, but not necessarily the total annihilation of them.  This book was scheduled for release TODAY...so a great big HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to both the book and it's illustrious authors!  (I tried putting a cake and candles in the screen to share, but ended up having to wipe icing off the monitor.  This pic will have to do....)

Special thanks to author Stacy Kramer and Jennifer at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the ARC for review.  (THANKS!)  To find out more about Franny, her adventures, and what others are saying about her novel debut, visit the official Karma Bites website, or follow author Stacy Kramer or Valerie Thomas on Twitter!  To learn more about the publisher and their catalog of books, check out their website or...guess where....yep, Twitter!

COMMENT CREATOR
Boy, it's been a while since I've done one of these....for those of you new to the site and wondering what in the world this is....it's an idea starter, a conversation creator if you will.  It gives you something to start from if you should decide to a leave a  comment on my post.  So, today's question...what were YOU like in middle/high school?  Would you be hanging out with the poms (cheerleaders)?  Planning gigs with the beeks (band geek)?  Or perhaps somewhere altogether different?  Do tell!

Until next time....happy reading!


8 comments:

Mardel said...

I was always so very shy in middle school that I just went to school, hung out with my one friend and her friend and went home. Until I met a girl who introduced me to....weed. Then I was still shy, but stoned. That wasn't til 9th grade though - we had three year middle school.

My sons though - and my daughter, always hung out with whoever they felt like at the moment. It wasn't unusual for either of my sons to be the only white looking (I'm half spanish) kid hanging out with the African American kids, or with the Mexican Americans kids the next day, and a totally different group another day. My youngest son was taught how to play craps by one group, and would also spend time hanging out with his older brother other days. My middle son would be hanging out with some "stoners" (he would actually smoke too, and then go to his acapella singing class. They had a wide variety of friends and experiences and to this day are comfortable whereever they happen to be at the moment. I've always been proud at the way they can relate to anyone, and can hold a conversation with not only people their age, but older people as well.

....Petty Witter said...

A great post - a review, graphics and a conversation starter, what more could we want?

In high school I was one of those students who people rarely noticed - not one of the 'in crowd', not academically bright but a 'good' student I'm sure if my name was mentioned most pupils (and teachers) would say "who?"

GMR said...

Mardel: Wow...you and your childrean had such a varied experience in middle school. It's great to see that after all was said and done though, they've gained the ability to converse and mingle with groups of all ages. That's certainly a skill that is great to have at any age. Thanks for sharing! ^_^

Petty Witter: Aww..thanks! ^_^ I was among the rarely noticed by classmates as well. Teachers...well they loved me for my grades, but how embarrassing is it to have most of your teachers wanting to sign your yearbook...yeah, that was me. ^_^

Happy Birthday Author said...

In middle/high school I was active with sports and hung out with a close group of friends I am lucky to be in contact with. I also spent a lot of time studying - I was a little obsessive with getting good grades. My favorite memories are playing poker with my buddies in high school and my close group of classmates in middle school that made going to school a blast.

Brimful Curiosities said...

With diverse interests, I didn't really fit into one group but tried to be a well-rounded student. I was pretty athletic and played several sports, and I also excelled with classwork. I love music and played in the band and sang in choir. For the most part I had a good time in school and hope my children have similar happy experiences.

Melina said...

I loved this book too. I start middle school next week, so we will just have to wait and see.....

The1stdaughter said...

I loved the Franny's Granny reference too! It always made me chuckle just a bit. LOL.

You sound just like me too! I could never really be nailed down to one group. I was always going back and forth, never able to really choose. And it can definitely get complicated. I guess if I had to choose it would probably land me in the beeks group, although I also sang, was pretty nerdy, in many theater plays and on the swim team...see my situation? Ugh. It was still fun though, looking back on it!

And I completely agree on the theme of the book and being true to yourself, something that is still difficult at times when you are an adult. But definitely worth it and necessary!

FAB review as usual! :o)

GMR said...

Happy Birthday Author: That's great! It's really wonderful to see the friendships you hang to to through the years. ^_^

Brimful Curiosities: Kudos on the atheletic....not so much here. ^_^ Music, yes! And choir too! Wonderful wishes for your children as well....

Melina: That's great! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good luck in middle school! It's new and different, but a lot of fun too.

The1stdaughter: So you were a mixed bag too? LOL. Less on the sports side for me, but definite on the others. Thanks for the kind words! ^_^

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