When Madison writes an article that appears in a popular teen magazine singing the praises of her boyfriend, she is convinced that she, her boyfriend and her two close friends will be catapulted into popularity. However, when the word spreads, it’s her boyfriend who is able to take advantage and he immediately trades up for the most popular girl in school. Devastated by the humiliating break-up, Madison then has to endure a weekend spiritual retreat with her mom, who hopes that Madison can refocus and move on with her life. The only thing that Madison manages to take away from the weekend is a warped idea of karma. She returns home to explain the concept to her friends, and with them forms a special club to help karma balance the scales and teach everyone who did them wrong a lesson.
The Karma Club is a light, fast-paced and enjoyable read with a bit of bite to it. I didn’t love Madison—she’s just a tad too shallow for me—but I definitely understood her and why she would feel the need to try to even the score with her ex-boyfriend, the girl who “stole” him away, and some of the more obnoxious people in her school who have wronged her friends.
I was rather surprised that some of the girls’ actions went as far as they did, and that they were not more concerned with the long lasting consequences of some of their more reprehensible schemes. Neither did they seem to get much comeuppance at the end, which would have been okay with me because some of what they did was pretty nefarious. They seemed very comfortable playing fast and loose with major aspects of others’ lives—think the college admissions process & criminal records. I wondered that they didn’t have more qualms with taking things as far as they did.
The stakes are raised when Madison finds common ground with someone she least expects. It threatens all of the plans that she and her friends have set in motion, and jeopardizes their friendships. Though there are no surprises with this teenaged take on a woman scorned, this was a fun way to pass an afternoon. A bit of character growth by the end saved the novel from some of its more implausible aspects. This is Brody’s first YA outing and it’s definitely a promising debut. I do want to see what she does next.