Instant Karma

Feiwel & Friends. Nov. 2020. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250618818.
Gr 8 Up–Prudence Daniels is facing a C in science. It’s the worst failure in her academic career, and it’s all thanks to her irresponsible lab partner, Quint Erickson, who rarely does the work and shows up late to their group presentation. Her science teacher allows her to re-do the assignment on the condition that she and Quint work together. Now, she’s got to convince Quint to work with her again, and with the power of instant karma in her hands, it just might work. But karma and Quint don’t always work the way that Pru expects them to. This enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance has the slightest whiff of magical realism as Prudence mysteriously gains the power to reward or punish, but the mechanic is underutilized, and Prudence’s choices always backfire on her, largely telegraphing the twists and turns of the plot. Despite its flaws, however, this is an enjoyable read. The romance is a slow burn, and though Pru initially thinks Quint is lazy and irresponsible, readers will be drawn to his work at the sea animal rescue center in the same way that Pru is. Pru is described as white; Quint is described as having tan skin. Secondary characters are well-drawn, particularly Pru’s Latinx friend Ari. A brief mystery subplot near the end of the story amps up tension as the romance coalesces. It is solved a little too easily, but that won’t deter readers from this breezy, beachy read.
VERDICT Though not as compelling as some of Meyer’s other works, this light, airy romance should appeal to fans of Emma Lord’s Tweet Cute and Crystal Cestari’s The Best Kind of Magic.

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