Instant Karma / Marissa Meyer / Book Review


Ambitious over-achiever Prudence Barnett is quick to judge those around her. Lazy, incompetent, and downright horrible: the residents of her beachside town deserve all the bad karma coming to them.

After a night out with friends, Prudence wakes up with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her, and she is quick to wield her newfound power. Vandals, gossips, and litterers all come under her swift karmic power.

But whenever Prudence tries to punish the person who deserves bad karma the most, her slacker lab partner Quint, her power backfires. He may be charming. He may be funny, but as a lab partner, he can't be trusted. When their final project comes back with a less-than-stellar grade, Prudence resigns herself to a summer working alongside Quint to redo the project, but the more she pushes him to work, the more she begins to discover the truth and question her own black-and-white view of the world.



Marine Ecology This book is swimming--pun intended--in marine life. I love an author who unapologetically dives into niche interests. Any niche will do. It is especially great to read a book so invested in a niche that is as poignant and important as the preservation of marine ecosystems. We need to do more to protect our sea life, and we need more books that promote its beauty!

Karmic Justice Tourists blocking the sidewalk; Karens yelling at cashiers; entitled people parking in handicapped spots that aren't meant for them: all these annoying things and more are found in the pages of this book, and each of these horrendous acts gets the swift justice it deserves. Anyone looking for a good bit of retribution will have fun with this book.

Great Energy Though the pacing in the first half of this book is a little patchy, things pick up by the second half. There is a palpable excitement to the characters as they work toward a goal: revitalizing the small sea animal rescue center in town. The energy and momentum of the characters makes the whole thing exciting to read. The tone is fun and upbeat. It makes for a great, lighthearted read.


Especially at the start, the chapter breaks don't make sense. Chapters seem to end in the middle of a scene, without much purpose. Perhaps this is meant to build suspense, but it instead gave me flashbacks to the time I read Dale M. Courtney's Moon People. And trust me, those are not good flashbacks. These random chapter breaks broke up the flow of the narrative, and they were simply confusing. Awkward Chapter Breaks

When Prudence first realizes she can inflict "instant karma" on those around here, there is a flurry of scenes where she practices this. Back-to-back, these scenes are underdeveloped, probably because there isn't (and couldn't be, in a book already this long) enough time to develop them. These scenes are thrown at the reader instead of experienced alongside Prudence, which is irksome. And then, after this initial flurry, the whole karma gimmick falls by the wayside. It gets forgotten, by and large, as the plot moves on to other things. Karma is the hook to this book, and the ultimate execution is disappointing. Karmic Pacing

I personally had no problem with Prudence as a main character. It is nice to get a diverse (personality-wise) character in YA. She is a deeply flawed and relatively unlikeable character. She is uptight to the point of being unbearable--as other characters often tell her. She is not like other girls--in an entirely bad (although, in my opinion, entertaining) way. However, an irritating and annoying main character can backfire, because readers may find her unlikeable to the point that they abandon a book. This book is worth reading to the end, especially because Prudence, like all good protagonists, changes throughout the book. But she may be off-putting enough at the beginning to dissuade some readers. Prudence



Fans of Tera Lynn Childs's whimsical Forgive My Fins will enjoy this new magical, nautical romance. Those who enjoyed the lighthearted fun of Erynn Mangum's Miss Match will enjoy the upbeat positivity of this book, too.


Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: November 3, 2020
Series: Fortuna Beach
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  1. This is a fun premise for a book, and I love hearing about marine life.


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